Jennifer Butler (b. 1976) is a composer and flutist living in Vancouver, BC.
Her music, described as “beautifully remote” (Vancouver Sun), “intimate” (Globe and Mail), and “disquieting” (Vancouver Observer), has been commissioned, performed, and broadcast across Canada, in the United States, Australia, and Europe. She loves working with quiet and fragile sounds, but will often juxtapose these with loud, forceful outbursts of sound. Silence, organic change, layered textures, and holding and releasing tension are important qualities in many of her compositions.
Jennifer has been commissioned and performed by outstanding artists such as Continuum Contemporary Music (Toronto), The Victoria Symphony, the Western Front (Vancouver), Redshift (Vancouver), the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, Bradyworks (Montreal), the Emily Carr String Quartet (Victoria), the Turning Point Ensemble (Vancouver), Nu:BC (Vancouver), and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Recent projects include: Songs for Klee Wyck, commissioned by Victoria’s Emily Carr String Quartet; Four Horses, a song cycle written with Peter Anderson for Mark McGregor, Dory Hayley and Adrian Verdejo; The Stars Have Closed Their Eyes, commissioned by Bradyworks; held in the hand, commissioned by the Vancouver Inter-cultural Orchestra; Stolen Materials Stolen Time, commissioned by Standing Wave; The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls, commissioned by Vancouver New Music; Under Bleak Skies, commissioned by Redshift for Aventa at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre; and Unvanishing, a collaboration with video artist Terry Billings and the Saskatoon Symphony.
In 2010 Rachel Iwassa released Cosmophony, a large project that brings together the work of eleven Canadian composers writing about the cosmos, including Jennifer’s piece Neptune. In 2009 Mark McGregor released his new recording Different Stones, which features Jennifer’s work Sky and in 2007 Vancouver duo Tiresias recorded For Dreams of Things that Cannot Be on their CD Delicate Fires, which was nominated in 2008 for a West Coast Music Award.
As both a composer and a performer, Jennifer Butler often collaborates with other artists on multi-disciplinary projects. Since 2002 she has been collaborating with CURV, an experimental interdisciplinary ensemble with composer-performers Kristy Farkas and Marci Rabe. In April 2007, CURV was commissioned by Continuum Contemporary Music (Toronto) to create and perform 20 Silent Words, an hour-long piece incorporating sound, text, movement and image. One of her major artistic influences has been her long term participation, as composer and performer, in R. Murray Schafer’s annual interdisciplinary project And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon.
Jennifer was the President of the council for the Canadian League of Composers from 2011-14 , and currently sits on boards for Vancouver’s Redshift and Standing Wave, and the Canadian New Music Network (CNMN). She is also on the Advisory Council for the Canadian Music Centre, BC region.
Jennifer completed a DMA (2009) in composition and a Master’s degree (2002) at the University of British Columbia. She completed her Bachelor’s degree (1999) in composition at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON.
Her principle composition teachers include: Glenn Buhr, Peter Hatch, Omar Daniel, Keith Hamel and Brent Lee.