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Archer(originally, Balestreri), Violet

univ music coll mcgill

Archer(originally, Balestreri), Violet, Canadian composer and teacher; b. Montreal, April 24, 1913; d. Ottawa, Feb. 21, 2000. She studied with Shearwood–Stubington (piano; Teacher’s Licentiate, 1934) and Weatherseed (organ) at the McGill Cons., and composition with Champagne and Douglas Clarke at McGill Univ. (B.Mus., 1936). After receiving her assoc. diploma from the Royal Canadian Coll. of Organists (1938), she studied composition with Bartók in N.Y. (1942) and with Donovan and Hindemith at Yale Univ. (B.Mus., 1948; M.Mus., 1949). Later she pursued studies in electronic music at the Royal Cons, of Music of Toronto (1968) and at Goldsmith’s Coll., Univ. of London (1973). From 1940 to 1947 she was percussionist in the Montreal Women’s Sym. Orch.; from 1943 to 1947 she taught at the McGill Cons. After serving as percussionist of the New Haven (Conn.) Sym. Orch. (1947–49), she was composer–in–residence at N. Tex. State Coll. in Dentón (1950–53). From 1953 to 1961 she taught at the Univ. of Okla. She was assoc. prof. (1962–70) and then prof. (1970–78) at the Univ. of Alberta, where she also served as head of the theory and composition dept. (1962–78). In 1983 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1993 her 80 th birthday was celebrated with a festival of her music under the auspices of the Univ. of Alberta and the CBC. Hindemith’s influence is paramount in many of her works; also prevalent is the use of folk elements. Overall, her music is structurally strong, polyphonically disciplined, and generally kept within organized tonality, with occasional dodecaphonic episodes.

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