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Diana McIntosh, prominent Canadian musician, composer and performer passed away December 16, 2022.
Friends and colleagues are invited to an informal reception to celebrate her extraordinary life and accomplishments tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, February 5, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., with a brief program of remembrances at 3:00 p.m. Location is the University Women's Club (54 West Gate).
The 3:00 p.m. program can be streamed via the website of Funeral Director Richard Rosin: richardrosin.ca.
Condolences and memories may also be posted on that site or at the Free Press website: passages.winnipegfreepress.com
Publish Date: Feb 4, 2023
On December 16, 2022, Diana McIntosh, a playful and creative spirit, and prominent Canadian musician, composer and performer, moved on to explore new adventures.
Diana was predeceased by her sisters, Ann Worthington and Betty Lowes, and by her beloved husband and enthusiastic 'roadie', Grant McIntosh. She is survived by nine nieces and nephews.
Diana and Grant married in 1957. Together they enjoyed hiking, skiing and mountain climbing in her cherished Rockies. These adventures formed wonderful memories that Diana often shared with her friends and in her music.
Named a "National Treasure" by Bravo TV and profiled by CBC TV, Diana had a long, multi-faceted career that included many performances in Canada, United States, Europe and Kenya.
With a Bachelor of Music in 1972 from the University of Manitoba, Diana kept in close affiliation with the University of Manitoba - initially in Continuing Education and later as Composer-in-Residence. She also taught creative workshops in other universities and conservatories in Canada, USA and Europe and she spent considerable time over the years in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She received many commissions including three for orchestral works from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for its New Music Festivals: 9 Foot Clearance, Four-on-the-Floor and Through the Valley: Milgaard. This work for orchestra with pianist/narrator, based on the wrongful incarceration of David Milgaard, has been performed by seven Canadian orchestras. International composer and Pulitzer prize recipient Michael Colgrass, on hearing a broadcast, proclaimed it "a deeply moving work, brilliantly narrated, and a triumph of the human spirit - the best piece for narrator and orchestra since Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait".
While Diana could be serious and profound, there were always humourous counterpoints such as 'Composition for Spoken Text and Food Processor' and performing in unusual locations such as aviation museums, planetariums, The Royal Canadian Mint, and equestrian centres. In more recent years, Diana became known for one-woman interdisciplinary creations exploring voice text in an animated theatrical style.
Diana's love for contemporary music inspired her to found Music Inter Alia (with Winnipeg-born composer Ann Southam), western Canada's first contemporary music series. With her characteristic wit, Diana described the series as "contemporary music for people who don't like contemporary music". As Artistic Director over 14 years, she attracted substantial, enthusiastic audiences, worked with and inspired many other musical artists and, with the assistance of Canada Council and the Manitoba Arts Council, commissioned 42 new works from composers across Canada. Many concerts were broadcast by CBC Radio, and her music was included on numerous CDs and videos. In 1990, she joined with two other Winnipeg new music groups to form GroundSwell which champions new music to this day. She was co-Artistic Director and also, on occasion, the Board President.
Diana and Grant loved their Kingston Crescent home of 60+ years overlooking the Red River, where "home" concert presentations always provided something new and exciting from Diana or one of her cherished musical colleagues. Diana loved nature, and always enjoyed her walks in the neighbourhood, St. Vital Park, or Fort Whyte Alive, usually with her favourite ice cappuccino in hand.
Diana was raised in the Christian Science faith (as was Grant) and she remained an active and dedicated member until her passing, serving in many offices of the First Church of Christ Scientist in Winnipeg. Her faith and concept of God were the basis for the values and principles that guided her life.
Diana was always very grateful for the care and support she received from many neighbours and friends, especially Glen Simpkins and Martha Vargas.
An informal reception to celebrate the extraordinary life and accomplishments of Diana McIntosh will be held on Sunday, February 5 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the University Women's Club (54 West Gate), including a brief program at 3:00 p.m. of remembrances and a live performance of one of Diana's compositions.
Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to a charity of your choice or alternatively, plant a Memorial Tree via the website of Funeral Director Richard Rosin: richardrosin.ca. Condolences and memories may also be posted on that site or at the Free Press website: passages.winnipegfreepress.com
Publish Date: Jan 14, 2023
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 14, 2023, Feb 04, 2023
Condolences & Memories (3 entries)
Just learned of your new adventure, Diana. I will never forget you. Maybe see you sometime on the peaks. - Posted by: Monica Meneghetti (Creative collaborator and friend) on: May 22, 2023
I first met Diana shortly after winning the Principal Bassoon of the Winnipeg Symphony, and moving to Winnipeg from the US. Diana hired me as a last minute replacement for the indisposed Canadaian Bassoonist George Zuckerman. My collaborations with Diana lasted up to her last days as music presenter. She was a true and loyal friend for me both professionally and personally. I can't count the number of times she has asked me to play innumerable composers for her concerts. She has also written works for me as a soloist, and chamber player. There is nobody who has done more for contemporary music, and Canadian music in particular than her. The Winnipeg Symphony's New Music Festival would not have happened without her groundbreaking work begun in the early 1970s. Rest in Peace my friend. - Posted by: Vincent Ellin (Friend and musical collaborator) on: Jan 22, 2023
Diana McIntosh – a memorial tribute. In addition to the compositions she left us, Diana McIntosh made things happen in the new music field – countless concerts, commissions for composers, and opportunities for performers to stretch themselves in response to unusual and imaginative musical demands. I owe Diana so much it will be impossible to describe everything. Upon meeting her in 1978 and hearing her perform one of her solo piano pieces, I was very impressed. Terrific music, lovely performance. When I heard some of her MUSIC INTER ALIA concerts, I was additionally impressed and full of admiration – all that musicianship and a mover and shaker too??!! At that time I was planning to start a traditional chamber music series at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Knowing that I would need help, I gathered all my courage and asked Diana to co-direct – and miraculously, she said YES. She co-directed AURORA MUSICALE for two years before her contemporary concert activity increased so much she couldn’t do both series. Her generosity in taking this on gave us our start, and AURORA MUSICALE lasted for 19 years, bringing Winnipeg audiences a wealth of traditional chamber music, along with many commissions and recordings. More about Diana’s music! One of our first collaborations, for which I can never thank her enough, was her superb flute and piano piece, Luminaries, written for me and premiered on the Aurora Musicale series. After the premiere, we performed it in Toronto and New York (with excellent critical response), and then recorded it. I still feel honored to have worked with her on that and also on so many other works. She was wonderfully accommodating and unfailingly musical in our collaborations. Nor was Luminaries the only commissioned work from her that is a treasure for me: For Your Tomorrow (2012) was written for my New York group, the Da Capo Chamber Players as a memorial piece after the death of her husband, Grant McIntosh. It was deeply moving to have such a significant work dedicated to us. Thinking of the hundreds of audiences who have been delighted (or perhaps, puzzled!) by Diana’s music, this legacy is certainly the biggest gift she has given all of us – stretching the imagination, going further in an unfamiliar musical direction, feeling refreshed, energized, and invigorated by hearing her music. Thank you, Diana! We will miss you! Patricia Spencer Flutist, Da Capo Chamber Players - Posted by: Patricia Spencer (Professional colleague) on: Jan 17, 2023
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