Steven Naylor continues to re-invent himself artistically, striving to incorporate the best of his past work into the new.
In the 1970s, he was a co-founder of the celebrated recording bands Lougarou (later Garolou) in Québec and RAM in Nova Scotia, exploring music stretching from francophone folklore to jazz-rock fusion.
Building on that diversity, he next embraced the eclectic demands of music for film, television, radio, and theatre, composing and producing dozens of scores, themes, and sound tracks over the next 20 years.
With commissions from CBC, NFB, Parks Canada, and many independent producers—and projects ranging from The Nature of Things, to Sesame Street, to installations in Canada’s National Parks—his media work incorporated an increasingly broad spectrum of musical and sonic elements, laying the foundation for an ongoing deep interest in electroacoustic music.
In parallel, and as a welcome counterbalance to the solitary precision of the studio, in 1990 Steven co-founded Nova Scotia’s Upstream—an ensemble and organisation focused on improvisation in instrumental music.
He spent more than a decade composing for and performing with the group, in configurations that included collaborations with Symphony Nova Scotia and with major international guest artists. Steven also produced Upstream’s first CD, and served periodically on its Board of Directors, and as a co-Artistic Director.
As a professional pianist, Naylor also performed with the Canadian ‘avant jazz’ ensemble, The Paul Cram Orchestra at major jazz festivals, including Jazz em Agosto in Portugal, where the group recorded its second CD, Live in Lisbon.
In 1994, Steven began teaching (part-time) at Dalhousie University, where he also developed a new curriculum in electroacoustic music. He left Dalhousie in 2001, to concentrate again on his personal work, and to complete the PhD in composition, supervised by Jonty Harrison at the University of Birmingham, UK.
In addition to his work as a composer, performer, and teacher, he has also been regularly involved with research and support activities related to electroacoustic music, including co-production of the Oscillations Festival (2003-2012); a term as President of Canada’s national electroacoustic music association, the Canadian Electroacoustic Community; and collaborating on related research activities at Acadia University.
He continues to pursue a diverse range of activities. Some current highlights include:
- Founder and artistic director of subText, a flexible ensemble and organisation that blends improvised and through-composed music, incorporating both instrumental and electroacoustic resources.
- Independent composer of instrumental, mixed-media, and electroacoustic works; associate composer, Canadian Music Centre.
- Adjunct Professor and affiliated researcher in the Acadia University School of Music.
- Principal composer and artistic advisor for Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, a company that produces sophisticated multi-lingual international theatre for young audiences. Steven’s scores for Mermaid have now played to live audiences of over 6 million, in fifteen countries.
- Author of articles, essays, and conference papers on digital arts, technology and society.
Steven Naylor is married to Pamela Ritchie, an award-winning visual artist and former professor at NSCAD University in Halifax. They have two daughters, and live near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
For more information on Steven’s background, please see his 2010 interview with Kevin Austin in eContact 14.3 (Canadian Electroacoustic Community)