Tawnie Olson

Tawnie Olson, http://www.tawnieolson.com, tawnie.olson@gmail.com


Described as “especially glorious… ethereal” by Whole Note and “a highlight of the concert” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, the music of Canadian composer Tawnie Olson has been performed by a wide range of ensembles and individual musicians, including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Land’s End Ensemble, Duo Fiolûtröniq, Parthenia, New Morse Code, the Wanmu Percussion Trio, the McGill, University of Calgary, and University of Toronto Percussion Ensembles, bassoonists Nadina Mackie Jackson and Rachael Elliott, percussionists Shawn Mativetsky and Ian David Rosenbaum, harpsichordist Katelyn Clark, clarinetists Louise Campbell and Paul Roe, the Canadian Chamber Choir, the Toronto Chamber Choir, the Guelph Chamber Choir, the choir of Trinity Wall Street, the Norfolk Festival Choir, the Yale Camerata, and NOTUS: Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. She has won awards from the SOCAN foundation and the Guelph Chamber Choir/Musica Viva, and is a two-time semifinalist in the Sorel Foundation competition. Her composition Scel lem duib, for chamber chorus and harp, was one of three works selected (out of 170 submissions) for publication in the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s 2013 choral music series.


Recent projects include Something to Say, for tabla, spoken word, and fixed media, composed at the request of Shawn Mativetsky, Spring and Fall – to a young child, commissioned by Janet Galván and Ithaca College for the Ithaca College Choir, Spinning and Weaving, commissioned by Duo Novus, and Sailing to Byzantium, for modified Pierrot ensemble, commissioned by the Thin Edge New Music Collective. In 2010 a recording of her composition Chantez à l’Éternelwas released on the Canadian Chamber Choir’s CD, “In Good Company,” in 2011 Rachael Elliott released a recording of À mon seul désir on the album “Polka the Elk,” in 2013 Plainsong was released on Catherine Lee ‘s new album, “Social Sounds,” and in 2014 Shawn Mativetsky issued Something to Say as a digital release.


Olson holds a doctorate in music composition from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, an Artist Diploma from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Calgary.




Spring and Fall: to a young child, 2014, SATB a cappella (ca. 5:30). Commissioned by the Janet Galván and Ithaca College for the Ithaca College Choir. Score available from the composer.


Les Voyelles, 2013, SSATB, violoncello and percussion (ca. 11:30). Score available from the composer.

Scel lem duib, 2012, SSAATTBB and harp (ca. 6:45). Published by the National Collegiate Choral Organization http://www.ncco-usa.org/ncco-choral-music-series/scel-lem-duib/ Recording available here: http://www.tawnieolson.com/audio/Scel_lem_duib.mp3 Commissioned by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music’s Robert Baker Fund for Commissioning New Music for the Yale Camerata Chamber Chorus.


In Paradisum, 2011, SSS and piano (ca. 4:30). Commissioned by Phyllis Anscombe.


O Inexpressible Mystery, 2009 SSAATBB and viola obbligato (ca. 2:30). Score available here: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/35589 Recording available

here: http://www.tawnieolson.com/audio/OInexpressibleMystery.mp3

Child’s Play,  2009, SATB (ca. 3:30). Commissioned by the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Score available here: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/35519

The Seven Last Words from the Cross2009, SATB, Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists, chamber orchestra (45:00). Excerpts available here: http://www.tawnieolson.com/audio.html Score and recording of complete performance available from the composer.


Easter Anthem, 2005, children’s chorus and organ (ca. 2:00).


Sero te amavi, 2003, SATB (ca. 7:30). Winner of the Guelph Chamber Choir/Musica Viva Young Composers Competition


Circuire Possum, 2003 SATB (ca. 3:30). Score available here: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/63795

Chantez à l’Éternel, 2000, SATB (ca. 4:00). Score available here: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/35512 Recorded by the Canadian Chamber Choir on their CD “In Good Company,” available on iTunes and here: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/40301


The Seven Last Words from the Cross, 2009, chorus, SATB soloists, and chamber orchestra (ca. 45:00). The Yale Camerata, Marguerite Brooks, conducting, Woolsey Hall, April 5 2009 (also listed above).



Urban Legend, 2010, b-flat clarinet and chamber orchestra (ca. 6:00). Commissioned by ACES Educational Center for the Arts. Lorenzo Kleine, clarinet, ECA Orchestra, Roy Wiseman, conducting. April 7, 2010

Meditation and Prayer, 2009, chamber orchestra (ca. 4:00). Stand-alone movement from The Seven Last Words from the Cross. The Yale Camerata, Marguerite Brooks, conducting, Woolsey Hall, April 5 2009. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.


To Look Once More Upon the Stars, 1997, orchestra (ca. 5:30). The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Ty Patterson, conducting, Jack Singer Concert Hall, May 8, 1997.



Sailing to Byzantium, 2015, soprano, b-flat/e-flat clarinets, percussion, violin, cello, and piano (ca. 10:00). Commissioned by the Thin Edge New Music Collective. Gallery 345, The Thin Edge New Music Collective and Stacie Dunlop, soprano, April 12, 2015.

Spinning and Weaving, 2014, two harps (ca. 12:00). Commissioned by Duo Novus. Kristan Toczko and Emily Belvedere, harps, Music at Mount Pleasant, August 9, 2014. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.

Thorns2013, bass-baritone and consort of viols (tenor viol and three bass viols) (ca. 8:00). Commissioned by John and Terry Hare. The Players Theatre, New York, Dashon Burton, bass-baritone, Parthenia, viols, April 2, 2013.

Le Revenant, 2011, soprano and piano (ca. 3:30). Commissioned by Stacie Dunlop. The Music Room, Stacie Dunlop, soprano, Krista Vincent, piano, September 28, 2011. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.

Mille Regretz, 2011, flute/bass flute and viola da gamba (ca. 4:30). Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, Duo Fiolûtröniq, March 8, 2011.

As Rain Hollows Stone, 2010, percussion trio (ca. 15:00). Hartford Composers Concert, Wanmu Percussion Trio, September 20, 2010. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.

Entropy, 2006, nonet (ca. 6:30). Walter Hall, March 28, 2006.

À mon seul désir2005, bassoon and piano (ca. 5:00). Nadina Mackie Jackson and David Swan, January, 2006. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre. Commercial recording: Rachael Elliott, Polka the Elk, Music Starts from Silence, 2011.



Paraclete, 2013, b-flat clarinet doubling kick drum and Tibetan singing bowl (ca. 11:00). Tanna Schulich Hall, Louise Campbell, June 7, 2013. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.

Plainsong, 2004/2011, English horn (ca. 4:00). Walter Hall, Gillian Howard, January 20, 2004. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.

La folia, 2008, harpsichord (ca. 6:30). Commissioned by Katelyn Clark with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, Katelyn Clark, Dec. 12, 2008. Score and parts available through the Canadian Music Centre.

Mirror Image, 2005, violin (ca. 4:00). Banff Center for the Arts, Brigit Knecht, February 2, 2005.

Nocturne, 2003, guitar (ca. 3:00). Walter Hall, Matthew Peters, 2003.

Cat, 1994, soprano (ca. 2:30). St. David’s United Church, Patrice Jegou, November 27, 1997.


American Robin, 2015, soprano and live electronics (ca. 4:30). Written for the Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop. The Conservatory Theatre, Carla Huhtanen, May 22, 2015.

Something to Say, 2014, tabla, spoken word and digital audio (ca. 7:00). Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, Shawn Mativetsky, February 15, 2014. Score available through the Canadian Music Centre.

The Blackbird at Evening, 2013, marimba and digital audio (ca. 3:00). The Phillips Collection, Ian David Rosenbaum, March 23, 2014.

Tombeau d’Annelie de Man, 2012, harpsichord and digital audio (ca. 8:30). Commissioned by Katelyn Clark with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. Chapelle St. Louis, Katelyn Clark, April 21, 2012.

Suzanne un jour, 2006, harpsichord and digital audio (ca. 9:30). Banff Centre for the Arts, Katelyn Clark, February, 2005.


Digital ReleaseSomething to Say, 2014. Shawn Mativetsky, tabla and spoken word.

CD, In Good Company, 2010, The Canadian Chamber Choir, Julia Davids, conducting.

CD, Polka The Elk, 2011, Music Starts from Silence. Rachael Elliott, bassoon; Adrienne Kim, piano.

CD, Social Sounds, 2013, Teal Creek Music, Catherine Lee, English Horn.