Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In 1942, Somers came under the influence of John Weinsweig , an avant garde composer in a community which was still mired in the 19th century. Ironically, it was Weinsweig who set up a program of traditional harmony study for the young composer as well as introducing him to 12-tone techniques.
There followed a period of study in Paris. It is here that Somers heard and was influenced by the music of Boulez and Messiaen (although he was studying with the much more conservative Darius Milhaud). These composers would influence his later music.
Returning home to Toronto in 1950 Somers worked as a music copyist while he honed his compositional talents. By the 1960s he was able to support his family almost entirely by his composition. An important work from the 1950s was Five Songs for Dark Voice.
In the 1960's he abandoned tonality. Works from this period include Five Concepts for Orchestra (1961)Twelve Miniatures (1963). However, Five Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (1969) shows him clearly working within the choral mainstream. These five accessible arrangements of Newfoundland folk songs have become popular with choirs around the world.
He had an eclectic, personal approach to 20th century styles and composed a large body of work that walked a fine line between an elite modernity and popular appeal.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details