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David Passmore

Toronto, CA

David Passmore has composed and arranged music for a variety of performing organizations including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Music at Sharon, Toronto Dance Theatre, Tapestry Music Theatre (now Tapestry New Opera Works), continuum, the Toronto Woodwinds, Trinity Chamber Ensemble, and The Mississauga Choral Society, who premiered his work for choir and orchestra, On That Day: Visions of the Prophet Isaiah, in 2001. His choral music has also been performed by the Amadeus Choir, the Iseler Singers, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Bach Elgar Choir and Mendelssohn Youth Choir. The choral-orchestral work, Seasons of the Spirit, to texts by David Allan, has been performed with the Toronto Symphony under Jacques Israelievitch. Several choral pieces have been published by Jaymar and Gordon V. Thompson. His prize-winning Three Psalms (2010 Musica Religioso Olomouc Festival Composition Competition, Czech Republic) was published by the festival’s on-line publisher Editizione Festa Olomouc.

He has written a number of song cycles, the first being Songs of the Cup (1981), a series of drinking songs for baritone, trombone and piano. Wheel Songs (1997), for high voice and piano, is a setting of poems written by Toronto librarian Douglas Stewart on a bicycle trip through northern Ontario. Many Moods (2004), commissioned by Michelle Simmons and Calvin Powell for a recital in St. John’s, sets poems by renowned Toronto poet and scholar and Newfoundland native E. J. Pratt. (This exists in both duet and solo versions.) Billy Strayhorn A/K/A for baritone and chamber ensemble was premiered in 2007 by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. The cycle My Mistress’ Eyes was published (under the title Dark Lady Sonnets) in The Toronto Songbook 2009 (Plangere Press) and was premiered in 2011 by Danielle Buonaiuto at the OSM Competition in Montreal. It was a featured work in the inaugural 2012 concert of the Canadian Art Song Project held in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre of the Four Seasons Centre opera house, performed by Kryzstina Szabo and Christopher Mokrzewski. It is to be presented in arrangement by The Lunar Ensemble under Gemma New, sung by Danielle Buonaiuto, on April 24, 2015.

Although born in Toronto, Ontario,Canada, David Passmore grew up in nearby London, Ontario, where he studied piano from age six, commencing organ studies with Barrie Cabena during his high school years. Although dabbling in composition from an early age, (including the composition of the sound track for the City of London Planning Board Film as a teenager), he didn’t engage in formal composition studies until his second year at the University of Toronto where he studied with Oskar Morawetz, John Beckwith and Talivaldis Kenins, winning several awards. Later he pursued private orchestration studies with Belgian-Canadian composer Louis Debras and composition with Derek Holman during his Master’s Degree at U of T. He worked for several years as a modern dance accompanist, taught courses in the Music Theory Department at U of T for over a decade, and has been Director of Music at various churches, most recently at Bloor Street United where he has been since 1989.