Title: Silenced
Year Completed: 2007
Duration: 24 mins
Instrumentation: String Quartet, B-flat Clarinet and CD
Credits: Funding provided by Arts Nova Scotia. Poetry by Donna E. Smyth.
Premiere: Nov 17, 2007 Festival Theatre, Acadia University Wolfville, NS: S. Fisher / Blue Engine String Quartet

Purchase/Rent: Canadian Music Centre

Clarinetist Stan Fisher approached me in 2006 asking about a project.  He wanted to deal with the issue of violence against women and essentially asked me for a work of an elegiac nature.  I thought about the project quite a bit before responding.  At first I wasn't too sure about tackling this subject matter — I didn't think that I had any direct experience with violence against women.  But after a while I realized this is a subject that affects us all; our wives, sisters, daughters, friends, relatives. In the process I gained some new knowledge about the issues. Silenced is an artistic statement about violence against woman. At its core are two tragic events: (1) events leading to the Robert Picton Trial in B.C and (2) the murder of 14 women at the École Polytechnique Massacre in Quebec. Watching the horrific events unfold in the Robert Pickton trial had an impact on my thoughts for the work.  I grew up in the lower mainland of BC.  This was such a terrible tragedy, made worse because of the lack of interest from the police for such a long time. All of those missing women, and no one really paid any attention. I decided to call the work "Silenced" to reflect the lost voices. The piece was composed over a four-month stretch.

Donna Smyth contributed her beautiful poem Spirit-Wind for the last 6 minutes of the work. It is played back on a CD while the string quartet performs. Donna reads the poem on the soundscape. We also created a soundtrack of voices that include a selection of students who were at Acadia during this time.

Media Details:

CD player / or computer
2 Monitors


Blue Engine String Quartet | Donna Smyth

derek charke silenced
Excerpt - Stan Fisher, clarinet / Blue Engine String Quartet (First 3 minutes)