Steven Webb (Toronto)

Composition | Breathing Room

Instrumentation | Alto Flute and Fixed Electronics

@stevenwebbmusic | @stevenwebbmusic


Originally from South Africa, Steven Webb (b.1989) is a Toronto based composer and sound designer. Webb creates new music and video art from an eclectic mix of influences including retro science-fiction, horror, 1990s computer software, and the orchestral cinematic tradition. His current compositional work is concerned with examining the human experience, with the disorientation, confusion, and dread that arises from living in a world dealing with a climate crisis, and the increasing isolation of the individual in spite of our hyper-connectivity. Steven’s artistic output ranges from works for orchestra, to choirs and glitch electronica scores for video games, with his compositions and arrangements having been performed by: The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, The Thin Edge Music Collective, Pro Coro Canada, The Hamilton Children’s Choir, Exultate Chamber Singers, and Prairie Voices, among many others. In addition to completing his Doctorate degree at the University of Toronto, he currently works as a full-time composer, sound designer and collaborative pianist. Steven is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers, (SOCAN), as well as the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and is an Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre.

Programme Notes

Scored for alto flute and fixed electronics, Breathing Room is a collage made up of recorded sounds I made of the environment around me over the past seven years living in Toronto, Ontario. Throughout these seven years, the sounds of my city have changed drastically. In 2020, the global pandemic disrupted the the sonic landscape, with much of the vibrancy and life being leeched from the city's character as we all retreated into our homes. These seven years have also seen the gradual erosion of the Greenbelt in Southern Ontario, as our provincial government continues to open it up for development. This degradation of our urban forests, ravines, and surrounding greenspace additionally alters its sonic characterstics, with the acoustic ecology being damaged as species and habitats are destroyed in the name of much needed housing. All of the movements are sonic snapshots in time, echoes of already faded memories — here presented for posterity.