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Tawnie Olson is a young composer who has helped to shape the modern musical landscape. The purpose of this project is to spotlight the work of this important composer by analyzing two very different compositions, plumbing the depths of meaning within each of these works of extraordinary beauty. I will also explore her engagement with spirituality, which is evident in both of these compositions. The primary source for this project is the composer herself, and is based on a personal hour-long interview with her. I listened to each piece blindly before interviewing her, and will compare those listening experiences, investigating common themes between the two pieces. Olson is an artist who tells a story with the music she composes, and she employs a wide variety of compositional tools to craft her narrative. The two pieces, Scel Lem Duib and Paraclete, while both very spiritual works, are very different musically. The first is mostly tonal with beautiful harmonic elements, although the harp has some atonal notes. Whole Note, a publication in the greater Toronto area, has described it “as especially glorious and ethereal.” The second piece is atonal, and uses solos clarinet, a kick drum, and a Tibetan bowl to paint an image of the confusion and pain one feels after receiving heartbreaking news. . Both compositions, while completely different, are excellent examples of word painting. My methodology will combine my one-hour interview with a careful analysis of recordings of each piece and their musical scores. Tawnie Olson is a captivating person, and my presentation will demonstrate her relevancy as a reputable and progressive modern composer, bringing the past and present together as she remains on the cutting edge of modernity.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Visual Arts

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3101

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Esther Morgan Ellis