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Allan Gilliland

Date of birth10 May 1965
OccupationArranger, Composer, Teacher
CategoriesContemporary, Jazz

One of Canada’s busiest composers, Allan Gilliland was born in Darvel, Scotland in 1965 and immigrated to Canada in 1972. Based in Edmonton (Alberta), he has written music for solo instruments, orchestra, choir, brass quintet, wind ensemble, big band, film, television and theatre. His music has been performed, recorded and broadcast by ensembles around the world including: the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Canadian Brass, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Camerata Romeau(Havana) Pro Coro Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Hammerhead Consort, Rochester Philharmonic, Zapp String Quartet, Edinburgh String Quartet and the brass section of the New York Philharmonic. Some of the soloists who have performed his music include James Campbell, Jens Lindemann, John Pattituci, William Eddins, Nora Bumanis and Julia Shaw, Gwen Hoebig, Dave Young, Marc Rodgers, Phil Nimmons and Martin Riseley.

For five years (1999-2004) he was Composer-in-Residence with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, writing 11 works for the ESO including concerti for violin, trumpet, two harps, and clarinet. He has also been Composer-in-Residence at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound and the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie, Ontario. Other highlights include; The Winspear Fanfare composed for the opening of the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, An Overture for the Worlds commissioned for the opening ceremonies of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Dreaming of the Masters I, a jazz concerto written for clarinetist James Campbell in 2004 and given it's American premiere by the Boston Pops, the 1-act opera Hannaraptor, Dreaming of the Masters II Rhapsody GEB, a piano concerto written for William Eddins and the musicals The Seventh Circle and Dead Beats. In 2006 he was one of a handful of composers asked to participate in the ASCAP/Buddy Baker Film Scoring Workshop at New York University and in 2002 his orchestral work On the Shoulders of Giants took First Prize at the prestigious Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Centara New Music Festival Composers Competition. Allan has also won composition contests sponsored by Pro Coro Canada and the Alberta Band Association as well as First Place in the Jean Coulthard Competition for Composers and the Lydia Pals Composers Competition.

As an arranger, he has written hundreds of charts for almost every combination of instruments including three full “pops” shows for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Though no longer active, Allan was also a busy freelance trumpet player. He was a regular member of the Tommy Banks Big Band, co-led The Creative Opportunity Orchestra (CO2) and Inside Track and performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Opera, Citadel Theatre and Capital Brass.

He holds a diploma in Jazz Studies (trumpet) from Humber College, a Bachelor of Music degree in performance and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Alberta and is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition from the University of Edinburgh. His teachers include Violet Archer, Howard Bashaw, Malcolm Forsyth and Nigel Osborne. Allan has taught at the University of Alberta, the University of Edinburgh and Red Deer College and is presently Head of Composition at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta where he lives with his wife and two children.

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