The Trent community is saddened to learn of the passing of honorary degree recipient, renowned composer, writer and acoustic ecologist Murray Schafer.
Dr. Schafer was a pioneer in the area of international sound research and was celebrated throughout his career for his innovative approach to musical composition, often incorporating the natural environment. Dr. Schafer was honoured for his work with the inaugural Glenn Gould Award, two Juno Awards, and was named as a companion of the Order of Canada in 2013. In 1989 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Trent University in recognition of his lasting contribution to the arts.
Below is an excerpt from Dr. Schafer’s obituary notice:
“Lauded in many circles of the arts and academia, the Glenn Gould Prize winner's approach to music combined less conventional forms of theory and environmental studies into sprawling and complex works. Some of his theatre pieces were performed in vast outdoor spaces, incorporating the sounds of nature, with the intention to transport audiences as well as challenge them. The approach made Schafer hard to define as an artist but widely praised nonetheless… It was at the university where he secured grants to establish the World Soundscape Project, a study of acoustic ecology or the connection between humans and sound in their environments. His fascination with the topic defined years of his work as he explored the effects of noise on people, particularly in urban settings, earning himself the title of "father of acoustic ecology."
The University extends heartfelt sympathies to Dr. Schafer’s family and friends.