biographical info

Rosemary Smith Mountain's life has been characterized by exploration and adventure, in the geographical/cultural realms as well as in the intellectual/creative sense. Her father's pioneering work in the field of comparative religions was crucial in stimulating these explorations, and her husband Harry Mountain (sculptor and Celtologist) has proved the perfect companion for continuing them.

Rosemary was born in 1954 in Montreal, Canada. Her musical training began at home, the youngest of five children who each received music lessons on piano and one other instrument; Rosemary started the piano at age 4 (at her own insistence) and violin at age 9. Listening to "classical" music, both live and recorded, formed an important and extensive part of her daily life. At the age of 9, a year in India exposed her to the richness of music of that country -- an experience which profoundly affected her future perceptions of musical sounds and structures. In the late sixties, rock music became another important influence, again in live as well as recorded formats, as the family were then living in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Sundays on the "Common" were a favourite venue for the new American subculture.

In 1970, Rosemary moved back to Canada and was introduced to jazz and the more complex instrumental rock forms. The distance between these contemporary musics and those which she perceived as the mainstay of formal musical training in the conservatories propelled her towards the field of visual arts, and in 1975 she enrolled in the prestigious Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. There, luckily, she met the sculptor Harry Mountain (recently graduated from NSCAD), who urged her to take advantage of her many years of musical training and enrol in a composition course. In 1976, therefore, she and Harry moved to London, Ontario where she began the 4-year BMus programme in theory and composition, studying with Peter Paul Koprowski, and continuing her study of violin in lessons with the renowned Yuri Mazurkevich. By 1978 she was having her compositions performed, not only in concerts but also in multidisciplinary collaborations.

Since then, her time has been spent in a variety of activities within the musical world, juxtaposed with travel, first within Canada and finally into Europe. Formal study included a Master's in composition with Rudolf Komorous and a PhD in music theory with Harald Krebs. As well as teaching (in secondary schools, colleges and universities), Rosemary spent many years as a freelance music copyist, working for clients including the CBC, Oxford University Press, the Canadian Music Centre, and (primarily) R. Murray Schafer. She has also enjoyed work in the areas of arts administration, hosting of a weekly radio show on 20th-century music, and occasional performing. Compositional activities were increasingly complemented by in related fields, including the study of the role of music in multi-disciplinary contexts, perceptual & cognitive issues of music perception, and appropriate methods of analysis to reflect the growing diversity of musical styles.

In January 1994, having just completed her Ph.D. in rhythmic theory, Rosemary became a professor of music at the new, developing Department of Communication & Art at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, where she taught a wide variety of courses, helped develop curriculum and research programmes, and worked in administrative roles. She moved back to Montreal in the fall of 1999 to take up a position in the Department of Music at Concordia University, where her teaching was also in diverse areas of music from general courses for non-music majors to composition, analysis, 20th century history, sound for animation, electroacoustics and supervision of various students in interdisciplinary masters and doctoral programmes. [See courses taught]. She also helped build Hexagram, the inter-university Institute of Research/Creation in Media Arts & Technology, of which she was Scientific Director for Concordia from 2004-2006. Since then, her time has been dedicated more to sorting out the various strands of her research into manageable projects, and to managing the expansion of IMP-NESTAR. She is currently taking advantage of a "gradual retirement" plan at Concordia to consolidate her many research findings and begin the process to disseminate them through conventional & unconventional means, while preparing for a move back to Europe and return to more composition, performance, research and exploration.

see also: influences

formal music education:

Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Mass. (1965-1970) -violin, piano, solfege, ensemble

Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ont. (1970-72) -violin, piano, chamber orchestra

Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Canada (1975, 77) - sculpture, art history (BFA programme, incomplete)

B.Mus. honours (1980) University of Western Ontario, Canada (theory & composition)

M.Mus. (1986) University of Victoria, B.C., Canada (composition)

Ph.D. (1993) University of Victoria, B.C., Canada (interdisciplinary: rhythmic theory psychology - philosophy)

music teaching

Concordia University, Montreal, Canada 1999-

University of Aveiro, Portugal 1994-99

Manor & High Tunstall Schools, Hartlepool, England 1992-93

Arthur Mellows Village College, Glinton, England 1992

Northern Lights College, Fort Nelson, B.C., Canada 1989-90

University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada (part-time) 1983-88


Affiliations / memberships:

national music archive & promotion organization

Canadian Music Centre Associate composer 2003-

research institutes

CIRMMT - Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology 2012-

Hexagram Institute for Research / Creation in Media Arts & Technologies 2001-

UnICA - Communication & Art Research Unit, U. of Aveiro, Portugal 1998-2002

research teams

IMP - Interactive Multimedia Playroom / Thesaurus [P.I.] 2002-

NESTAR - Network of Exploratory Spaces for Temporal Arts Research 2009-

EARS - Electroacoustic Resource Site Consortium 2004-

scholarly organizations

International Society for the Study of Time 2009-

Systematic and Cognitive Musicology Association 1999-

Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC) 1986-2003

European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM) 1996-2005

Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC) 2000-2009

Society for Music Theory (SMT) 1998-2001