Barry Truax

Barry Truax



Barry Truax is a Professor in both the School of Communication and the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University where he teaches courses in acoustic communication and electroacoustic music.

He has worked with the World Soundscape Project, editing its Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, and has published a book Acoustic Communication dealing with all aspects of sound and technology.

As a composer, Truax is best known for his work with the PODX computer music system which he has used for tape solo works and those which combine tape with live performers or computer graphics.

A selection of these pieces may be heard on the recording Sequence of Earlier Heaven, and the Compact Discs Digital Soundscapes, Pacific Rim, Song of Songs, Inside, Islands, and Twin Souls, all on the Cambridge Street Records label, as well as the double CD of the opera Powers of Two and the latest CD, Spirit Journies.

In 1991 his work, Riverrun, was awarded the Magisterium at the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France, a category open only to electroacoustic composers of 20 or more years experience. He is also the recipient of one of the 1999 Awards for Teaching Excellence at Simon Fraser University.



Written By: Barry Truax

Steam is an homage to the unique Canadian whistles and foghorns that populate the nation's soundscape from coast to coast. Some are actual steam whistles, but most are the air horns designed by Robert Swanson to imitate their earlier counterparts, the most famous being the E-flat minor triad of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway and the O Canada horn in Vancouver. Other horns that are heard in the piece are a shift whistle in Prince Edward Island, a steam foghorn in New Brunswick, the Royal Hudson steam train, the West Coast Express, the CPR and Chemainus mill shift whistles, all from the West Coast. The rich timbres of these horns provide a set of pitches that are elaborated in the live part. The work is dedicated to the memory of Robert Swanson, one of the most significant designers of the Canadian soundscape. Steam was commissioned by Kathryn Cernauskas.

Original sound recordings by the World Soundscape Project and the composer.

Steam is available on the Cambridge Street Records CD, Spirit Journies performed by Chenoa Anderson.


(Produced by the Composer)

Sonic Landscapes

Melbourne SMLP 4033 (She, a Solo, Trigon, Sonic Landscape No. 3, Nautilus) 1977


Melbourne SMLP 4042/43 (Love Songs, Androgyny, The Blind Man, Aerial, Ascendance, Arras) 1980

Sequence of Earlier Heaven

Cambridge Street Records CSR 8501 (East Wind, Nightwatch, Wave Edge, Solar Ellipse) 1985

Digital Soundscapes

(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-8701 & Wergo Records WER 2017-50 (The Blind Man, Aerial, Wave Edge, Solar Ellipse, Riverrun) 1987

Pacific Rim

(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-9101 (East Wind, Arras, The Wings of Nike, Pacific) 1991

Song of Songs

(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-9401 (Basilica, Song of Songs, Sequence of Later Heaven, Nightwatch) 1994


(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-9601 (Powers of Two: The Artist, Bamboo Silk & Stone, Inside, Beauty and the Beast) 1996

Soundscape Vancouver

(Double Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR-2CD 9701 (Pacific Fanfare) 1997


(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-0101 (Pacific Fanfare, Pendlerdrøm, La Sera di Benevento, Dominion, Island) 2001

Twin Souls

(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-0102 (Wings of Fire, Androgyne, Mon Amour, Patterns, She, a Solo, Twin Souls) 2001

Powers of Two (Opera)

(Double Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR 2CD-0401 (Powers of Two, Sequence of Earlier Heaven, Sequence of Later Heaven) 2004.

SFU 40

(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-0501 (Androgyny, and works by other SFU composers) 2005

Spirit Journies

(Compact Disc) Cambridge Street Records CSR CD-0701 (Steam, Temple, Prospero's Voyage, The Shaman Ascending, The Way of the Spirit) 2007