CONTACT: Julie Prescott (604) 990-5185


VANCOUVER, BC &endash; The whisper and roar of fire will consume the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, November 28 at 2:00 p.m., when Vancouver-raised composer Sean Varah returns to strike the match on his original composition Burning, by the CBC Vancouver Orchestra.

Inspired by the image of a burning fire and written with young players in mind, Burning premiered in Carnegie Hall, in December 1993, commissioned and performed by the New York Youth Symphony. At the time, Varah was 24 years old. In 1997, Burning was broadcast live in the final round of the CBC's Young Composers Competition, performed by the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Mario Bernardi and awarded the National Arts Centre People's Choice Award.

Pushing the envelope of modern classical music, Varah composes purely instrumental works and those that combine technology with orchestral instruments. To accomplish his abstract sound mosaics, he combines 1960's analog tape technique, modern synthesizer technology and live classical musicians to create sounds in much the same way an abstract painter creates images on a canvas.

His knowledge of computers enables him to support his composing as an e-commerce strategic advisor for a large Silicon Valley company. At one point, he moonlit as a "computer consultant to the rich and famous", teaching such luminaries as Kathleen Turner, Liam Neeson and Edgar Bronfmann Jr.

His recent work Outside the Box, which premiered at the 1998 "Made in Canada Festival," will be featured in an upcoming performance by the New Millennium Ensemble, Merkin Hall, NY, December 12, 1999. In April 1998, Shauna Rolston commissioned and premiered Borderline, a work for tape and cello. Recent awards include an orchestral commission from the Canada Council, commissions from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard, the CBC and the Empyrean Ensemble.

A composer and cellist, Varah was raised in Vancouver. A graduate of Stanford University, he received his Doctorate of Musical Arts at Columbia University, where he studied with Mario Davidosky. In 1994, he designed and constructed the Harvard Computer Music Center, serving as its Associate Director and Lecturer in Music until 1997. He is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University and lives and composes in San Francisco.

Varah's composition is one of five featured at CBC's Tailored for Travel Concert Series. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations (604) 280-3311.

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Media contact: Julie Prescott