Composer of the month – Christine Donkin


Composer for January…Christine Donkin!

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Background

Christine Donkin was born in northwestern Alberta, and studied music composition at the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia. She composes choral, chamber, and orchestral works, and has written several volumes of pedagogical books for the piano, violin, and double bass. I met Christine in 2012 at the BCRMTA (BC Registered Music Assoc.) conference in Abbotsford, BC. Here is my signed book, Legends and Lore.

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Popular Pieces

One of my favourite books of Christine’s is her Legends and Lore, written for the elementary to late-intermediate level. Dream Journey and Witches and Wizards are from this collection.

Level 1: Dream Journey

This is a gorgeous, imaginative piece that evokes a dreamy atmosphere. It doesn’t sound like something in level 1.

Level 3: Witches and Wizards

When students first transition to level 3, I often choose this study as the first one they learn. I imagine the witches on brooms, flying up and down, while the wizards throw spells left and right (watch where the pianist crosses their left hand over the right). Watch this video and see if you can identify the “wizard” part:

Level 7: Peace Country Hoedown

I imagine fiddles, stomping feet, and dancing at this festive hoedown! Note the change in emphasis (listen for the accents).

Christine’s piano music always reflect the titles of the pieces, and students have fun exploring the different sounds they can make to create the mood and imagery of the title while acquiring the skills needed to progress in learning the piano.

 

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