Musical Gift from the University of Saskatchewan
A few years ago the University of Saskatchewan commissioned a multi-movement work from Dept. of Music B.Mus. graduate Paul Suchan. Paul was asked write a piece of music commemorating Canada’s sesquicentennial which aligned with Saskatchewan 110th anniversary as a province.
The resultant 3 moment work includes repertoire for (mov. 1) wind ensemble (mov. 2) concert choir, and (mov. 3) large jazz ensemble. The project did not stop there however. After the UofS Wind Orchestra, Greystone Singers and Jazz Ensemble premiered the university level repertoire, Paul Suchan then re-orchestrated all three movements so that they could be performed by high school level bands, choirs, and jazz ensembles. These revised pieces are our university’s musical offerings to the community; these pieces are now being shared with high school music programs across the country so that younger students too can also enjoy this wonderful music, created by a home grown Saskatchewan composer.
About the piece: Scenes of a Prairie Peoples is a piece commissioned by the University of Saskatchewan in 2017 to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial, and the 110th Anniversary of the University of Saskatchewan. This 3-movement piece is a celebration of the land, and, of the different peoples that have inhabited it.
The first movement, The Hunters Where Lillies Grow for Wind Orchestra, offers a glimpse of the land ten thousand years ago, when hunters chased their prey among the tiger lilies. The second movement, The Horsemen Where Rivers Join for Choir, is a retelling of a famous horse race between the Cree and Blackfoot at the forks of the North Saskatchewan and Battle rivers over one hundred years ago.
The third and final movement, The Fiddlers Where Greystones Stand for Jazz Orchestra, brings us to present day, the greystones representing the University of Saskatchewan, a place where the multi-faceted history of this land can be explored and shared.
This piece was premiered by the UofS Wind Orchestra, Greystone Singers and Jazz Ensemble.
The composer, Paul Suchan, was born in 1983 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, graduated with a B. Mus/B.Mus Ed (2007) from the University of Saskatchewan and M.Mus in Composition (2012) at the Université de Montréal where he studied with composer Alan Belkin. He is currently based in Saskatoon with his wife Naomi.
Mr. Suchan’s compositions has been performed across Canada, the United States and Europe by leading university ensembles, symphony orchestras, community groups, choirs, small ensembles and soloists. Highlights include performances at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and the performance of his opera The Beast in the Jungle in Montreal. His piece for band The Colors and Contrasts of Grief has received over 100 performances throughout North America and has been professionally recorded three times. Mr. Suchan has also been the winner of numerous composition awards including winning the 2014 Canadian Band Association Composition Competition for his band piece Swiftriver Passage.
Mr. Suchan is a strong advocate for fellow composers and in 2011 he co-founded the Strata Festival of New Music, an annual 3 day festival dedicated to high quality performances of Saskatchewan and Prairie composers.
To download a free copy of this music (PDFs and example audio files) please visit any of the following web sites: