Home 9 Composers 9 Stewart Wilkinson

Stewart Wilkinson received his BA and BEd (music majors) from the University of Saskatchewan, and his MMus (choral conducting) from the University of Regina.

As chair of the Fine Arts Department at Campbell Collegiate, Regina, his choirs enjoyed international acclaim, with workshops and performances in Seoul, South Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the International Jazz Educators Association conference in San Antonio, Texas, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

In the fall of 1999 Stewart moved to Austin, Texas, where he served for twelve years as choral director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. While there, he organized performance tours to New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Banff, Taiwan, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, and China.

Personal honors include the first-ever Downbeat Magazine Award for excellence in music education in 1990, the Saskatchewan Choral Federation’s 1992 Pro Musica Award, and the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association’s 1993 Outstanding Achievement Award. In 2004 Stewart received an award of merit from the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors in recognition of his 25 years of service to choral music in Canada.

Upon retiring from teaching, Stewart served for two years as the director of the newly established Saskatchewan Youth Choir. In addition to composing, he remains active as an adjudicator and choral clinician. 


Autumn's Orchestra

by Stewart Wilkinson

SATB a cappella – CP 1851 – duration 5:25
E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913), the author of the text of “Autumn’s Orchestra” was born on the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, Ontario, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an English immigrant mother. As a sickly child, she was schooled at home rather than in a residential school, and her parents encouraged respect for both English and Mohawk traditions. She related strongly to her native heritage, and her earliest poems celebrated that cultural connection.

Although rather shy by nature, she was encouraged to give readings of her poems. As her fame grew these readings extended to cities in the United States and Great Britain. During one of these excursions she met and apparently fell in love with an English musician. “Autumn’s Orchestra” expresses her longing for his “haunting violin”, while at the same time describing her own “orchestra” – that of nature and the sounds of the wind blowing through the trees.

House Upon the Hill

by Stewart Wilkinson

SATB a cappella – CP 2283 – duration 3:50
David French was a highly successful and well respected Canadian playwright. Born in Newfoundland, his family moved to Toronto when he was still a young boy. The reading of “Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain sparked an interest in storytelling. He first trained as an actor, achieving many significant roles, but his attention turned to writing plays. Several of his works, including “Leaving Home”, “Salt-Water Moon”, and “Of the Fields, Lately” enjoyed frequent performances throughout Canada.

David French was the flrst inductee in the Newfoundland Arts Hall of Honour. In addition, he received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Harold (a Toronto theatre peer award). In 200I he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

“House Upon the Hill” conjures images of the abandoned farmhouses we so often see when driving across the countryside. What stories might those houses tell?

I Dream a World

by Stewart Wilkinson

SATB a cappella – CP 2291 – duration 3:30

Inspired by the energy, scope, and purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide, I searched for a text that would honour the struggle, but at the same time offer hope. I found that balance in “l Dream a World” by the African-American poet, James Langston Hughes (1902-1967).
The intentional deceptive cadence near the end of the piece is meant to symbolize the deception, broken prornises, and racial injustices that exist to this day. But throughout the piece, there is an undercurrent of hope in the civil rights anthem of the 1960s, “We Shall Overcome”. Originally a work song sung by African-American slaves, it is best known in the folk song version by Pete Seeger (only recently added to the public domain). This message of hope grows in intensity throughout the piece, reflecting optimism that the world is at a moment of real change.

The Lord's Prayer

by Stewart Wilkinson

SSA with piano – CP 1850 – duration 2:00
The beautiful and profound prayer attributed to Christ is uttered thousands of times each day around the world. It’s been said that “singing once is like praying twice”. Stewart has composed the perfect setting – a shiny golden nugget of melody and harmony – approachable in sweet-spot vocal registers.

There is Sweet Music Here

by Stewart Wilkinson
text: Lord Alfred Tennyson

SAATB with piano – CP 2086 – duration 2:45
There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;

Music When Soft Voices Die

by Stewart Wilkinson
text: Percy Bysshe Shelley

SAATB with piano – CP 2087 – duration 1:45
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved’s bed;
And so my thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.