Due to the forward thinking folks at Wilfrid Laurier University, the premiere performance of my choral symphony “Babel” is now up on Youtube for you to see and hear. I’d love to share this with you. If you have 45 minutes to spare, click through to the video and watch. Here’s the link to the movie:

Babel: a choral symphony

There is no scrolling text in the video so if you want to reference the words of Cori Martin’s beautiful and thought-provoking poetry, you can click on this link here:


How did the premiere go you ask? Very well. In fact beyond my wildest expectations. Laurier Music leaders like Lee Willingham and Paul Pulford are training up young musicians to face professional challenges with courage and commitment. I appreciate the diligence of all the students who threw themselves into this strange new work with skill and sensitivity. The string players at Laurier are particularly impressive. Under the tutelage of the Penderecki String Quartet they have obtained a polish and expressive spirit, yet play together as a well-practiced team. Thanks to the magnificent singers of the chorus, who tackled some challenging music, and the five stellar soloists Sarah Amelard, Midori Marsh, Jamie Groote, River Guard, and Dylan Langan.

I particularly have to mention the percussionists who are kept very busy in this piece, for their inventiveness and willingness to go the extra mile, creating some new and unusual instruments (look to the end of the first mvt for the big surprise.)

I am so glad we were able to capture this performance on video, and I thank Earl McCluskie and his crew at Chestnut Hall Music for their expertise, good humour, efficiency and professionalism.

My fondest wish would be to have another performance of the piece. I have now published it through the Canadian Music Centre, so you may click here to obtain the score and parts:
CMC Score and parts

You can download the score for examination, or you can purchase the full set of parts.
Since I am looking for things to do during my sabbatical year (2017-18) maybe I can come and help with the show?

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3 Responses to Babel: a choral symphony – the video

  1. Andrew Keegan says:

    This is truly a new monument in choral music in Canada!

    Congratulations to the musicians at Laurier, who I totally agree are done if the most talented and adventurous I’ve ever encountered.

    Lee and Paul are doing wonderful things there, challenging the next generation to approach their music-making in a new, open and collaborative way that has profound and far-reaching implications for their students’ futures.

    But mostly, congratulations to Cori and Stephanie! We’re so proud of you.

  2. Andrew Keegan says:

    As a follow up…

    If you don’t know about the MA in Community Music which Lee Willingham runs at Laurier, here’s a great write up:


    And here is the Laurier page:


    Truly ground-breaking learning.

  3. On April 2, 2016, Chestnut Hall Music had the honour of recording two superb new works commissioned by NUMUS and WLU’s Faculty of Music to celebrate the faculty’s 40th anniversary.

    Stephanie Martin’s “Babel: a choral symphony” received its premiere at this concert, along with Glenn Buhr’s Piano Concerto No 3. Both works deserve to be programmed on every major orchestra’s main concert series across the country and beyond. I appreciate and support contemporary music in all its forms, but the majority of audiences often find “new music” perplexing and unattractive.

    Stephanie has created a large scale choral work that both satisfies the need for new sounds and ideas, but presents them in a way that is approachable by all. This is a work that has become a part of my classical playlist, and I truly hope that it is embraced by orchestras and choirs across our country and beyond.

    WLU’s music school has set the standard a notch higher for how a university can contribute as a vital part of the Canada’s music culture by premiering works of this calibre. It’s well and good to excel at the standards, and another thing to excel at bringing new standards to the attention of the world. Bravo WLU, Lee Willingham and Paul Pulford!

    Pass the link for this piece onto as many people who you know will appreciate a superb new choral masterpiece! And, enjoy the video.

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