Upper Canada Fiddle Suite (1996)

Available from the Canadian Music Centre (CMC)

  • Upper Canada Fiddle Suite
    Excerpt (Opening of
    Each Movement)

  • Upper Canada Fiddle Suite
    Movement 1: Reel [Excerpt]

  • Upper Canada Fiddle Suite
    Movement 2: Waltz [Excerpt]

  • Upper Canada Fiddle Suite
    Movement 3: Jig [Excerpt]
Instrumentation:String Orchestra
Genre:String Orchestra Music

Commissioner: The Thirteen Strings of Ottawa

Dedication: The Thirteen Strings of Ottawa

Premiere: The Thirteen Strings of Ottawa, Dennis Simmons, conductor, at St. Andrew's Church, Ottawa , ON, April 18, 1997

Duration: 20 minutes


  1. Reel
  2. Waltz
  3. Jig

Program Note: Upper Canada Fiddle Suite was commissioned by The Thirteen Strings of Ottawa in 1997 and has gone on to be performed by orchestras across Canada.  "Upper Canada" is the name given by European explorers to the region of Ontario that surrounds the waterways near the Great Lakes.  This old-fashioned name is used in the composition's title to help convey the nostalgic quality of the music.  All three movements are entirely based on original material which often incorporates traditional fiddle clichés and rhythms in a slightly off-beat fashion.  One aspect of the work that is particularly audible is the prominent solo violin part in the Waltz which is to be played on a violin that has been re-tuned to a fiddle tuning.  The resultant effect is that the retuned instrument's open strings now resonate in a beautifully evocative A major chord.  In performance, the soloist nees to have a second violin prepared in advance to play this solo.  The opening movement is a moderately-paced two-step, entitled, "Reel," and the final movement is an up-tempo "Jig," that speed along with a great deal of energy and vitality.

This work is one of the compositions recorded on Sinfonia Toronto's CD entitled, Flanders Fields Reflections: Marquis Classics 81383

The full score for this work is available from the Canadian Music Centre for purchase as a pdf or a hard-copy printed by the CMC, while the CMC handles the rental of the instrumental parts: Upper Canada Fiddle Suite (CMC)


Recent performances:

  • Musica 14.8 String Orchestra, Kyoto, Japan on July 27, 2017.
  • Hamilton Philharmonic performed the work at their New Music Festival, William Rowson, conductor, First Hamilton Christian Reformed Church, May 23, 2017.
  • “Reel” from Upper Canada Fiddle Suite, was performed by the Guelph Suzuki School of Music, Paule Barsalou, conducting, Guelph, ON, February 4, 2017.
  • The Thirteen Strings of Ottawa, Kevin Mallon, conductor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, Ontario, June 12, 2015.

Videos: The Japanese String Orchestra, Musica 14.8, led by Etsuko Kimura, has recently posted a wonderful video of a live performance all three movements of Upper Canada Fiddle Suite that was taken from a performance in Kyoto, Japan on July 27, 2017.  Etsuko also lives in Toronto where she plays with the Toronto Symphony orchestra and many years ago performed this work with Sinfonia Toronto.