David Jaeger

Jaeger, David (Trent). Composer, producer, performer, b Green Bay, Wisc, 19 Nov 1947; B MUS (Wisconsin) 1970, M MUS (Toronto) 1972. Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and continued his studies at the University of Toronto 1970-2 with John Weinzweig and Gustav Ciamaga. He attended the Summer Electronic Music Institute in Dartmouth, NH, in the summer of 1972, working with Jon Appleton and Hubert Howe.

In the early 1970s Jaeger established a digital sound synthesis facility at the University of Toronto, one of the first in Canada. He joined the CBC in 1973 as a radio music producer for various series including ‘Music of Today’, which included 10 broadcasts he produced with Glenn Gould in celebration of the Centennial of composer Arnold Schoenberg. Jaeger and Gould remained friends & collaborators until Gould’s death in 1982. In 1978 he created one of the world’s most celebrated new music programs, “Two New Hours”, which was heard on the national CBC Radio Two network until spring, 2007. In the course of this long-running series he produced over 1,200 concert recordings, and commissioned more than 300 new musical works. A large number of these commissioned works have become iconic works in the Canadian musical cannon, including R. Murray Schafer’s 3rd String Quartet, the opera, ‘Iron Road’ by Ka Nin Chan and ‘The Qualities of Consonance’ by Ann Southam. His surround-sound production, ‘Cathedral Songs’ helped to launch the new Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, with a commissioned work by Canadian composer Glenn Buhr for the combined forces of the Nexus Percussion Ensemble, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, the Hannaford Street Silver Band and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jukka Pekka Saraste. The recording of this event won a Gold Medal at the International Radio Festival of New York in 1996.

David Jaeger won numerous broadcasting awards, including the CBC President’s Award in 2009.

In 1990 his Centrediscs double-CD “Schafer: 5” (String Quartets of R. Murray Schafer with the Orford String Quartet) won two Juno awards. From 1999 to 2010 he was the music producer for the “A Window on Somers” recording project, completing 11 CDs of the music of Harry Somers. In 2010 his Centrediscs CD “Wild Bird” (music by Schafer, Agocs, & Chan) won the Canadian Composition Juno for Schafer’s “Duo for Violin & Piano”. He has produced over 200 LP & CD recordings and has won 7 Juno Awards to date (2013).

From 1974 to 2002 he served as the CBC Radio coordinator of the CBC/Radio-Canada National Radio Competition for Young Composers, which was a successful long term project for the development of emerging Canadian Composers.

In 2002 David Jaeger was elected President of the International Rostrum of Composers, and was the only non-European president in the history of the IRC He served as President of the IRC until 2008.

His commitment to new music has made available to radio audiences a full spectrum of music from around the world, with a special emphasis on Canadian music and performers. Jaeger has encouraged a generation of composers and musicians, aiding in the birth of a number of ensembles and festivals dedicated to this repertoire.

Jaeger was a founding member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, a group which, when it was formed in 1971, was on the leading edge of live performance with electronic instruments. The ensemble has provided Jaeger with an outlet for his compositional efforts and experiments. Many of his works include an electronic element, although he continues to write for acoustic instruments (eg, Double Wind Quintet, 1975; Lyrics for Solo Marimba (1985)Aria for cello and piano, 1987; and Sonatas no. 1 and 2 for viola and piano, 2021 and 2023). Favour (1980) and Fool’s Paradise for electric viola have been recorded by Rivka Golani, and Shadowbox and Spirit Cloud have been recorded by accordionist Joseph Petric on Centrediscs and Redshift Records, respectively. In 2023 recordings of his viola repertoire were released by two violists: Elizabeth Reid (on Redshift Records) and Carol Gimbel (on Navona Redordings.)

Regarding his compositions, Jaeger is generally considered an experimenter, and his works reflect a wide range of current musical styles. He has drawn on traditional musical styles and idioms in some of his works such as Fancye (1973) for tracker organ and electronics (recorded on RCI’s 4-ACM 37 CD), Quanza Dueto (1976) for two guitars and tape, and Favour (1980) for viola & signal processing, but has discarded tradition completely in others, eg, his purely electroacoustic works. He seems as comfortable in highly experimental music as he is in a piece which makes no apologies for its attractiveness. Since 2017 he began focusing on purely melodic works and has written a number of compositions for solo, unaccompanied voices and instruments. He has collaborated with a number of poets, including the Scottish author, David Cameron, the English-Canadian Sean Haldane, the Bengali-Canadian Ayesha Chatterjee, and the Canadian Bruce Whiteman, among others. He is a member of the CLComp and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Career Highlights


Joined CBC Radio Music on January 2nd & programmed the daily morning classical show “Sounds Classical”.


Became producer of the contemporary show, “Music of Today” with host Norma Beecroft.

Worked with Glenn Gould, producing 10 programs on the music of Arnold Schoenberg (broadcast in 1975).

Named the English Radio Coordinator of the National Radio Competition for Young Composers, together with Radio-Canada (until 2002).


Joined a group of Radio Music producers to commission & produce John Cage’s iconic work, “A Lecture on the Weather”, a radio-phonic work in observance of the USA Bicentennial.


Drafted the proposal to establish a new weekly 2-hour network show featuring concerts of contemporary music across Canada & around the world.

Represented CBC English Radio as a delegate to the International Rostrum of Composers, in Paris.


Began producing “Two New Hours” – the first broadcast was on New Year’s Day. (Continued until March 2007)

Continued as CBC’s English Radio delegate to the International Rostrum of Composers (Focused on exchanges of Canadian music with public broadcasters abroad) until 2002.


“Episode at Big Quill” by Norman Symonds (commissioned for Two New Hours) given honourable mention at the Prix Italia.


Commissioned R. Murray Schafer’s iconic String Quartet #3 for Two New Hours


Awarded Best Broadcast of Canadian Music by the Canadian Music Council for “Two New Hours”. Helped to initiate a partnership with the Canadian Music Centre with the creation of the Centrediscs Record Label.


Awarded Best Radio Feature by the Canadian Music Council for “Vivier”, on Canadian composer Claude Vivier.


Began producing & broadcasting concerts from the Sound Symposium in St. John’s, NFLD.


Chris Paul Harman’s “Iridescence” wins Grand Prize at the National Radio Competition for Young Composers, & it also wins the top prize for young composers at the International Rostrum of Composers, as CBC’s submission.

Commissioned the opera “Iron Road” by Ka Nin Chan


Created partnership with Soundstreams Canada to establish the “Encounters” series in Glenn Gould Studio. It was a series of radio-sponsored concerts with works by high-profile international composers sharing the stage with music by significant Canadian composers.

Initiated live broadcasts from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival (ongoing until 2006).


Commissioned Glenn Buhr to compose “Cathedral Songs” as a celebration of the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.


Produced “Cathedral Songs” with the Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, Nexus, and the Hannaford Street Silver Band, a live-surround concert & broadcast in the Barbara Frum Atrium, conducted by Jukka Pekka Saraste.


Produced Murray Schafer’s “Wolf Music” at Wildcat Lake in the Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve.

Commissioned Harry Freedman’s “Borealis”


Produced “Borealis” with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Swedish Radio Choir, the Danish Radio Choir and the Toronto Children’s Chorus, a live-surround concert & broadcast in the Barbara Frumm Atrium, conducted by Jukka Pekka Saraste. Co-produced with Soundstreams Canada & the TSO.

CBC Records’ CD, Tabu Tabuhan with Esprit Orchestra wins the Juno Award for Best Canadian Composition (for “Nocturne”)


Awarded Gold, Silver & Bronze medals at the International Radio Festival of New York.


Produced Murray Schafer’s opera, The Palace of the Cinabar Phoenix (CBC Commission) in the woods near Pontypool, Ont.


Elected President of the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris (re-elected in 2005, served until 2008).

Was the only non-European to hold the post.


Co-winner (with Sandy Thacker & Pascale Labrie) of a President’s Award for the Evolution project.


Retired from CBC after completing 40 years of service.


Began renewed composing  career in earnest, completing dozens of works


Named a Member of the Order of Canada


Released three recordings of David’s works on the Redshift, KNS Classical, and Navona labels, respectively.


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