An Interview with Allan Gordon Bell

Monika Zaborowski


Alberta-born composer Allan Gordon Bell is a well-known representative of what is a true “Canadian” music. Bell's music is not contemporary in the sense that he is trying to confuse the audience and apply theories that can only be understood by the few academics that wish to analyze it. Instead, his music derives its sounds from aural experiences from the Albertan landscape. Bell is fascinated with the outer world of his land. Mapping the musical sounds of his environment through ‘pure’ listening, Bell has developed a compositional language that challenges listeners to find experiential connections in his music, calling out for us to find our place in this land we call Canada. His music evokes aural memories of our Canadian surroundings, to inform us and remind us of the beauty we so often neglect. Bell is a Professor of Music at the University of Calgary, and former President of the Canadian Music Centre. I spoke with the composer via telephone on October 20, 2011.

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