Composer • Conductor • Flute
• Born 1954
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Owen Underhill is a composer, conductor, and professor of composition in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied composition with Rudolf Komorous at the University of Victoria, graduating with distinction in 1975. During 1973 - 1975 he also was an active flautist, performing with The Composer's Group. He then did his master's degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, studying with Bülent Arel. From 1976 to 1981 he was visiting composer at Wilfred Laurier University's Faculty of Music. In 1981, Underhill became a music instructor for the Centre for the Arts at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Throughout the 1990s he conducted the Vancouver New Music Society as well as composed. His music has been performed widely throughout Canada and Australia, and is also frequently part of interdisciplinary art presentations. Underhill is an eagerly sought-after collaborator, both as a composer and conductor of unflagging professionalism. However, his catalog demonstrates an affinity for chamber music. It is not a particularly large output, but most of his music has proven durable. The music demonstrates much of the splendid, exuberant humanism heard frequently among the best students of Komorous. It frequently generates fascinating atmospheres through the manipulation of materials that are not especially radical but communicative and edifying for both casual listeners and the strident lovers of the avant-garde. His command of orchestration is particularly attractive and fascinating.