Overcoming childhood deafness, Canadian composer now enjoys a thriving career

Posted on: October 17, 2014

In Thursday’s (10/16) Ottawa Citizen, Peter Robb profiles Abigail Richardson, composer-in-residence with the Hamilton (Ontario) Philharmonic Orchestra, director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival, and “that rare individual, a Canadian composer with a day job in music.” As a young child in Britain, Richardson became profoundly deaf from a series of ear infections. Doctors in the U.K. were unable to help her, but after her father secured a job in Alberta, Canada, “the family settled in Calgary, where the drier air caused a miracle. ‘Within six months my hearing came back and I can hear perfectly today.’ ” As a girl she was drawn to the flute and then the piano, but only after beginning music studies at the University of Calgary did she begin to envision a composing career. “She had to create a piece and perform it in class. ‘That’s when I decided this was for me.’ An M.A. followed and a Phd at the University of Toronto. The now 38-year-old Richardson has forged a successful career in a demanding profession.” A new chamber work by Richardson will be performed by musicians from the National Arts Centre Orchestra on October 25, during NACO’s five-city tour of the U.K.

Posted October 17, 2014