Ana Sokolović: Imagining Music as Colours

Artist-in-residence generously sponsored by The Rossy Foundation

Drawn to artistic expression from early childhood, Ana Sokolović had already begun taking ballet classes at the age four, before training in theatre and ultimately, music. She began her studies in piano and embraced composition from the age of 16. Fleeing the political upheavals of former Yugoslavia, she settled in Montreal in 1992, completing her master’s in composition at the Université de Montréal under José Evangelista.

Her career quickly took off in Montreal. Beginning in 1995, her piece Ambient V was included in a program presented by the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ); she subsequently composed Cinq locomotives et quelques animaux for the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+). She went on to receive commissions from several sources: the Molinari Quartet, the Montreal Baroque Orchestra, the Pentaèdre wind quintet, among many others. Oro was her first OSM commission in 2001 and premiered at the Théâtre Maisonneuve under the direction of Charles Dutoit. The Orchestra performed her music the following year for the Montreal International Musical Competition and in 2007, commissioned a new work, the Concerto for Orchestra, performed on multiple occasions by the OSM under Kent Nagano during a Canadian tour. Ana Sokolović’s repertoire had, by this time, also been performed outside Quebec via commissions from the Esprit Orchestra (1999), the Soundstreams company (2001) and the Arraymusic ensemble (2002), in addition to the Toronto-based Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, for which she wrote three operas. The first of these, The Midnight Court (2005) was performed at the Royal Opera House in London.

Ana Sokolović never fails to reach her audience and captivate her listeners with music imbued with Balkan folk rhythms, adorned with scintillating colours, and evocative of playful images. In April 2012, just as the Homage Series dedicated to her by the SMCQ was coming to a close, the Quebec Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, Christine St-Pierre, declared Ana Sokolović a “national treasure,” an accolade that followed several others and preceded the Serge-Garant Award in 2015 from the Fondation Émile-Nelligan. A Juno Award winner in the category Classical Composition of the Year in Canada in both 2019 and 2020, in August 2020 Ana Sokolović was signed to the prestigious roster of Boosey & Hawkes, the international music publisher.

Réjean Beaucage