Andrew Ager

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Andrew Ager
Andrew Ager.jpg
Born12 February 1962 Edit this on Wikidata (age 57)

Andrew Ager (born February 12, 1962) is a Canadian composer of symphonies, operas, chamber, and solo music. He lives in Ottawa, where he composes full-time.

Early life[edit]

Andrew Ager was born to a musical family. His maternal grandfather, Charles Aharan, was a professional musician during the early part of his life, and his parents and sisters all played piano. Ager commenced piano studies as a child and began composing seriously around age fourteen. He did not study music at school, but was an avid private piano and theory student in suburban Ottawa, winning several Ottawa Music Festival classes as a teenager. When he was fifteen the family moved to Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, where Ager dropped out of school a year later and spent much time in a studio on their property studying music and literature on his own.


In the 1990s Ager began to write for larger ensembles and received numerous commissions while living in Halifax and Toronto. He felt that he had waited a certain period of time before doing this in order to "get it right" in terms of technique and structure.[citation needed] He was especially busy as a freelance pianist and composer in Toronto from 1993-2010, writing for many of Toronto's best known ensembles, such as the Elmer Iseler Singers, The Hannaford Street Silver Band, Talisker Players, and the Penderecki Quartet.


In 2010 Ager moved to a rural address in Quebec near Ottawa where he was able to compose without distraction and attend concerts in the city. During this time he was Composer-in-Residence for various ensembles in Albuquerque, Sulmona (Italy), and Ottawa and had his music performed in Berlin, Venice, Monte Carlo, Paris, and New York City, as well as locally. At present he lives in Rockcliffe, Ottawa, and is writing a full-scale grand opera based on a prominent American crime family.



Ager's first opera "Frankenstein"
Victor Frankenstein with Creature

Ager's first opera "Frankenstein" was produced in Toronto in 2010 by Tryptych, and received excellent reviews such as "Ager's music is so evocative that it should be half again as long, lush yet propulsive". In 2013 the Center for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) mounted his new work "The Wings of the Dove", based on Henry James' novel. This performance took place at Toronto's Heliconian Hall in a production by Michael Albano.

Frankenstein's Creature in Ager's opera


In 2014, Ager's comic opera "Casanova" was premiered by Ottawa's "Seventeen Voyces", directed by Kevin Reeves, and was produced again in Toronto by COSI the same year.


His next opera "Führerbunker" had its premier in 2015 in Kitchener, as a co-production with the Waterloo Centre for German Studies. The work then received several productions by COSI in Toronto. This work, regarded as controversial in terms of its subject matter, is a depiction of the fall of Berlin in 1945. Described as a "morbid historical drama", the opera shows the decline and suicide of Adolf Hitler amidst the crumbling surroundings of his underground bunker, in the company of Eva Braun and the remaining staff as Berlin fell to the Soviet armed forces. Ager was advised against writing it - but he has succeeded in creating a stage work that unsympathetically shows the human end of an evil historical figure. "Führerbunker" was produced again in Ottawa in 2016 at the Mayfair Theatre, to much acclaim and discussion.

"Führerbunker" promotional poster

The Unknown Soldier[edit]

In April 2017, Ager conducted a multi-media performance of his work "The Unknown Soldier" at the Canadian War Museum. The work was adapted and re-orchestrated for the event, which was a commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. It includes texts by Canadian, French, British, and German soldiers.

Upcoming Work[edit]

In November 2018, Ager will be the guest conductor of the Ottawa Cantata Singers at a gala concert marking the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice. This event will be held at the Canadian War Museum and feature Ager's own work for orchestra and choir "The Eleventh Hour".


Recent premieres (2010-2018) include

  • The Talk of the Town, Toronto Symphony Commission, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [1]
  • Frankenstein, Op.40 (full opera) Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 41 Albuquerque, USA
  • Symphony no.1, Op.44 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Ovid Songs (tenor and piano), Op. 43 Sulmona, Italy
  • Un Amore Doloroso (soprano and piano), Op.42 Venice, Italy
  • "Suite from The Wings of the Dove, Op.47 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • The Wings of the Dove(chamber opera), Op. 45 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Casanova (chamber opera), Op.49 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Divertimento for Horn and Orchestra, Op. 51 (version for horn and organ) Goerlitz, Germany
  • Führerbunker (chamber opera), Op. 52 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Divertimento for Piano Quartet, Op. 53 Barrie, Canada.
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, New York, 2014, composer as soloist, Justin Bischof, conductor.
  • The Unknown Soldier, Ottawa, Canadian War Museum, for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, conducted by the composer.


External links[edit]