Cecilia Livingston



With music described as “haunting” and “eerily beautiful” (Tapestry Opera), Canadian composer Cecilia Livingston specializes in music for voice. She is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at King’s College London (UK), studying opera creation, and has been selected for Glyndebourne’s emerging composer development scheme. She will be embedded at Glyndebourne for 2019-2021, building on her 2015-2017 Fellowship at American Opera Projects in New York.

Winner of the Canadian Music Centre’s 2018 Toronto Emerging Composer Award, the 2018 Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes for female opera creators in Canada, and a winner in the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, her music has been heard at Nuit Blanche, the 21C Music Festival, World Choir Games, on tour with The Bicycle Opera Project, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony, and with Toronto’s Thin Edge New Music Collective. She worked with Steve Reich at Bang On a Can’s Summer Music Festival and at Soundstreams’ Emerging Composer Workshop, and her next project is a full-length opera with TorQ Percussion Quartet and Toronto’s Opera 5.

An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and a National Councillor of the Canadian League of Composers, her creative and research work is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the SOCAN Foundation, and SSHRC (the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Her articles and reviews have appeared in Tempo (Cambridge), the Cambridge Opera Journal, The Opera Quarterly (Oxford), Canadian Music Educator, Notations (Canadian Music Centre), Ludwig Van Toronto (formerly Musical Toronto), Musicworks magazine, at the International Conference on Music Since 1900, the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy conference and the RMA Annual Conference. Her master’s and doctoral research was fully funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS-M and CGS-D); she holds a doctorate in Composition from the University of Toronto, supervised by Christos Hatzis, where she was awarded the Theodoros Mirkopoulos Fellowship in Composition.

Headshot: photo credit: Self Limited Photography

Selected Works

Large Ensemble and Opera

Terror & Erebus (90’), opera for six singers and percussion quartet,TorQ Percussion and Opera 5, with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council

Singing Only Softly (30’) 2019, monodrama for soprano and piano, based on the life of Anne Frank, for Loose Tea Music Theatre in partnership with Musique 3 Femmes
with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Prix 3 Femmes for female opera creators

Last Acts (2’) 2018 – miniature for orchestra; Glyndebourne Tour 

Leap of the Heart (2’) 2017, fanfare, Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Canada Mosaic Project, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Symphony Orchestra 

Freud / Jung (25’) 2016, chamber opera; libretto by Duncan McFarlane, American Opera Projects

The Masque of the Red Death (30’), chamber opera, 2013; with orchestra, 2015 for Opera 5; orchestrated for the Kingston Symphony 

noyade (8’) 2014, for chamber orchestra (2 Fl, 2 Cl/B. Cl, 2 Perc, Pno, Gtr, String Quartet), Bang on a Can Summer Festival (Massachusetts)

Four Scenes of Loss (25’) 2013, opera scenes (Tapestry Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory)

Chamber (including voices)

Flay (8’) 2016, for soprano, piano, and percussion, Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop 

Strange Flesh (10’) 2016, for soprano, violin, cello, and percussion, Ontario Arts Council commission, Thin Edge New Music Collective 

Troy (7’) 2014, for vibraphone quartet, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Bang on a Can Summer Festival, winner, TorQ Percussion Quartet 2015 Composition Competition

Light (3’30”) 2014, for violin, vibraphone, and piano

Two Dreams (10’30”) 2013, for soprano and string quartet, arranged for soprano and piano, 2017

SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers 2014

Moon (3’40”) 2013, for solo piano

Garden (12’) 2012, for vibraphone and harp

Three Memories for Piano (8’) 2008, for solo piano 

Installation / Multimedia

Listen to the Chorus (7’) 2017, for three singers and spoken-word performance; outdoor video installation, for Madeleine Co. Art Collective and Nuit Blanche Toronto

Vocal and Choral

Kiss Goodnight (6’) 2012 rev. 2016, for men’s choir

The Dismantled Ship (4’) 2016, for tenor and piano 

Kalypso (6’) 2015, for soprano and piano

Give Me Your Hand (7’) 2015, for mezzo-soprano and piano

Penelope (8’) 2014, for soprano and piano

Parting (5’) 2012, for soprano and piano

Lullabies (5’) 2011/2017, for soprano and marimba; for tenor and piano