I was born in 1958 in Biggar, a small farming community in central Saskatchewan. My father's family were English. His father (my grandfather) was schoolmaster on Thunderchild Indian Reserve; my father grew up speaking Cree as well as English. My mother was born in Prince Albert, a small city in Northern Saskatchewan. Her family were ethnic Moravians who fled Czarist Russia in 1898. My first exposure to Classical Music was CBC television, our only station in the 1960's. Glenn Gould hosted a Sunday afternoon TV show called Music to See, where I first heard Gould and Menuhin play Schoenberg; my first exposure to opera and ballet were televised versions of Britten's Billy Budd and Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat. I began playing all the woodwinds and writing music at an early age on manuscript paper I drew myself - there was no score paper even in the music stores of the nearest city. I placed heavy books on the keys of my mother's electronic organ and improvised on the strings of the large upright piano, recording my efforts on a portable tape recorder. When I was fifteen, my family moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where I began to study, play and write music seriously. I studied composition with Murray Adaskin, one of Canada's most important musicians, a great inspiration and friend. (He's still writing music at age ninety-three.) I gave my first solo flute recital at age sixteen and began to teach; among my first students was Eve Egoyan, now a pianist devoted to the performance of new music. So began my private and public musical life. I have had the pleasure of studying with, working with and socializing with many great artists, musicians, dancers, choreographers, writers and film-makers. Each one has left a mark on my work and my character: Brian Ferneyhough, Yvar Mikhashoff, Michael Finnissy, Louis Andriessen, Kaija Saariaho, Linda Smith, Erica Goodman, Anthony de Mare, Rita Costanzi, Sergiu Comissiona, Charles Dutoit, Atom Egoyan, Joan Skogan, Barbara Ebbeson, David Earle, Marie-Josée Chartier, John Alleyne, James Kudelka... From Victoria I moved first to Freiburg, Amsterdam, Toronto, Buffalo. For some ten years now, I make my home in Vancouver, where I have been takingpleasure in writing music in a way that I have not done since I was a teenager, where I feel my artistic vision can stretch in all directions, where I am can shape culture as well as be shaped by it.
- Rodney Sharman, October, 1999