Traditional but Eclectic

Elizabeth Raum is considered to be one of Canada’s most well-known composers, regardless of her slightly unconventional road to composition. While Raum dabbled in composition from an early age, her primary focus was for a long time on her career as an orchestral oboist. After holding the Principal Oboe position in the Atlantic Symphony for some time, the arrival of her third child prompted Raum to put aside her busy performing career, leaving her the time to compose. It wasn’t until the age of 38 that Raum formally studied composition with Thomas Schudel at the University of Regina, where she was awarded a Master of Music in composition.

Raum describes her compositional style as “very traditional but eclectic,” with a major focus on being audience-friendly and accessible. While many composers of accessible music are often criticised for their avoidance of the avant-garde, Raum is unabashedly proud of her accessibility, and unconcerned by the notion that it is perceived as something that “cheapens” a composer’s work. Her compositions have ranged over several styles including avant-garde, but her love of Romantic and folk music anchors her to the more Neo-Romantic style. Raum’s music is tonal, tuneful and often programmatic, and covers several genres from band, to opera and film music.

Similarly to Kats-Chernin's Colours of the Sea, Cinderella Suite was commissioned by the Meininger Trio, and first performed at the International Bodensee-Festival in Germany. The piece was originally written in 1996 for violin, cello and piano, but was later arranged for flute. An example of Raum’s programmatic works, Cinderella Suite depicts the classic fairy tale in musical form. The composer has managed to capture the magic of the story with cleverly written effects in the ensemble, and uses striking themes to portray the characters and their personalities.