We have an international mix of contributors to the #ClassicsaDay feed. July has significant holidays for two of the three countries in North America. So, at the suggestion of a Canadian contributor, July became #NAFTAclassics, marking Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4). Mexico doesn’t have a July holiday, but we decided to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
Rui Shi Zhuo (Canadian, 1956 – ) – Symphonic Poem The Night of Ancient Kingdom Shu
Rui Shi Zhuo was born in China and emigrated to Canada in his thirties. He’s active both as a conductor and composer and has written for film as well. His music draws on the instruments and traditions of his Chinese heritage, reinterpreted through Western classical music.
Victor Rasgado (Mexican, 1959 – ) – Quetzaltepec
Rasgado is one of the most prominent Mexican composers of his generation. His music is performed extensively both in Mexico and abroad. He’s best known for his operas, which tend to feature Mexican stories and fables.
Mohammed Fairouz (American, 1985 – ) – The Named Angels
Fairouz often uses his Middle Eastern heritage as a starting point for his music. His first opera was based on an Egyptian play, his current opera has a Pakistani libretto. “The Named Angels” depict the angels of Persian mythology.
Linda Catlin Smith (Canadian, 1957 – ) – thought and Desire
Smith was born in New York City and moved to Toronto in 1981. Smith’s primarily inspired by painters and writers. In addition to a catalog of music for modern ensembles, Smith has also written works for early instruments.
Javier Álvarez (Mexican, 1956 – ) – Metro Chabacano
While Alvarez incorporates native musical traditions into his music, he also draws from other cultures. Alvarez sometimes uses non-traditional instruments, like the Korean kayagum and Caribbean steel pans, in his work. He also has a large catalog of electroacoustic music, and an award-winning film score for “Cronos.”
Kamran Ince (American, 1960 – ) – Concerto for Orchestra, Turkish Instruments, and Voices
Turkish-American composer Kamran Ince was born in Montana and studied in Turkey with Muammer Sun. After returning to the states, he studied with Joseph Schwantner and Christopher Rouse, among others. Ince’s music combines Persian musical traditions with Western forms. His catalog currently includes five symphonies and a piano concerto.
Harry Somers (Canadian, 1925–1999) – Lyric
Smith was a founding member of the Canadian League of Composers and was committed to developing a national style of classical music. Several of his works are considered standard repertoire for Canadian ensembles. He greatly influenced the development of Canadian music through his work as an educator, broadcaster, and composer.