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Theo Goldberg (1921 – 2012)

Theo Goldberg (1921 – 2012)

March 22, 2012
British Columbia

CMC Associate Composer Dr. Theo Goldberg passed away on February 18, 2012. A true pioneer in the field of electronic music, computer music and multimedia, his loss is keenly felt by the Canadian and international music communities. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Ursula, in 2007. Theo is survived by his daughter Patricia (Frank), his grandsons Peter (Tracey) and Matthew (Delia), and his great-grandchildren Justice, Carleigh, Riley and Maya.

Born in Chemnitz, Germany, Theo studied composition with Boris Blacher at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik. Until his emigration to Canada in 1954, he worked as a freelance composer for radio, television, stage and the political cabaret in Berlin where he performed with jazz greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. Theo has over 120 orchestral, operatic, musical theatre and radio play scores to his credit. Several of his compositions were performed both on stage and radio by the Berlin Philharmonic.

In Canada, he began his teaching career at Lord Strathcona Elementary, where his musical theatre works with students were performed regularly in Vancouver. Theo acquired his Master's Degree from Washington State in 1967 and his Doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1970. In 1970, Theo joined the Vancouver Academy of Music and the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Education, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, where he shaped many of the music educators of today as well as helping pioneer the electronic music movement.

After his retirement in 1986, he joined the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) as Professor Emeritus and Research Associate. Theo's involvement with electronic music began in the late 1940's and continued into the early 1970's in Vancouver with computer music. Theo took advantage of isomorphic relationships between musical and visual structures. His works evolved into collaborative multimedia pieces using computer graphics and video, and have involved composer Barry Truax and performers such as Lawrence Cherney and Vivienne Spiteri. He worked with Barry on multimedia projects that are still being performed internationally today.

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