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About Cliff

A native of Victoria BC, he studied at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Banff Centre and the Courtenay Youth Music Centre.  He worked in the 20th century vocal repertoire with the distinguished Canadian soprano Frances James Adaskin.  He was also fortunate to be able to fill out his vocal studies with Selena James and Catherine Wendol in Victoria, and with Robert Irwin and Dorothy Lawson in Winnipeg.  He has performed frequently in Vancouver and his repertoire ranges from the baroque to the contemporary.  

Cliff released two CD's in 2006 both accompanied by the young Canadian pianist, Danielle Marcinek.  The first, Ach des Knaben Augen (Ah, the boy's eyes), explores themes of life and death and includes four of the Geistliche Lieder (Spiritual Songs) of Hugo Wolf, Vier ernste Gesänge (Four Serious Songs) by Johannes Brahms, and Gustav Mahler's Kintertotenlieder (Songs on the Deaths of Children).  The second, Gentle Lady, do not sing sad songs..., celebrates the music written for baritone and piano by two of Canada's most distinguished 20th century composers, Jean Coulthard and Violet Archer.  The recordings have been played on FM radio in Canada, the USA and Europe and are housed in the Rogers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and at the Library & Archives Canada.  The Gentle Lady CD is distributed by the Canadian Music Centre and Ludwig Recordings.

In 2009, Con Brio Recordings released Cliff's 3rd CD, Outward Voyage, which is a compilation of Art Songs written for the performers by the Richmond BC composer Christopher Ludwig.  It features a near complete setting of Ken Cathers book of poetry.  Outward Voyage was published by Oolichan Books in 1980.  Set in five parts, the poems flow seamlessly in a continuous musical drama; a break from the Art Song tradition of setting poems individually.

In 2013, Cliff released a triple art song album of the poetry of William Carlos Williams set to music by Christopher Ludwig.  The 56 art songs, distributed over 3 online albums, are based on poems written across the lifespan of this eminent 20th century American writer.  They were released by the Ludwig Recordings label with pianists Anna Vavilova and Tatiana Khvatova.  

Cliff's most recent release, Medicine Man (2015), is the 5th collaborative Art Song recording of the music of composer Christopher Ludwig.  The texts come from poets whose backgrounds and themes spread across time, geography, texture and style.  Such an approach may on the surface appear to be whimsical and haphazard, yet in Medicine Man, the threads of poetic and compositional colour, mood and imagery are remarkably tight and interwoven.

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