Jana Skarecky


Jana Skarecky is a Canadian contemporary classical composer of vocal and instrumental music – for solo instruments, chamber groups, solo voice, choir, and orchestra.

Jana was born in Prague, in the Czech Republic, on November 11, 1957. She came to Canada with her family in 1968. In 1980 she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Honours Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, where her primary composition teacher was Barrie Cabena. She also studied piano with Erhard Schlenker and French horn with Felix Acevedo. She is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, in piano performance. In 1987 she received a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Sydney, Australia, where she studied with Peter Sculthorpe.

Jana's compositions cover a wide spectrum of instrumental and vocal resources. Her music has an expressive lyricism, and integrates a variety of influences from Gregorian chant to Czech folksong. Her compositions have been performed in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

The Lightning Flash Endures (for tenor, cello & percussion, text by Di Brandt) premiered in 2017 at Time Tributaries – Music and Art by Jana Skarecky in Toronto, in celebration of her 60th birthday, and The Land Sings (for 2 bass clarinets, percussion & organ), commissioned by NUMUS, premiered in 2017 in Waterloo. Her orchestral work Streams opened Hammerson Hall of the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

She loves writing for the voice, both solo and choral works, and setting poetry to music — for example, Green and Gold for soprano and piano (settings of poetry by P.K. Page, toured across Canada in 2017 by Clarisse Tonigussi), commissioned for the Wider Boundaries of Daring poetry conference (Windsor), and the choral work Song of Life, commissioned for Then, Now, & Beyond… a Festival of Music by Women (Ottawa). Jana's choral setting of the poem "Back to Babylon" by Viggo Mortensen was premiered in New Zealand in 2012. Some of her choral music is published by Alliance Publications, Inc. (USA). Her one-woman opera Emily, the Way You Are (libretto by Di Brandt) continues to be received with enthusiasm by audiences.

Jana Skarecky is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre. She has been Chair of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, and has served on the National Council of the Canadian League of Composers.

Jana is also active as a visual artist primarily painting with acrylics, and as a photographer. She often composes and paints in parallel, finding that the two media interact and lead in new directions. She teaches piano and theory and examines for the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has sung with the Contemporary Singers in Sydney (Australia) and the St. Mary Magdalene’s Gallery Choir in Toronto. She is the translator of The Foundations of Modern Harmony by Karel Janeček from Czech into English.

Most of Jana's compositions are available from the Canadian Music Centre and selected choral music is available from Hal Leonard. To commission Jana to compose a musical work, please contact her. Rates vary according to duration and instrumentation, and generally follow the Canadian League of Composers Commissioning Rates.

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