Diana McIntosh

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469 Kingston Cresent
Winnipeg, MB
R2M 0V1
Tel: 204-233-4163
Fax: 204-237-3773
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Diana with a Talking DrumBiography

Described on Bravo TV News as a national treasure, Diana McIntosh has a very active career as a distinctive, original, witty, and innovative composer/pianist/performance artist. She has a dynamic stage presence, and has performed throughout Canada, widely in the USA, and in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Portugal and in October, 2002, she gave 3 performances in Nairobi, Kenya.

In recent years she has attained a high profile for her one- woman, inter-disciplinary creations, in which she has explored singular ways of working with voiced texts in a theatrical relationship with music. As well as her own original texts, she also uses texts of well-known authors (Diane Ackerman, Gertrude Stein, Beryl Markham, Jon Whyte, Joy Harjo, Liliane Welch, and others). Her eclectic style ranges from the evocative and provocative to eccentric humour. Her repertoire also includes many works of other composers, particularly, though by no means exclusively, those of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Among her commissions for new music are works for orchestra, chamber  ensemble, choral, vocal and instrumental soloists, dance, mime, electronic tape, and theatrically oriented music. Two of her best known orchestral works - 9 Foot Clearance (for piano and orchestra), and Through the Valley: Milgaard (for pianist/narrator and orchestra), both commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for its New Music Festivals, have received standing ovations for all her performances.  McIntosh was guest soloist for the premiere performance of both these works and she has been billed by the WSO as a "Festival Favourite". She has been the subject of several TV profiles on CBC and Bravo. 9 Foot Clearance was chosen for the imposed work in the Canadian Concerto Competition of the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, for their March 2002 competition.

McIntosh has been at the forefront of contemporary music in Winnipeg for over 20 years. In 1978 she, together with Canadian composer Ann Southam, organized Music Inter Alia, western Canada's first contemporary music series, and was its Artistic Director for 14 years, until it joined with Thira and IzMusic to create GroundSwell, of which she is a co-artistic director and, currently, President. She was for many years Composer-in-Residence for the Faculty of Music, University of Manitoba.

Diana as Beryl Markham, atop control tower Old Warden aerodrom, England Diana McIntosh is probably the only composer/performer who has performed in the cargo bay of a Bristol Freighter aeroplane (at the Western Canada Aviation Museum); on top of an airport control tower - per photo - (at Old Warden Aerodrome, England); in the Royal Canadian Mint, (Winnipeg Branch); in the Scottish National Aviation Museum (East Lothian, Scotland); in The Canadian Aviation Museum (Ottawa); in The Aero Club of East Africa, and the Karen and Muthaiga Clubs (in Nairobi, Kenya); as well as at the Copall Equestrian Centre (in Winnipeg).

McIntosh is well known for her creative imagination and originality, and she has written several works of unusual instrumentation, such as , Four on the Floor, for 4 pianos, 3 brass and 2 percussion, with creative coloured lighting, (this work was commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for its New Music festival), several works for toy piano and mouth percussion, and a work for food processor and spoken text.

Diana McIntosh  is high-profile Canadian musician with a long history  in performance and composition. She is outstandinglyoriginal and innovative. She has excelled in a unique multi-faceted career as a composer, pianist, performance artist and founder and artistic director of new music concerts. She has given numerous solo concerts, and still tours regularly, throughout Canada, the USA, Britain, Ireland, in France and Portugal, and in 2002 a did a 3-concert tour in Kenya, Africa.

She has been commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, CBC Radio, The Roseberry Orchestra (London, England), New York New Music Ensemble, Rivka Golani, Patricia Spenser, Beverley Johnston, Victor Schultz, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and many others. She has been twice commissioned by choreographer Rachel Browne to write music for Contemporary Dancers. In one of them, Dream Rite (1993), McIntosh performed her music live, on stage with the dancers, using her voice, percussion and electronics. She toured with the company to other cities, including Toronto - review attached.


In 1972, upon graduation from the School of Music, University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Music (performance), she was asked by the Continuing Education Dept. of the University to give weekly courses on music appreciation. She did so for 7 years, and her classes were multimedia events, McIntosh often performing the music as soloist or in chamber ensembles, and relating music, visual art, dance and theatre. Several of the courses were devoted to Canadian composers. The attendees became the nucleus of future new music concert audiences.

Placing an ice screwUpon moving from Calgary to Winnipeg about 40 years ago, McIntosh began to give, and still gives, free house concerts for up to 50 people, in her home.  Originally these were solo concerts of her own performing, but later they developed into chamber concerts which were mainly of contemporary music, particularly Canadian. The other musicians were singers and instrumentalists, most of whom have become prominent in their fields with universities and symphony orchestras. The programs were in the form of lecture concerts. One of these house concerts was recorded for broadcast on CBC's "Sunday Morning" radio broadcast.

These concerts opened the way for McIntosh to give public concerts, and, together with her friend Ann Southam, (whom she met at summer sessions at The Banff Centre, in master classes with Boris Roubakine), she founded Music Inter Alia in 1977. It was the first Western Canadian new music series, and as its name implies, it featured mixed media, and as well as presenting the 20th century's classics, it promoted Canadian music in particular. During its 14 years, 42 new works were commissioned from Canadian composers, across the country, through The Canada Council and the Manitoba Arts Council. During that period a total of 286 contemporary music works were performed on Music Inter Alia programs, and of these,  188 (66%) were Canadian.

A great many of the Music Inter Alia concerts were recorded by CBC and broadcast nationally on "Two New Hours". In 1981 Music Inter Alia began an annual competition for emerging composers in Manitoba, with a $500.00 prize, a critique by a Canadian composer, and a performance of the winning work. In 1992 Music Inter Alia joined with two smaller groups to form GroundSwell, Winnipeg's current new music series, and McIntosh is one of its Co-Artistic Directors, and is at present its President. She performs regularly on these concerts, both as a soloist and in ensembles.

In the early 1980s Chris Hurley of The Manitoba Puppet Theatre commissioned McIntosh to create music on tape for his puppet creation Kiviuq, an authentic Inuit legend. This show was toured widely, and when performed for the Inuit in Northern Manitoba, they told Hurley that, "the music brought their legend to life". In 1985, CBC Radio commissioned McIntosh to write a chamber music work, and she used the same Kiviuq legend and titled her work, Kiviuq - An Inuit Legend.

In 1986 McIntosh was Composer-in-Residence at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario. She gave a concert, workshops and a discussion for the audience with Lister Sinclair, about the creative process.

McIntosh has performed solo concerts, and as a soloist with the orchestra, in most of the WSO New Music Concerts. To date, the Festival has commissioned three works from her, and she performed in all of them - 9 Foot Clearance (piano concerto), Four On The Floor (4 pianos, 3 brass and percussion), and Through the Valley: Milgaard (pianist/narrator with orchestra on the David Milgaard story) (flyer attached.) She has since performed the Milgaard with the Regina and Saskatoon orchestras. All three performances of this work received standing ovations. 9 Foot Clearance was chosen by the Orchestre symphonique de Québec for its imposed Canadian concerto on its festival in March 2002.

Performing her "Bondar" show McIntosh has given 8 concerts in New York City. One of these was as a guest pianist playing a work which was commissioned by New York flutist Patricia Spencer. She and McIntosh performed the work, Luminaries for flute and piano in Carnegie Recital Hall, New York. Her other New York concerts were mostly solo concerts in Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, The Knitting factory and Carnegie Recital Hall (now called Kurt Weill Hall). Reviews attached. In 1997 McIntosh did a 13 solo concert tour of Toronto, Ottawa and 11 places in the Maritimes. (Halifax review attached.)

In 1982 she won the Woman of the Year in the Arts award, in Manitoba. And in 2003 she was featured on the Women With Vision series, in Winnipeg, in which she gave an illustrated talk about her career as a composer/performer. She has received two major arts grants and many other grants from the Manitoba Arts Council, and several from The Canada Council, including two Exploration grants. Enclosed is a more detailed list of Awards, Residencies and Publications.

CBC - TV and Bravo TV have each done profiles on McIntosh, as a performer/composer. Bravo referred to her as a "national treasure". These profiles may be viewed on her website - www.dianamcintosh.com. She has been heard on numerous CBC radio broadcasts over many years, both locally and nationally (Two New Hours), and in some cases wrote the script. In a program called Music to See, on CBC-TV, McIntosh was the featured pianist and wrote the script for a program that featured the relationship between music and painting. She commissioned several Manitoba artists, including Robert Bruce and Don Reichert to paint a picture to express a specific piece of music she performed on the program.

She has given many creative workshops in places such as Mount Allison University; Queen's University; University of Manitoba; University of Nevada, in Reno; University of Texas, at Austin; Conservatory of Music in Guimaraes, Portugal as well as in many schools in Manitoba and in the USA.

She has three commercial CDs of her own music, The Original McIntosh, Another Byte of McIntosh and Pinnacles. Diana also has a professional video Serious Fun with McIntosh which was telecast on CBC. She is also included in a video presentation of the Banff  Centre, called "Angles of Incidence". Many of her works are on CDs of other artists, including Rivka Golani, and Christina Petrowska and on CDs of the Canadian Electronic Community.

Diana McIntosh has served on juries for the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canadian Music Centre. She has served on the Board of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, representing Manitoba.

In 2011, WSO conductor , Alexander Mickelthwate commissioned McIntosh to write a one-woman theatrical work for the WSO New Music Festival. McIntosh premiered the piece,` You, Me and the Tree`.

Her most recent commissions are  `On The Far Side Of Mars`  for bass flute and piano interior , commissioned  by the Australian low flute specialist, Peter Sheridan;     `Gatheringfour ` for string quartet commissioned by the Penderecki Quartet    and `Patterns` for spoken text , bassoon and tape .