Meet our Composers

Whispering River Music has a long history of working with Canadian Composers.  Each of the composers below have had pieces commissioned over the years by the WRO to perform at our Riversongs Festivals and have made their impact in the musical world!  Some of our most recent commissioned pieces include Suspended Doorways by Saman Shahi, Frontlines by Janet Danielson and Morning at the Bushwall by Alan Torok.  Read more about our composers below!

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Patricia Morehead

Patricia Morehead , oboist/composer, B.M. New England Conservatory, PhD Composition University of Chicago, has diplomas from the Toronto Royal Conservatory, Paris National Conservatory, and the Siena Accademia Chigiana. She studied oboe with Myrtil Morel, Etienne Baudo, Ralph Gomberg, John Mack and Lothar Faber and composition with John Eaton, Ralph Shapey, Shulamit Ran and Dr. Samuel Dolin. In 1984 in Toronto, Canada, she was the founder of the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop with Dr. Samuel Dolin, which continues

today as the Canadian Contemporary Orchestra Workshop. Patricia is an Associate Composer member of the Canadian Music Centre and Council Member for Northern Ontario, and regularly performs with the North Bay Symphony, the Sudbury Symphony, and Whispering River Orchestra.

Dr. Morehead taught composition, theory and Twentieth Century Music at the undergraduate and graduate level at Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University in Chicago for 10 years. She was professor of composition, theory, oboe and World Music history at Dominican University and music history and composition at Columbia College. Patricia created the Composers Forum at Merit Music School for music students from ages eight to eighteen and was founder of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble in Chicago for twenty years. Patricia has taught composition online in Vermont ( Her music is published by Jeanné and recorded by Parma Recordings on the Navona Label.

Her music has been performed in Australia, Canada, China, Korea, England, France, Italy, Poland and the United States. She has taught oboe and chamber music in Brazil for three international music festivals. She has received many commissions and grants from individual performers and larger organizations for vocal chamber works, orchestra and chorus. Most recently she was commissioned to write a choral work for Canada 150, which was premiered by massed choirs of 150 singers in Haliburton, ON by choral director Melissa Stevens. Her newest commission is for a string quartet for the Inaugural Chamber Music.

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Saman Shahi is an award-winning and published composer, pianist, conductor and educator based in Toronto. He's active in classical music, new music, Iranian traditional music, rock and electronic music, and because of his constant activities in Canada and abroad he has become a sought after performer and composer.


Saman's compositions, including some of his short film scores have been performed in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. His repertory as a composer includes 4 orchestral works, three operas (two with ICOT), two ballets works (with ICOT), and many works for choral, vocal and chamber forces.


Saman holds a master's degree in composition from the University of Toronto, is an affiliate Member of the Canadian League of Composers, Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre as well as a SOCAN member. He is also one of co-founders and the Executive Director at ICOT, a 9 year old art organization that bridges cultures through music and art.


In 2019, Saman was appointed as the new Music Director at the Peterborough Concert band, one of Canada's oldest and most committed community music groups. He also works as a composer and lead artist with the Canadian Opera Company as part of their after school opera program. Saman has been an active member of the Circle music band, a rock fusion group in Toronto since 2011.


In 2020 Saman's debut composition album "Breathing in the Shadows" was recorded and released by Leaf Music. This album contains three of his song cycles. His song cycle "Orbit" in this album won the second prize in Canadian Amateur Musician's Associations' inaugural composition Competition in 2019. Saman was also named the recipient of the 2020 Riversong Commission award by Whispering River Orchestra

Follow this link to learn more about Saman Shahi and his music:

Saman Shahi

2020 Riversongs Commission Award Winner and composer of Suspended Doorways.

Janet Danielson


2020 Riversongs ACWC Award Winner

and composer of Frontlines.


Janet Danielson is a composer and music theorist who has taught at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts and at Regent College in Vancouver. She holds degrees in music composition from the University of Victoria and California Institute of the Arts, and pursued additional studies with Cornelius Cardew in London. Former chair and present treasurer of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, Danielson has also served on the executive council of the Canadian League of Composers and was Composer-in-Residence of Vancouver’s 2010 Sonic Boom Festival.


Her commissions include an opera, The Marvelous History of Mariken of Nimmigen; In the Very Highest Place for choir and the Orchid Ensemble, which has toured multiple times throughout the US; several chamber works for the Cambridge Music Conference; and Six Pieces of a Reverberant Cosmos, a 40-minute work for piano trio plus two percussionists commissioned by the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association in Tennessee, and performed in Tennessee, New York, and Vancouver. Her most recent première was the newly-commissioned Of Kindred Minds (piano quartet plus oboe d’amore) on 10 February, 2020.


Danielson has lectured at numerous conferences from Slovenia to the Philippines. Her publications include a music fundamentals textbook, Basic Organization of Music, and a number of articles on women in music. Drawing on the perspectives of Herman Dooyeweerd, Bruno Latour, and Giorgio Agamben, she has also published articles on music, philosophy, and the history of technology.


Self Portrait of Alan Torok


Composer and guitarist Alan Torok has been a concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, theatrical
musician and musical lecturer in Canada, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania and Netherlands. He has performed at the Toronto International Guitar Festivals (1975, 78, 81), the Amsterdam International Guitar Festival (1997), the Zagreb Biennale (1980), London’s Wigmore Hall, Toronto‘s St. Lawrence Centre, Canada’s National Art Centre in Ottawa and Stratford’s Shakespearean Festival, Halifax‘s Neptune Theatre, the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio and many other events and venues. He has performed on CBC national radio on many occasions. In 1990 he premiered Czech composer Stepan Rak’s 3rd Guitar Concerto—a work written for him—to great acclaim on CBC national radio.

His compositional output includes concerti, symphonic works, dance-scores, music for wind ensembles,
string orchestras and ensembles, mixed-instrumentation chamber-ensembles, solo-instrumental music, songs, choral works, guitar-sonatas(5), sinfonias for guitar-ensembles(8), incidental music for plays, and a great deal of pedagogic music. His guitar music has been performed in Canada, USA, South America and Europe by various artists, and is published by Canadian and American publishers. Recently, movements from his string orchestra work, States of Mind, have been performed and recorded for Munich radio by the acclaimed German jugendkammerorchester, Violinissimo.

He has won commissions and grants from the Canada, Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils, the Guitar
Society of Toronto, the Canadian Music Centre, private individuals and corporations. He has been awarded prizes at the 1985 All Japan Guitar Concours in Tokyo and the Volos International Composers Competitions of 2016 and 2017, the Malta Composers Competition of 2019. From 1986 to 1999 he was Professor of Guitar at the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Music.

The Charm of Symmetry - Kubica/vanBerkel Guitar Duo (1998) - 
La Symétrie Charmante for guitar duo

Katerina Sedelmayr plays Bach - Ginastera, Torok (2000ca) - Variations for solo guitar
Cool Steps - Triofus (2004) - Sonata for clarinet, bassoon and pianoforte
Four Panels from my Past - Triofus/Morofus (2008) - Suite for flute, clarinet and pianoforte
Naïve Rhapsody - Duo Resonance (2015) - Flute & guitar
States of Mind - Violinissimo (2017) - String Orchestra



For sample works go to:

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Alan Torok

2020 Bert Weir Commission Award Winner and composer of Morning At The Bushwall.

To be added (Bios and interviews)
Carol Ann Weaver

Emily Heimstra

Sergei Koffman

Diane Berry

Pat Morehead (interview)