Roberta Stephen

Roberta Stephen – Tribute to A Champion of Canadian Contemporary Music

Roberta Stephen

Roberta Mae Stephen (1931-2021), Calgary-based composer, music publisher and teacher.

Roberta Stephen composed for many Alberta-based and Canadian musicians and performing ensembles. Her music continues to be performed throughout Canada at music festivals and competitions, and her edited publications of many of Canada’s eminent composers are found in library collections, including the National Library of Canada, university music libraries, private music studio collections and on the syllabi of national music examining boards, including Conservatory Canada and the Royal Conservatory of Music.

She was instrumental in founding the Contemporary Showcase Festival Calgary, established the first chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) in Canada and, in 1980, after the publication of a single volume of piano music (in partnership with music colleagues) launched Alberta Keys, a publishing company dedicated to the promotion of music by Canadian composers of works for piano, voice, strings, woodwinds and chamber ensembles for teaching and performance.

Roberta was a member of the Canadian League of Composers (CLC), the Association of Canadian Women Composers (ACWC), and the Canadian Music Centre (CMC). In 2002, she was recognized by the Prairie Region of the CMC for her efforts to promote the work of other Canadian composers. In 2014, in conjunction with NATS and ARMTA, the CMC sponsored a tribute concert where several of her works were performed and a scholarship was established in her name. She was the recipient of three lifetime achievement awards: from the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association (2014); the ACWC (2019); and the CMC (2019).

Roberta was an exemplary teacher and mentor; a friend to many musicians and composers across Canada; and a devoted partner, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for a rich and full life in the musical arts.

Palliser Music Publishing is indebted to Roberta and inspired by her vision. We celebrate the life and work of a cultural icon, committed to the publication of creative work by Canadian composers and responsible for the preservation and promotion of a legacy of Canadian music.