Robert Rival has been the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence since 2011. Critics have described his work, written in a contemporary
tonal style and inspired by the Canadian wilderness, literature, and classical and romantic musical forms, as "well crafted", "engaging", "immediately appealing", "melodic and accessible", "memorable" and "sophisticated". His music for orchestra, chamber ensemble and voice has been performed and broadcast widely at home and abroad, including at Carnegie Hall, by leading musicians, ensembles and orchestras. Rival holds a doctorate in composition from the University of Toronto. www.robertrival.com
SHORT BIO (195 WORDS)
Robert Rival, a native Albertan, has been the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence since 2011. His music, written in a contemporary tonal style and inspired by the Canadian wilderness, literature, and classical and romantic musical forms, has been described as "well crafted", "engaging", "immediately appealing", "melodic and accessible", "sophisticated", "memorable"—and his song cycle, Red Moon and Other Songs of War, as "an unequivocal hit". His works for the ESO include a dramatic symphonic poem, Achilles & Scamander, a dazzling overture, Whirlwind, and Lullaby, performed at Carnegie Hall and lauded as an "atmospheric dream world". Other orchestral works include Symphony No. 1 "Maligne Range", inspired by a hike through the Rockies, and a children's work, Maya the Bee. His diverse catalogue of chamber music is performed by leading musicians in Canada and abroad. His scholarly publications include articles on Shostakovich and Nielsen. Committed to music education and appreciation, he has taught theory and composition at all levels, and has written liner and program notes for major festivals and record labels. Rival holds a doctorate in composition from the University of Toronto, and lives with his wife, Chantal-Andrée Samson, a realist oil painter, and their son Raphaël. www.robertrival.com
Born in Calgary in 1975, Robert Rival joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as Composer-in-Residence in the 2011/12 season. A composer of music for chamber ensemble, orchestra,
voice and theatre who writes in a contemporary tonal style, critics have described his music as "well crafted", "engaging", "attractive", "immediately appealing", "melodic and accessible", "memorable", "brisk and bounding", "sophisticated"—and his song cycle, Red Moon and Other Songs of War, as "an
Rival's works have been broadcast on CBC radio and NPR and performed in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland,
Germany, France, Italy and Australia, by ensembles and musicians including the Edmonton Symphony, the Gryphon Trio, the Windsor Symphony, Musica Camerata (Montreal), the Ottawa
Symphony, the National Academy Orchestra, the Canadian Sinfonietta Chamber Players, Boris Brott, William Eddins, Julian Kuerti, Nathan Berg and Denise
Djokic, in venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, the National Arts Centre (Canada), the Winspear Centre, Dublin National Concert Hall, Bridewell Theatre (London, UK), Salle Cortot (Paris), Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, NY International Fringe Festival, Festival Vancouver, Redpath Hall (Montreal) and the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (Toronto).
A Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient and an Associate Composer of the CMC, Rival was a Featured Composer at the Windsor Canadian Music Festival in 2010. He has been commissioned by the Edmonton Symphony, CBC, the Canadian Music Centre, Toronto's Talisker Players and Windermere String Quartet, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, Trevor Pittman and Australia's Elanée Ensemble, among others.
Rival completed his doctorate in composition at the University of Toronto in 2010, winning the John Weinzweig Graduate Scholarship, an award given annually to a graduating masters or doctoral student in composition "who exhibits extraordinary creative talent". He also has an MFA in musical theatre composition (New York University, 2002) and an MMus in composition and theory (University of Ottawa, 1998). In 2004 he obtained a diploma from the European American Musical Alliance summer composition program in Paris. His major studies have been with Alexander Rapoport and Steven Gellman.
Rival's orchestral works include a dramatic symphonic poem, Achilles & Scamander, a dazzling overture, Whirlwind, and Lullaby, performed at Carnegie Hall and lauded as an "atmospheric dream world". Other orchestral works include Symphony No. 1 "Maligne Range", inspired by a hike through the Rockies, a children's work, Maya the Bee, a light-hearted Scherzo "Crème Brûlée" for small orchestra, Elegy and Spring, both for strings, and The Great Northern Diver, a symphonic poem about the common loon.
Rival's chamber music includes Traces of a Silent Landscape for string quartet, a Piano
Trio, a Clarinet Trio, Fantasy on a Theme of Schubert for violin and piano, a Sonata for viola and double bass, a Scherzo for nonet, and Sonata "Muskoka" for clarinet and piano. Of his String Sextet "The Tempest" one critic wrote that it "cast a powerful spell". His song cycle Red Moon & Other Songs of War was premiered by Melanie Conly and Peter Longworth; the chamber version by Alexander Dobson and the Talisker Players. Other works include Six Pieces for solo piano written for Michael Esch.
Rival's theatre works include The Overcoat, a one-act musical based on the Gogol story, staged twice in 2002, at the NY International Fringe Festival and the Bridewell Theatre.
In addition to composing, Rival is active as a music writer and scholar. A recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) doctoral award for his research on Shostakovich, the Canadian University Music Society awarded him the 2009 George Proctor Prize for
best graduate student paper, which in expanded form was published in the journal twentieth-century music (Cambridge University Press). He has also published an article on harmony and voice-leading in late Nielsen in Carl Nielsen Studies. He has read papers at the Sixth Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900 and at the Shostakovich 2006: International Centenary Conference, both held in the UK, twice at Canadian University Music Society annual conferences, and was an invited speaker at Carl Nielsen: Inheritance and Legacy held in Denmark.
Rival has written program notes for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival, Ottawa Chamber Music Society and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. He has also published liner notes with the record labels Analekta and ATMA Classique; an article on Gary Kulesha in SOCAN's Words & Music; and features on Messiaen and Slavic music for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Rival lives with his wife Chantal-Andrée Samson, a realist oil painter who also taught life-drawing at Humber College in Toronto for several years, and their son, Raphaël. In his spare time you will find him playing shinny hockey at the local rink or out for a run.
Rival with Lucas Waldin, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Resident Conductor, on the stage of the Winspear Centre in Edmonton. (photo
by Kris Berezanski)