Linda Bouchard

Born in Val d’Or (Abitibi), Quebec, May 21, 1957;
now living in San Francisco

Linda Bouchard holds a special relationship with the National Arts Centre Orchestra as its first composer-in-residence, a position she held for three years from September 1992 to August 1995. During this period, she composed five works for the Orchestra. Her international standing is such that more than fifty of her works have been recorded on both sides of the Atlantic.

Life in the U.S.

Canadian-born Linda Bouchard, like the American-born Michael Colgrass, maintains a strong profile on both sides of the Canadian-American border, and has lived for extended periods of time in both countries. She did her undergraduate studies in music at Bennington College in Vermont and her graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. She spent the years 1979-1990 studying flute with Harvey Sollberger, composition with Henry Brant and conducting with Arthur Weisberg. While living in New York she also composed, conducted contemporary music groups and arranged orchestral music for various ensembles, including the prestigious Washington Ballet and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Back to Canada

In 1990, Bouchard returned to Canada. For two years she resided in Montreal, where she fulfilled commissions for the opening of Montreal’s Modern Art Museum and, on the other side of the border, for the New Music America Festival. In 1992 she became the NAC Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence, a posting that allowed her to compose several works for that orchestra as well as to devise a variety of programs to help young people understand classical music, especially the modern kind. As part of her residency, Bouchard also undertook various projects to stimulate interest in, foster understanding of and encourage public involvement with new music.

. . . and back to the States again

In 1997, Bouchard moved to San Francisco, where she currently resides. A year later she was one of the featured composers at the Other Minds Festival there. In 2000 she made a return visit to Canada to take part in two of the country’s most prestigious contemporary music festivals, the Winnipeg Symphony New Music Festival and the Vancouver New Music Festival. That year, her theatrical fashion show Musique défilé was premiered in Montreal in February and was performed again in June in Singapore. Ms. Bouchard retains affiliation with both the American Music Center and the Canadian Music Center. She is also a member of both the American Composers Forum and SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada).

The composer speaks:

“My work is often inspired by nature’s geometry, structure and textures. As if writing music could begin by staring with a magnifying glass at nature’s elements: water-gas-rock formations-chemical reactions, creating from these images a series of abstract landscapes.

“I seek to express emotional experiences in their most raw form, without a literal or narrative setting. Like a collage of different perceptions that eventually forms a whole picture, I attempt to create a world from ‘real time’ experience: reconstructing an imagined emotional event that unfolds in a compressed time frame.

“Frequently my pieces start abruptly as if the music has been going on for a while; there is no introduction, no development, just the most condensed version of the untransformed material. There is a dramatic quality to this approach. Whether the works themselves, or the shifts from section to section in a single piece are spare or complex, I am looking to evoke something that is, in its own right, complete. Music is color, texture and rhythm and the live instrumentalists create the alchemy.

“Since 2000, I have become particularly interested in the way our artistic traditions are evolving through the integration of electronic and digital tools. As a composer who wrote solely for acoustic instruments for 25 years, I come to this exploration from an artistic place that is firmly rooted in the acoustic musical tradition yet, I notice that the overall landscape of my music and the minutiae of its textures are progressively changing with the addition of electronics.”