Udo Kasemets biography

Udo Kasemets


1919 –


Who is Udo Kasemets?

Udo Kasemets is an Estonian-born Canadian composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano, and electroacoustic works. He was one of the first to adopt the methods of John Cage, and is also a conductor, lecturer, pianist, organist, teacher and writer.

Kasemets was born in Tallinn, Estonia, and trained at the Tallinn Conservatory and the Akademie der Musik in Stuttgart. In 1950, he attended the Kranichstein Institut für neue Musik in Darmstadt, where he became familiar with the music and philosophies of Ernst Krenek, Hermann Scherchen and Edgard Varèse. He emigrated to Canada in 1951, and became a Canadian citizen in 1957.

Since the 1950s, Kasemets has been active in Hamilton and Toronto. He taught at the Royal Hamilton College of Music and served as conductor of the Hamilton Conservatory Chorus, until 1957. He was music critic for the Toronto Daily Star 1959–63 and taught at the Brodie School of Music and Modern Dance 1963–7.

In 1962–63, he organized Toronto's first new music series Men, Minds and Music, and established the Isaacs Gallery Mixed Media Concerts. In 1968, he directed the first Toronto Festival of Arts and Technology entitled SightSoundSystems and founded and edited a new music publication series, Canavangard. In 1971, Kasemets joined the Faculty of the Department of Experimental Art at the Ontario College of Art, where he taught until retiring in 1987.


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Nov 16, 1919
  • Canada
Lived in
  • Hamilton
  • Toronto

on July 23, 2013

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