Michael Snow was born in Toronto not so long ago, and lives there now — but has also lived in Montréal, Chicoutimi and New York.
He is a musician (piano and other instruments) who has performed solo as well as with various ensemble (most often with the CCMC of Toronto) in Canada, USA, Europe and Japan. Many recordings of his music have been released.
His films have been presented at festivals in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands and USA, and are in the collections of several archives, such as Anthology Film Archives in New York City, the Royal Belgian Film Archives, Brussels, and the Oesterreichesches Film Museum, Vienna.
He is a painter and sculptor, though since 1962, much of his gallery work has been photo-based or holographic. Work in all these media is represented in private and public collections world-wide, including for example the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum Ludwig (Cologne and Vienna), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), and both the Musée des Beaux-Arts and Musée d’art contemporain in Montréal.
He has done video, film and sound installations, and designed books, examples of the latter being Micheal Snow/A Survey (1970) and Cover to Cover (1975).
Retrospectives of his painting, sculpture, photoworks and holography have been presented at the Hara Museum (Tokyo), of his films at the Cinémathèquie Française (Paris), Anthology Film Archives and L’Institut Lumière (Lyons) and of his work in all media simultaneously at the Power Plant and the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1994. Additional retrospective exhibitions have been mounted at the Vancouver Art Grallery and the Musée d’art contemporain (Montréal).
Solo and group shows of his visual-arts works have been presented at museums and galleries in Amsterdam, Bonn, Boston, Brussels, Kassel, Los Angeles, Lucerne, Lyons, Minneapolis, Montreux, Munich, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Pittsburgh, Québec City, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Toronto and elsewhere.
Michael Snow has executed several public sculpture commissions, the most well known being Flight Stop at Eaton Center and The Audience at Skydome, both in Toronto.
He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975) and the Order of Canada (1982).
Michael Snow started to play piano around 1948, after hearing and being very moved by boogie woogie and blues. He then listened to everything he could in jazz. He met some other would-be musicians and they taught each other and started to play in bands. For several summers, he and his new musician friends went to Chicago, for a couple of weeks at a time, where they sat in where they could and heard a lot.
In Toronto, he played frequently with Ken Dean’s Hot Seven and in other bands. He lived in Europe for a year and a half (53-54), supporting himself by playing piano and trumpet in Italy, Yugoslavia and France, and for a month in Brussels with a local band. starting around 1961, he played with Mike White’s Imperial Jazz Band, which was quite busy for a couple of years on TV, making records, and performing at The Park Plaza, The Colonial, and for a year at The Westover Hotel where extraordinary guest artists were hired to play with the band: Dicky Wells, Vic Dickinson, Edmuind Hall, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, Buck Clayton, Jimmy Rushing and many other notable Swing and Dixieland musicians.
Subsequently, he played with some of these musicians (and with Wingy Mannone, a New Orleans trumpeter) elsewhere, mostly New York State and Michigan. At the same time, he had his own group which played more “modern” music (Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker). The group usually included larry Dubin on drums, Terry Forster on bass and Alf Jones on trombone. We played at such places as the House of Hambourg, George’s and elsewhere.
He lived in New York from 63 to 70 and played with many fine musicians: Kenny Davern, Roswell Rudd, Milford Graves, Steve Lacy, Pharoah Sanders and others. Returning to Toronto, he started playing with the Artists jazz band, a unique band made up of mostly visual artists who also played. They made two lp’s. In 1970, Chatam Square, a new York label, issued a double album of his solo music. He have made sound sculpture and have done sound installations, eg “hearing Aid” first intalled at The Kitchen in New York and later in various locations in Europe and Canada.
He joined the CCMC which, since 1976, has played weekly and biweekly concerts at The Music Gallery, sometimes with such guest musicians as Derek Bailey, Misha Mendelberg and Evan Parker. They made 6 tours of Europe and played in several festivals. CCMC has issued 6 albums and a three-record box “Larry Dubin and the CCMC.” Snow also published a number of solo recordings, like “The Last LP” (Art Metropole), “Two Radio Solos” (Freedom in a Vacuum), and “Sinoms” (Art Metropole). A complete discography can be found in “Music/Sound: the performed and recorded music/sound of Michael Snow” (The Michael Snow Project; 4), Art Gallery of Ontario/The Power Plant/Alfred A. Knopf Canada, p. 141, 1993.
Toronto (Ontario, Canada), 1929
Residence: Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
- Performer (piano)
- Visual artist
On the web
April 3, 2020Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
October 15, 2015Toronto (Ontario, Canada)