University of Calgary

David Eagle

  • Professor

Research Interests



David Eagle composes chamber, orchestral and electroacoustic music, and explores interactive computer applications in composition, improvisation and sound spatialization.  At the University of Calgary he teaches Composition and Sonic Arts in the School of Creative and Performing Arts and supervises projects in the interdisciplinary Computational Media Design program.  Previously he studied music at McGill University, at the Institut für Neue Musik, Hochschule für Musik Freiburg and at the University of California at Berkeley (PhD 1992).  In 2013 he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Performances of his works in Canada and abroad include New Works Calgary, Land’s End Chamber Ensemble, Trio Fibonacci, New Adventures in Sound Art, New Music Concerts and Arraymusic in Toronto, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Banff Festival Orchestra, Vancouver New Music, Windsor Symphony, International Accordion Festival (France), Computer Music 90 (Tokyo), Glenn Gould Conference (Toronto), Tuning of the World (Banff), Calgary International Organ Festival, International Computer Music Conferences in Banff, Hong Kong, Huddersfield UK and Perth Australia, World Saxophone Congress 2000, Mexico-Canada Music Festival, Escuela Nacional de Música, Mexico City, 2001, Open Ears Festival 2003 in Kitchener-Waterloo, World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, North American Saxophone Alliance Conference in Iowa, Musicacoustica 2006 in Beijing, China, ISCM World New Music Days in Hong Kong, ZKM Piano+ Festival in Karlsruhe and the Turning Point Ensemble in Vancouver.


As well as composing for soloists and ensembles, I am active as a composer and interpreter of interactive works with live electronics, developing various approaches focusing on sonic transformation through gesture. An earlier project was the aXiO, a new instrument which I performed and co-developed, designed to allow greater expression in interactive electroacoustic music. Currently I am continuing in this area using motion sensors and touch surface tablets, and collaborating on networked music projects in the Telemedia Arts Lab. 

A major project was one thousand curves, ten thousand colours, a collaborative multimedia concert with composer Hope Lee and Ensemble Resonance, integrating live acoustic and electroacoustic music with computer-generated images. In August 2001, Ensemble Resonance performed the work again, this time with choreography at the Cantai Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. I  have also been composer/performer in residence with New Adventures in Sound Art at the summer Sound Travels Festivals on Toronto Island and performed at electroacoustic festivals in Denmark (MIX.01 International Festival for Electronic Music, Dansk Institut for Elektroakustisk Musik, Musikhuset Aarhus) and Rome (Musica Scienza 2001, Centro Ricerche Musicali).

More recent works are Passages and Scenes, Reflection and Memory an octophonic sonic art work based on soundscapes of western Canada and Waves and Points, an interactive composition for free-bass accordion and electronics (42 loudspeakers) premièred in November 2010 at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe Germany.  In 2011 I was artist-in-residence at the NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Music in Manchester where I composed and premièred Kinesis. This was my first work to use the Kinect motion sensor to control ambisonic sound spatialization through live performance gesture.

My latest ensemble compositions are Two Forms of Intuition for chamber orchestra and electronics premièred by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in the 2012 Windsor Canadian Music Festival and Unremembered Tongues for soprano, ensemble and computer premièred by New Music Concerts in Toronto in 2013. 

Recordings of David Eagle’s compositions are available on New Concert Discs, Clef, UNICAL, isidorart recording, ARKTOS Recordings, MAPL, New Works Calgary and Centrediscs labels. He has two new releases: Passages on lightblue records, available at and Secret of the Seven Stars, Music of Hope Lee and David Eagle on Centrediscs.


I see music and sonic arts as closely related fields, one emphasizing creative, performing and analytical musical skills and aptitudes and the other focusing more on the listening process, understanding the inherent characteristics of sound and the soundscape, and building professional skills to work meaningfully with audio in the studio. In both areas we set out to develop an idiomatic compositional craft, polished performance practice and studio skills, and a coherent musical language. In this process one strives to discover and shape an individual expressive voice through the creation of original compositions, collaborative projects and sonic arts works.

In my experience this is most successful in smaller composition and analysis seminar classes, in studio and lab classes in the Sonic Arts Lab and Telemedia Arts Lab, through instruction in the Integrated Arts Media Lab where students gain hands-on experience with current audio software, and by working one-on-one with advanced students to help them realize their often ambitious creative projects. Since these areas deal with original work and new interactive tools and technologies, I strive to integrate current research into the course material at all levels.

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