Ann Southam, 1937-2010

Warren Burt writes to tell me that Canadian composer Ann Southam died on Thanksgiving day. She only came to my attention two years ago when we both had pieces featured on the same Musicworks disc. So I don’t yet know much about her except that her piano works In Retrospect and Simple Lines of Enquiry are attractively meditative, and seemingly process-oriented in a thoughtful, non-obvious way. Hopefully, as so often happens in such cases, we’ll now be treated to a steady stream from her back catalogue.


  1. says

    This is very sad.
    I had come to really appreciate her music recently, and featured much of what is currently available on our radio program Music from Other Minds ( ).
    She is perhaps the first composer to really capture in her piano music the sounds of water running in streams and brooks.
    We can only hope now that her music is not forgotten, but continues to be played, for she is certainly one of the finest Canadian composers of her generation (that no one has heard of).

  2. says

    Good gracious, I would have never guessed Ann was that old! I met her around 1980 or so through New Music Concerts; at the time I was greatly enamoured of her electronic pieces, and openly envious of that mini patch-bay portable suitcase synth she’d used. I wonder what became of that machine.
    As for Canadian composers that no one has ever heard of (LOL) well, that often depends where one does the asking. Within our borders, you’d be hard pressed to find even one popularly famous composer, but I’ve heard some of them say they find it refreshing to know they can go anywhere here and remain completely anonymous, even when introduced!