TAKING NOTE OF AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
November 4, 2010
Biography chronicles life and
music of Canadian-Romanian composer
By Paula Roy
WITH AN INNER MUSIC:
Maya Badian says her love of music composition began
when she was a young girl in Romania
life and work is chronicled in the authorized biography,The Life
and The Music of Maya Badian: A Privilege to SoarBiography
by Fred Popovici
Maya BadianPhoto by Paul Roy (2010)
few people embark on their life's work before they even begin
elementary school, Westboro's Dr. Maya Badian is a 'notable' exception.
The accomplished musician - who will celebrate the official launch of
her biography, The
Life and The Music of Maya Badian: A Privilege to Soar,
this weekend - says that her love of music composition first found its
voice when she was very young girl in Romania.
Today, her eyes sparkle and her fingers dance lithely across the piano
demonstrate the first piece she ever composed. It's a lovely,
lilting melody she initially heard in her head as a todler; the same
one that drove her to beg her parents for piano lessons at the age of
five so she could express the music she felt inside. Badian
maintains that composing was truly her destiny, not a matter of choice.
"From my earliest recollections I was possessed by sounds, by an inner
music," Badian reminisces.
From daily life to
major concerns, everything transforms into music
was three when I discovered the piano in our home; the instrument had
an unusual attraction on me, fascinating me so that it completely
replaced the usual toys and activities that one would associate with a
girl of that age. Since then, I always absorb life experiences and send them back into
my music. Everything - from daily life to the major concerns of our
- transforms into music."
Badian's artistic mother, a recognized master in the study of corporal
movement, supported her daughter unequivocally in her musical quest.
"I was composing music naturally before I knew the word 'composition'
its meaning," says Badian. "I was certain that everybody heard music
inside themselves all the time, as I did, and I thought that everybody
internationally, Badian has published over 100 musical compositions, as
well as numerous works on musicology
and pedagogy which are held in prestigious libraries around the globe. One book, 100 Canadian
Composers from Atlantic to Pacific,
has become a primary reference used worldwide; her orchestral works are
regularly performed by Canadian, American and European orchestras. Her
compositions, praised for their musicality and balance, are well
structured and very contemporary without being avant-garde.
Despite a thriving career in Romania, Badian, her husband and son fled
communist country in 1987 to escape the oppressive Ceausescu regime.
They initially settled in Montreal to join family there, relocating to
Ottawa in 1995. Happily settled in Westboro, Badian appreciated the
area for its many amenities as well as what she describes as, "a
fluorishing musical community."
Her apartment is intriguing; her
life story told through carefully-preserved family photographs from
several generations alongside a display of recordings of her
compositions. The walls are lined with artworks, including portraits of
Badian by her late uncle, renowned painter T.K. Thomas.
Now a Canadian citizen, Badian is as fiercely proud of her adoptive
home as she is of the land of her birth.
a newcomer to Canada, I was impressed by the variety of peoples and
cultures living in peace in this huge and wonderful country," she says.
Being a multi-linguist herself, she recalls being amazed and delighted
to hear so many languages and dialects being spoken all around her upon
her arrival in Canada. The
multiculturalism that made an early
impact has proven to be a huge influence in her compositions, as has
our country's varied and beautiful landscape. The titles of many of her
works reflect her love of Canada, including Reflets laurentiens
(Concerto for Clarinet and Saxophone), Canadian Wilderness and Stillness
(Symphonic Evocation on the Group of Seven) and Mirrored Reflections in the
of the works of which she is most proud is a symphony called Holocaust - In Memoriam
which had its world premiere in Germany in 1995. Described
by Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor as
"evocative and melancholy", the work serves as a shining example of
versatility as a composer and her brilliance as an orchestrator.
Badian is a steadfast advocate for arts education who can speak at
about how essential music is to children's development, both
and emotionally. It is easy to imagine her enthusiasm as a teacher -
despite jetlag thanks to having just returned from Germany where she
was invited to present at the International Alliance for Women in Music
colloquium, Badian literally bubbles with excitement as she discusses
all things musical.
While genuinely humble, she seems honoured
to share her journey with an even wider audience, thanks to her recent
publication of an authorized biography written by her Romanian
compatriot, fellow musician and longtime friend Fred Popovici.
The University of
hosting a free public event to celebrate the publication of The
Life and The Music of Maya Badian: A Privilege to Soar
on Friday, November 5 at 7:30
P.M. at the Perez Building.