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Tribute concert honours Calgary composer

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Composer, teacher and music publisher Roberta Stephen is being honoured by Conservatory musicians and others at a tribute concert organized by the Canadian Music Centre Sept. 21 at Scarboro Church.

The name Roberta Stephen is music to ears of Calgary musicians.

The composer, teacher, publisher, and singer has been the mainstay of Alberta Keys Music Publishing Co. Ltd., publishing dozens of works by her fellow Canadian composers.

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Conservatory faculty member Colleen Athparia performs at a concert honouring Roberta Stephen

“Roberta Stephen has done so much to encourage young composers and to promote Canadian music in Calgary,” says Conservatory Academy for Gifted Youth faculty piano instructor Colleen Athparia. “She has made a great contribution to Calgary composers by publishing their works.”

Athparia, who is hailed as one of the top four Canadian pianists of contemporary music today, is one of many performers honouring Stephen in an upcoming concert: A Tribute to Roberta Stephen — A Life in Music — Composer, Teacher, Music Publisher on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. at Calgary’s Scarboro United Church (134 Scarboro Ave. S.W.)

“I’m performing in this concert as a way of thanking her for her inspiration,” said Athparia, who has recorded Danse Sauvage by Calgary composer Allan Bell, which Stephen published.

The piano piece was the required Canadian composition in the inaugural Honens piano competition. 

The concert honouring Stephen and her music is showcasing a wonderful lineup of professional and student performers with ties to Mount Royal Conservatory. The free concert, organized by the Canadian Music Centre, pays tribute to her lifetime musical legacy through her compositions.

Performers honouring the octogenarian include Conservatory faculty, students and alumni, as well as other notable musicians:

  • Michelle Todd, voice
  • Stan Climie, clarinet
  • Colleen Athparia, piano
  • Kevin Chen, piano/composition
  • Lucie Jones and members of the Mount Royal Chamber Flutes
  • Lily String Quartet, featuring Diane Lane, Andrea Case, Elisa Milner and Patricia Higgins
  • Holly Kletke, voice
  • Cantare Children’s Choir

The work of award-winning Calgary composer Allan Bell, published by Stephen’s Alberta Keys Music Publishing Company, will be featured.

Stephen was born April 17, 1931, earned her Master’s degree from the University of North Texas and works as a teacher of singing, vocal pedagogy, composition, and advanced theoretical subjects. The award-winning teacher has been active in the community as a board member for New Works Calgary and the Canadian Music Centre.

For more information, click here.

Sherri Zickefoose, Sept. 8, 2014

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