To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the Peace Tower’s 90th anniversary in 2017, the House of Commons announced a nationwide carillon composition competition in June 2016. Submissions in one of two categories were accepted until January 16, 2017:
Open category: Submissions from Canadian citizens or permanent residents for a composition of no more than five minutes’ duration, playable by a solo performer (no duets) on a traditional mechanical carillon of 53 bells spanning 4½ octaves, all of which are playable from the manual: G, A, B-flat, B, C-C-C-C-C. The pedal range (29 notes) is G, A, B-flat, B-C-C-C.
Youth category: Submissions from Canadian citizens or permanent residents born on or after January 1, 1991,for a composition of no more than five minutes’ duration, playable by a solo performer (no duets) on a mechanical carillon of 51 cast bells (manuals: B-flat, C, D, chromatic to high C4, with pedals B-flat, C, D, chromatic to C2).
Compositions were judged based on their relevance to Canada’s sesquicentennial, as well as their originality, playability and effectiveness on the carillon. Composers maintain all copyrights to their works. Following the premiere, the scores of the winning compositions will be posted as PDFs on the House of Commons Carillon web page and available for free download for up to two years. This provides an opportunity to the winning composers for immediate exposure of their work to the greater carillon community.
Dr. Andrea McCrady, Dominion Carillonneur, acted as coordinator (not judge) of the competition. The four judges, who are professional carillonneurs from across Canada, were Andrée-Anne Doane (Montréal), Jonathan Hebert (Ottawa), Rosemary Laing (Victoria), and Roy Lee (Toronto). The adjudication was completed in March. The winners have been notified and have accepted their awards.
The winning composer in the Open category is Scott Allan Orr. His piece, Festive rondo, was premiered by the Dominion Carillonneur on the Peace Tower Carillon on July 1, 2017.
Scott Allan Orr, LLCM, ARCT, AMus, was born and raised in Toronto where he began his carillon studies with Roy Lee at the University of Toronto. In 2014, he received a Carillonneur Diploma summa cum laude from the Royal Carillon School ‘Jef Denyn’ in Mechelen, Belgium, where he studied performance with Eddy Mariën and composition with Erik Vandevoort. He currently sits on the committee of the British Carillon Society and has performed invited recitals in Belgium, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Poland. In addition to his carillon activities, he has worked as a pianist and music teacher, primarily as a vocal coach and musical director for theatre productions. Scott has completed his doctorate in heritage science at the University of Oxford, working on conservation techniques for historic buildings.
The winning composer in the Youth category is Lucas Oickle. His piece, Fifteen Decades, was premiered by the University of Toronto Carillonneur at Soldiers’ Tower on July 1, 2017, and subsequently was performed on the Peace Tower Carillon during the October 2017 Percival Price Symposium.
Lucas Oickle received his BMus from Acadia University and his MMus from the University of British Columbia. A past member of the Canadian Forces, he also spent two seasons employed as a saxophonist with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard. Originally from Nova Scotia, he now lives in Japan with his wife Chihiro and their two cats, Taro and Ponzu. He is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. Lucas’s accolades include a SOCAN Foundation award (for his Three Songs on Poems by Vancouver Downtown Eastside Poets), a Nova Scotia Talent Trust (NSTT) scholarship (for a Sundanese gamelan study intensive in Bandung, Indonesia), and awards in competitions such as the Canada-wide Penthelia Singers Canadian Folk Song Arranging Contest (for his arrangement of Farewell to Nova Scotia), the international TEMPO New Music Ensemble Call for Scores, the Via Choralis Composition Competition in 2014 and 2016, and the Green Dot Journey Composer Competition (Atlantic Region winner). In 2014, he was a recipient of the Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award, presented by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust for “utmost commitment, promise, exceptional technique, talent, and the highest achievement of excellence” in music composition. Events that he has been invited to write for include major anniversaries like the UBC centennial, the 130th anniversary of the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, and the 40th season opener of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.