Leila Lustig

Leila Sarah Lustig
38-108 Aldersmith Place
Victoria, BC V9A 7M8 Canada
phone 250-360-2567
email: lslustig@telus.net


Leila Lustig was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and lived in various parts of the United States before moving to Canada in 1987. She holds a bachelor’s degree in voice and a masters degree in composition from UCLA, and a PhD in composition from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her PhD dissertation was the opera Deirdre of the Sorrows, on a libretto she adapted from John M. Synge’s play. She spent 14 years as a radio music producer and program director, producing a number of classical music programs for the National Public Radio and American Public Radio networks. She was president of the Composers’ Alliance of Buffalo for two years.In Canada she has been an arts marketer, a university public-relations officer and a government writer, while continuing to compose and to perform. Her favourite “instrument” is the human voice, often using her own texts. Representative works include Lament on the Death of Music (saxophone quartet and voice), Revenge of the Northern Pike (voice, keyboard, woodwind, and tom tom) and Magnificat (SSA and piano). Her orchestral works Kursk and Of the motion of thought have been read by the Vancouver and Victoria Symphony Orchestras. Her works have been featured in several Sonic Boom Festivals and by the Erato Ensemble in Vancouver. She was a participant in Pacific Opera Victoria’s 2003 Composer-Librettist Laboratory and completed a series of three one-act operas on librettos by Geoff Hargreaves. Our Lady of Esquimalt Road will be included in the 2015 season of the touring company Bicycle Opera in Ontario. She is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre.


Choral Compositions

Scores available from lslustig@telus.net and at the Canadian Music Centre website: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/37471/showcase.

Choral Compositions – SATB

El Salmo de los Caminos, 1974, SATB, trumpet, organ (4’00”). Text: Psalm 1.

Psalm 142, 1974, SATB, solo voice, organ (4’45”). David’s prayer for mercy when he was in the cave.

Psalm 141, 1978, SATB, organ (2’00”). David’s prayer for protection from his enemies and from temptation. Choir of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Douglas Green cond., Austin, Texas.

Psalm 47, 1979, SATB, organ (1’00”). Clap your hands, all ye nations. Choir of Holy Trinity Church, James Bigham cond., Buffalo, New York.

Psalm 24, 1979, SATB, organ (1’00”). The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

Psalm 63, 1979, SATB, organ (1’45”). O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you. Choir of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, Barbara Wagner cond.

The Sea View, 1989, SATB, string quartet (4’00”). Text by Charlotte Smith (1747-1806). University of Victoria Chamber singers, Bruce More cond.

A voice of silver/Une voix d’argent, 1998, SATB a cappella (2’30”). Text by Bette Oliver, interwoven English and French.

Persons of No Fixed Abode, 1999, SATB, flute, alto saxophone, trombone, guitar, wood block (15’45”). A cantata about homelessness. Own text plus biblical prayers and excerpts from Michael Valpy’s Globe & Mail article “Mr. Yu’s last days.” Prima Youth Choir and instrumentalists, Bruce More cond., Victoria, BC.

The composer reels under a vicious attack by critics, 2001, SATB a cappella (4’00”). Own text.

Praise God, 2001, SATB, baritone soloist, organ (3’30”). Text by Barbara Holender. Two other versions available.

Signs Against an Empty Sky, 2002, SATB, baritone soloist, marimba (15’30”). Text: 5 poems by Stephen Hume about indigenous life in Canada’s north.

Sour Gas Song, 2002, SATB, flute, horn, xylophone (22’00”). Text by Stephen Hume about the poisonous effects of drilling for gas among indigenous people in northern British Columbia.

4 Songs for Friends, 2002, SATB, piano (10’45”). Texts by Richard Wilbur. Commissioned by the City of Good Neighbors Chorale, Buffalo, New York.



































The Border Surrounds Us, 2003, SATB, string orchestra (19’00”). Text by Karen Connelly about the stark lives of Burmese people living on the border with Thailand. “The border is fierce and it surrounds us.”

Canyon Wars and Wish Chimes, 2003, SATB, piano (5’15”). Text by 16-year-old poet Danielle Hubbard, which connects the image of wind chimes with those of killing turtles and ostriches.

Deus noster refugium et virtus, 2004, SATB a cappella (7’30”). Latin Psalm 45, Our God is our refuge and strength.

Oratio contra avaritium, 2004, SATB a cappella (4’00”). Latin Psalm 102:5, prayer against greed.

If Only, 2004, SATB a cappella (3’30”). Text by Bette Oliver, “If only the happy days are counted, time moves more slowly.”

Di Fidlroyz, 2004, SATB, violin, piano (4’00”). Yiddish text by Avram Sutzkever, “From resurrecting warm rain she begins slowly to blossom, to grow–(together with the childhood of my aged memory)–the fiddle rose in her earth-black coffin.” Vancouver Jewish Folk Choir, David Millard cond.

Tantslid, 2004, SATB, piano (4’45”). Yiddish text by Avram Sutzkever, “I invite you, child, to dance…”

Calving at Disenchantment Bay, 2004, SATB unaccompanied (5’00”). On my own text, this sound picture was inspired by the power and beauty of northern glaciers, stubbornly pushing back at the spreading wasteland we call “modern civilization.”

Prayer of the Destitute, SATB, organ (5’30”). Psalm 102:2-18, Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me.

Time, 2004, SATB, piano (4’30”). Text by Henry David Thoreau, “Time is but the stream I go fishing in…”

In Beechwood Cemetery, 2006, SATB, piano (4’00”). Text by Archibald Lampman, “Here the dead sleep, the quiet dead … Children of silence and Eternity, they know no season but the end of time.”

Midnight, 2006, SATB, piano (4’00”). Text by Archibald Lampman, “Some wild thing is in my ear…”

Voice of Earth, 2006, SATB, piano (4’00”). Text by Archibald Lampman, “These are the voices of earth’s secret soul…”

Winter Evening, 2006, SATB, piano (3’00”). Text by Archibald Lampman, “Out of the depth, beyond the eastern stars, glittering and still shall come the awful night.”

Whither Shall I Go from Thy Spirit?, 2006, SATB, organ (4’45”). Psalm 139: 7-12, 23-24.

Why Are the Nations in an Uproar?, 2006, SATB, organ (7’45”). Psalm 2, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

When I Behold the Heavens, 2006, SATB, organ (3’45”). Psalm 8.

My Soul Thirsteth for God, 2007, SATB, organ (6’45”). Psalm 42.

How Long, O Lord, 2007, SATB a cappella (3’00”). Psalm 13.

Thy Way Was in the Sea, 2007, SATB a cappella (3’30”). Psalm 77: 17-20.

The Second Coming, 2007, SATB, string quartet (6’00”). Text by William Butler Yeats, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…” – Still a parable for our time.

Night’s Carols, 2008, SATB a cappella (11’30”). Text by Walt Whitman, “Solitary here the night’s carols, carols of lonesome love…”

Santa Spirita, 2008, SATB divisi a tre, a cappella (4’30”). Text by Walt Whitman, “Santa spirita, breather of life … I the most solid, breathe my breath, also through these songs.” Begins with whispering.
Choral Compositions – SSATB

Five Songs of Loss, 1978, SSATB unaccompanied (12’00”). Five madrigals on texts by Ben Jonson. Southwest Texas State University Madrigal Singers.

Angels in My Way, 1989, SSATB, baritone soloist, violin, trumpet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, vibraphone, percussion. Texts: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hebrew Kaddish, Gloria from the Latin Mass, intertwined. Written in memory of my father.


Choral Compositions – SA

Two Sacred Duets, 1979, soprano and mezzo-soprano a cappella (3’30”). Texts: Psalm 91, He is my refuge; Wallace Stevens, “There is an old man.” Leila Lustig, soprano and Natoma Nash Noble, mezzo-soprano. Recorded by the Niagara Vocal Ensemble, Harris Loewen cond. (Voices of Niagara, NVECD-0696.

Lullaby for Mary’s Lamb, 1999, SA, triangle (3’30”). Own text: word-chasing game on the nursery rhyme.

Navigating, 2004, SA, piano (3’00”). Own text. Bel Canto Singers, Catherine Young cond.

An English Suite, 2007, SA, harpsichord or piano (12’00”). Texts: Thomas Heywood, Edward Thurlow, Robert Herrick, John Fletcher, Walter Savage Landor, William Oldys.


Choral Compositions – SSA

Four Stereophonic Songs, 1974, SSA unaccompanied (10’00”). Own texts: Spring comes but once a year, Follow me, Harvest, Joy. University of Texas Women’s Choir, Georgia Parmalee, cond.

Synecdoches, 1974, SSA, narrator, prepared piano (10’00”). Own text, with a darkly gothic atmosphere. University of Texas Women’s Choir, Georgia Parmalee cond. Commissioned by Ms. Parmalee as part of her Masters in conducting requirement to include experimental techniques. Score available from the composer.

Some Questions About Life, 1999, SSA, flute, piano (3’30”). Own text: Questions asked and answered, e.g., “Why are we on earth?”

My life, after your death, 2003, SSA, horn (8’30”). Text: six poems by Barbara D. Holender, “We promised not to put him in the ground … Shake off death.” Bel Canto Singers, Alana Roney, Catherine Young cond.

Magnificat, 2004, SSA, piano(6’30”). Text: Latin and English interwoven. Bel Canto Singers, Catherine Young cond.

Arise, then, women of this day!, 2004, SSA, piano or SSA, trumpet, piano (2’45”). Text: Julia Ward Howe. Bel Canto Singers, Catherine Young cond.

A freshly ironed world, 2004, SSA, 2 flutes, piano (12’00”). Text: Cornelia C. Hornosty. Poems about children.

Two ways of hearing a daffodil, 2005, SSA, piano (4’30”). Texts: Robert Herrick, William Wordsworth. Bel Canto Singers, Catherine Young cond.

Soul Singing, 2006, SSA, piano (3’15”). Own text: Hummed nigun, “Let your soul take hold of your voice…” Bel Canto Singers, Catherine Young cond. Ensemble Choir of Temple Sinai, Judy Adelman-Gershon cond., Toronto.

The Memory of Good People, 2006, SSA, piano (3’15”). Traditional Hebrew and English memorial text: “Let the memory of good people bless us…”

What Awon Forgot, 2006, SSA, solo female voice, 2 flutes, guitar or harp, drum (8’30”). Text: Sappho, trans. Geoff Hargreaves.

 I Will Lift up Mine Eyes, 2006, SSA, organ (4’00”). Psalm 121, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”

Ode on Melancholy, 2008, SSA, cello (8’15”). Text: John Keats.


Selected Non-choral Compositions

Vocalissimus, 1970, high voice, string quartet (10’30”). Gary Burgess, Camenae String Quartet, Buffalo, New York.

Opposites, 1978, mezzo-soprano, horn (8’45”). Texts: Richard Wilbur. Natoma Nash Noble, Robert Culbertson; Leila Lustig, Cheryl Gobbetti; Elise Bedard, David Gerry.

Ascending the Tor, 1990, wind ensemble (7’00”). Commissioned by the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County.

The Language of Bees, 1983, saxophone quartet (13’30”). Amherst Saxophone Quartet.

Lament on the Death of Music, 1984, voice, saxophone quartet (9’30”). Leila Lustig, Amherst Saxophone Quartet. Christine Schadeberg, Amherst Saxophone Quartet, Innova CD 516.

Revenge of the Northern Pike, 1991, voice, piano, clarinet, tom tom (10’00”). Improvisations on my own text about the poisoning of the Great Lakes. Leila Lustig, Bill Ralph, Sid Segalowitz; Iraina Neufeld, Douglas Miller, Heather Toews, Laura Thomas, St. Catharines, Ontario.

What Birds Mean, 2002, soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists, string orchestra, one player doubling on percussion in 2nd movement (18’45”). Texts: Alexandre Amprimoz, Heather McLeod, Cornelia Hornosty, Leila Lustig.

Singing Shiva, 2003, mezzo-soprano, C and alto flutes, piano (14’00”). Texts: 6 poems by Barbara D. Holender in memory of her husband. Patrice Jegou, Chenoa Anderson, Deanna Oye, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Puppet Play for the Wild Cow of Heaven, 2003, alto flute, oboe/English horn, bass clarinet, trumpet, percussion, marimba, string quintet or orchestra (11’30”). Text (spoken by instrumentalists) from the epic of Gilgamesh. My lament for the sacking of Iraq by George W. Bush et al.

Kursk, 2003, orchestra (13’00”). Reading session by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey cond.