Among this year’s new appointments to the Order of Canada was Schulich School of Music’s Professor alcides lanza. lanza was named as a Member of the Order of Canada for his “decades-long contributions to the contemporary music scene and for championing Canadian music here and abroad”. Renowned composer, conductor and pianist specializing in avant-garde repertoire, lanza was a Professor of Composition at McGill University from 1971 to 2014, as well as the director of the Electronic Music Studio at McGill from 1974 to 2003.
While congratulating lanza for this outstanding recognition, Professor Sean Ferguson, current co-director of the Digital Composition Studio, described the profound impact that lanza has had on Schulich: “This honour is indeed richly deserved. alcides lanza is a pioneer in the field of electronic music whose activities as a composer, performer, pedagogue and concert presenter have had – and will continue to have – a lasting impact on the development of contemporary music at McGill, in Canada and internationally.” Pamela Jones (BMus ’75), author of lanza’s official biography alcides lanza: portrait of a composer, added that “alcides lanza richly deserves to become a Member of the Order of Canada. He has already been the recipient of several prestigious awards including a lifetime achievement award from the Organization of American States (1996) and the Tomas Luis de Victoria prize from Spain (2015). It is fitting that it is now Canada's turn to recognize his achievements: his outstanding compositions, his tireless promotion of the music of the Americas, and his insightful teaching of generations of students. All of us who are privileged to know him -- both students and colleagues alike -- have come to appreciate his profound humanity, and his seemingly limitless contributions to the tapestry of Canada's musical landscape.”
lanza’s impressive career began in 1965, when he received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and moved to New York to work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Centre. He lived there until 1971, when was appointed Professor of Composition at McGill University and moved to Montreal.
Among his most impressive achievements, lanza performed two Piano marathons at Schulich’s Pollack Hall, in 1987 and 1992. The latter featured lanza performing for five hours — non-stop — and included 48 different pieces for piano, electronics, and film. lanza has done innumerable radio and television concerts, several LP recordings and compact discs, and has organized contemporary music forums and events.
Throughout his career, alcides lanza has received many awards and recognitions for his work. In 1996 the Organization of American States and the InterAmerican Music Council gave him an Honor Diploma with Distinction for his dedication to the promotion of the Music of the Three Americas. In 2003 the Canada Council for the Arts gave him the Victor Martyn Lynch Staunton Award in recognition of his outstanding career as a composer. In 2007 the Concejo Deliberante (City Council) of Rosario, Argentina, designated lanza as "ARTISTA DISTINGUIDO" (distinguished artist), honouring him with a diploma and a medal. Finally, in 2015, the SGAE Foundation (Spain) awarded lanza the Tomás Luis de Victoria Prize recognizing his outstanding contribution as a composer and for his remarkable promotion of the music from Ibero-America.