David Grimes

David Grimes


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Unlike most, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew
up - an “inventor” of music. Coming from a musical family, sound, organized or
otherwise, was something that was always around me. Both of my mother’s parents
were classical piano teachers and my father’s brother was a professional
cocktail/big band pianist. 
Interestingly and maybe even sadly, I never sought nor was given piano
lessons. This did not prevent me from exploring what sounds could be coaxed
from the two grand and one upright pianos that were in the house.

Outside the home there were two incredibly powerful
experiences that have had a lasting influence on my sense of what music should
or could be. The first was hearing the Nuns at Notre Dame Novitiate sing
Gregorian chant at the many masses I served as an alter boy in Ipswich, MA. The
second was a quite different experience: standing in front of Stan Kenton’s big
band (the one with the mellophoniums) at some ballroom in Lowell and being
smacked in the face by more sound than I thought was possible to generate.

For some reason my parents didn’t want me to study music,
thinking that this was not a wise career choice. I was stubborn, they relented,
and I attended the Berklee College of Music, majoring in Arranging and Composition.
From there I went to the University of Toronto, which boasted the second oldest
electronic music studio in North America (the oldest being at Columbia
University), and received a graduate degree in composition.

I was a founding member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble.
I taught at Berklee and Northeastern University. I hosted a contemporary music
program on CBC Radio called Two New Hours.
My music was awarded a number of prizes, including “Best Broadcast of Canadian
Music” for a piece called “Ecce Lignum Crucis”, which was a setting of the
Easter liturgy for voices, orchestra, and electronics.

The influences of my youth have never left me and have only
become stronger. Music for me has always been about some vague mystical,
spiritual quality that is balanced by secular, corporeal, and dissonant
elements that join together to form a complete, though never completely
accurate picture of what is human emotion. Music is and always has been about
emotion, especially those emotions that cannot be easily put into words. If it
were possible to express these myriad emotions with words, I suppose I might
have always wanted to grow up to be a poet.
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