Jennifer Butler

IMG_0579_2Jennifer Butler
under bleak skies
premiere: Dec. 4, 2012 Vancouver Aquatic Centre

Jennifer is a composer and flutist living in Vancouver, BC.
Her music has been described as intimate, resonant, and sonorous. She loves working with quiet and fragile sounds, but will often juxtapose these with loud, forceful outbursts. Commissioned and performed by outstanding artists such as Continuum Contemporary Music (Toronto), the Western Front (Vancouver), Redshift (Vancouver), the Microscore Project (Los Angeles), the Turning Point Ensemble (Vancouver), Standing Wave (Vancouver), Nu:BC (Vancouver), and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer’s music has been broadcast across Canada and in the USA.
In February 2011 the Victoria Symphony premiered her commissioned work And Birds Do Sing and December 2011 saw the premiere of Shadow Catch, a noh-inspired chamber opera in collaboration with composers Dorothy Chang, Benton Roark, Farshid Samandari. Upcoming projects include commissions from Vancouver New Music and Standing Wave. Jennifer completed a DMA (2009) in composition at the University of British Columbia. Her principle composition teachers include: Glenn Buhr, Peter Hatch, Omar Daniel, Keith Hamel and Brent Lee.Jennifer is currently the President of the Canadian League of Composers, and is an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre.

While composing Under Bleak Skies, I found myself thinking about the impact of humans on our oceans. Currently in British Columbia there is a proposed pipeline to ship oil from Alberta’s Tar Sands to the coast. There is strong opposition to this proposal, and especially to the risk of an oil spill in coastal waters. We are also constantly bombarded with news of other symptoms warning that our oceans are in danger: higher PH levels, orca whale numbers dropping lower each year, fish populations that are near collapse, and the vast plastic gyre in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.Under Bleak Skies is a musical lament for the ocean. In the beginning of the piece the sea is calm and two birds circle overhead. However, a feeling of alarm and panic gradually enters the musical texture, until all the instruments are sounding an alarm. (JB)