john gzowski music and sound
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john gzowski

Lousi Applebaum nomination

Very excited to be nominated for this year's Louis Applebaum award from the OAC this year. Having had the chance to study briefly with Applebaum at York, this is a true honour.

Dora nominations!

Super excited to be nominated for sound design for Three Sisters and YPT's Its a Wonderful Life this year at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

Hamlet - Lepage/Coté

We premiered this amazing dance version of Hamlet at the Elgin theatre. Such a privilege to work with producer David Travers Smith and an amazing team of musicians. Peaches, Patricia O'Callaghan, Ernie Tollar, Mark Duggan, Drew Jurecka, Rebekah Wolkstein, Shannon Knights, Amahl Arulanandam, Joe Phillips, Jessi Dietschi and Ben Grossman. Recorded by David Travers Smith at Cantebury Sound.

Amazing choreography by Guillaume Coté, the super creative directing of Robert Lepage and an amazing cast of dancers made this one a total pleasure and honour to work on.

Three Sisters - Soulpepper

This show was everything that I like about theatre, a great script, great team and director in Mumbi Tilndyebwa Otu and great designers. It gave me a chance to learn a bit more about a different culture, setting Chekov in Nigeria in the 1960's and a chance to lear a bit more about Nigerian music working with vocal coach Kunle Olorundare. There was some music to write, some sounds to fill out the story and work to help coach the acotrs to play some music for the show. Total pleasure.


During Covid i completed a Masters in Composition up at York and this year am expanding that starting up a PhD in Digital Media.

Over the last few years, inspired by working on Synaptic Rodeo at the LIVELab in McMaster, I've been investigating what the neuroscience model of the Predictive Mind means as a composer and musician. Its very exciting work to me, reframing how I think we hear and create sound in both a simpler framework that allows for more complex and clearer thinking about creation.

Also excited to return to LIVELab this fall to remount Synaptic Rodeo!

Its a Wonderful Life - YPT

Working with director Herbie Poole and assistant sound designer Jacob Lin along we created a cast performed foley track for the cast of the radio play version of Its a Wonderful Life. I gave a few tips and a quick workshop and the cast picked it up quickly, with everyone chipping in some great additions to the foley world.

Angels In America

Director and producer Craig Pike's Angels In America was a joy to work on, presented at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Great play, great cast and team. The two nights of shows were long and great theatre.

Hamlet - Coté Dance/Ex Machina

First showing of Guillaume Coté and Robert Lepage's Hamlet, a full length dance version of the Shakespeare I'm writing music for. This version will used samples for the music but this fall we'll record a band of string quintet, electric guitar, harpsichord and percussion for a score that is over an hour and a half. Super exciting and cool version that I'm very proud to be composing on.

Premier in Saint Sauveur

Village Wooing - Shaw Festival

Director Selma Dimitrijevic used a cast of 6 people rotating through 2 parts in this production of one of Shaw's shorter works. Rather than using a fixed score with different people playing each show, I used cues based of groups of variations of ideas, with each cue firing off a random option that included not playing anything. This gave the show a slightly different score to work with the different casting for each show.

Treemonisha - Volcano

Helped implement Michael Laird's design and manage and mix Scott Joplin's opera, Treemonisha, for Volcano Theatre at the Luminato Festival. Its a great piece with a live band onstage that just needed a bit of sonic help to work at the Bluma Appel theatre, a subtle job that helped the audience fully experience the work without getting in the way.

Nuit - Citadel + Compagnie

Reworked the original sound design for Jean-Pierre Perreault's 1986 choreography for Citadel + Compagnie for the Luminato Festival. Its a beautiful piece where all the sounds are created by the dancers. I helped design and mix the stage mics to pick up all the footsteps, breaths, vocal sounds and textures that create a fascinating score.

Haptic Voices - Inter Access

Jim Ruxton and David Bobier's installation used 10 channels of sound exciters to create a wall for 'listeners' to lean into and experience sound as full body vibrations. I created a 3 minute, 10 channel piece, Perception/Preception using low frequency sounds of square waves to play with the change between rhythm and pitch. Leaning into the wall and feeling/experiencing the works for this installation was really exciting.

Haptic Voices

Paint me this house of love - Tarragon

Chelsea Woolley's script was a pleasure to work on, she used broken thoughts and language to create really interesting characters. Mike Payette's direction was clear and detailed. The show didn't need much sound or music but I was happy to be there and add what was needed.

Mahabharata - Why Not Theatre/Shaw/Barbican

Working with co-composer/bandleader Suba Sankaran, we created the music for this two part retelling of Mahabharata for Ravi Jain's Why Not Theatre, the Shaw Festival and the Barbican. Such a privilege and honour to work on this piece. The first part, Karma, involved Suba and I onstage with a six piece band performing live with the actors and the second part was recorded but also included a 15 minute aria in Sanskrit we wrote sung by the lovely Meher Pavri.

A bit of what the press said:
A fantastic six-piece band led by guitarist John Gzowski adds plenty of nuance along the way.

The centrepiece of the entire show is a mesmerizing opera sequence with Meher Pauri, achingly showing us the inhumanity of war.

Part 2 contains the Bhagavad Gita opera sung in exquisite stillness by Meher Pavri. She is dressed in a gold gown (kudos to Gillian Gallow for the beautiful costumes) and sunburst head covering. She slowly moves cross the stage singing the opera, her hands are by her sides. There are no gestures for emotion. It’s all in the singing. Stunning.

The beautiful score by John Gzowski and Suba Sankaran underscores the telling of the story without ever distracting from it. It always enhances the story and accentuates the power of war.

For me, the focal point of Karma is the musical ensemble, comprised of Dylan Bell, Gurtej Singh Hunjan, Hasheel Lodhia, Zaheer-Abbas Janmohamed, Suba Sankaran, and conductor John Gzowski. The music, composed by Gzowski and Sankaran, is a beautiful accompaniment, perfectly timed and tuned to the tone of the piece: and just as impressive are the sound effects created by the instruments and the musicians themselves. Crackling fires and slithering serpents, a fishing net being thrown into a river — every sound is precisely calibrated. Just as the direction of this Mahabharata involves both contemporary and classical forms of storytelling, the blend of instruments represents varying cultures and traditions, from guitar and keyboard to bansuri and tabla.

Part Two also includes an original Sanskrit operatic adaptation of The Bhagavad Gita, the most renowned, influential and significant passage of The Mahabharata. London, Ontario soprano Meher Pavri, 2007’s Miss India Canada, takes the spotlight with her powerful voice in a show stopping performance here.

New - Necessary Angel/ RMTC /Canstage

Sound design and music for Pamela Sinha's great new work, New. Director Alan Dilworth smartly directed this show about the Indian community in Winnipeg in the 1970's. Some great writing and chances for music to help set the tone and style for the show.

In the Fire - Femmes du Feu

Vocal score! I created music for Holly's lovely show about her firefighter father, George. It was a series of SATB vocal pieces for Opus 8 using text from George in interview and some I wrote mixed in with some instrumental music. Opus 8 sung live with Holly dancing and performing her circus routines. Here's the trailer with a song I wrote using George's verbatim text. Score available for those looking for a cappella pieces about firefighters….

Femmes du Feu

Confluence - Anne Bourne/Bentway

I helped spatialize Anne Bourne's music for Confluence, at the Bentway as part of an installation. We took her cello and piano tracks and mixed them for a 16 channel immersive system underneath the Gardiner Expressway. Merging the music with the installation and working with the traffic sounds above our heads gave a surprisingly serene and beautiful atmosphere for the work.

Svaha - Nova Dance

Helped out Nova B and composer/performer Ed Hanley by doing a bit of sound design for Nova's excellent dance work at the Bluma Appel theatre. Helping mix in the sound of the dancers and Ed's live tabla, a dj and his recorded music was a total pleasure.

The Miser - Stratford

I did the sound design on a modern take of Moliere's The Miser, the amazing Colm Feore was featured along with a stellar cast directed by Antoni Cimolino.
Total pleasure!

The Miser

Dixon Road - Music Stage/Obsidian

In the pit!
Had the pleasure of playing oud, acoustic and electric guitar for this great new musical in High Park.
Great band and team, lovely writing by Fatuma Adar and great MD with Chris Barillaro.

Dixon Road

Art in Transit - Luminato

What a crazy fun experience!
As part of Art in Transit I played banjo on different GO lines as part of a performance project put together by Luminato.

Art in Transit link

Richard III - Stratford

What an honour and privilege to get to work on this show!
Opening the brand new and beautiful sounding Tom Patterson Theatre, Antoni Cimolino's direction established a dark and beautiful world for Colm Feore and the cast.
I worked on the sound designer, with composer Bert Carriere, making use of the amazing new sound system and NS10 noise floor.
Really enjoyed using 7.1 wavs to create a full surround experience for the audience in that theatre.

Richard III Stratford page

Too True to be Good - Shaw

Shaw's play is a crazy tour of ideas, but perhaps the most fun and interesting way to get access to some of Shaw's philosophy.
Director Sanjay Talwar got the most of the cast and production for this show, total pleasure to work and watch.

Too True to be Good @ Shaw

Room - The Grand/Mirvish

Cancelled on opening night at the start of the pandemic, Room finally opened at the Grand in London, followed by a run for Mirvish at the Princess of Wales Theatre.