B i o g r a p h y

Ian was born into a family of musicians on 4 January 1958, in Vancouver, BC.  His father sang, played piano and arranged music for a local dance band in the 1940’s.  Ian’s paternal grandmother also played piano, and her father had played in a string quartet in their native Scotland.


Musical training and talent continued into the present generation.  Ian and his three sisters sang, played piano and danced.  Ian also developed a keen interest in music theory and harmony and made his first juvenile attempts at composition.


He followed in the footsteps of one of his older sisters by becoming an Opera Major at the University of British Columbia in 1976, where he studied voice with French Tickner, who had previously taught both Judith Forst and Ben Heppner.  After a couple of years it became clear that Ian was not going to succeed as a professional singer and he began turning his attention to composition, studying with Dr. Stephen Chatman.  Ian was immediately drawn to the possibilities in atonal music, which remains his primary mode of expression 40 years later.


After school Ian moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he continued pursuing his loves of music and theatre in choirs and amateur and semi-professional productions of operettas, especially those of Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan.  It wasn’t until he was in his early 40’s, following the onset of heart disease and quadruple bypass surgery, that he retired from performing, and, needing a creative outlet, once again turned his attention to composing.


After a few short songs and choral works he churned out two chamber operas in fairly quick succession, BENJAMIN BROWN (1999) and CASSANDRA (2001) – libretto by Saskatchewan playwright Gordon Portman - in which he further explored the possibilities inherent in atonal music.  Since then he has composed several chamber works, both instrumental and vocal, songs, and a full-scale symphony.  In 2018 he collaborated on a cantata with librettist Meryn Cadell, and is currently in discussions with Portman regarding a follow-up to CASSANDRA.  He continues to write vocal music, chamber pieces, and has recently discovered a fascination with writing for pipe organ.

He is an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre and a member of both the Canadian League of Composers and SOCAN.


For information on ordering sheet music, permission to perform, or commissioning, please contact me at tradairn@gmail.com.

© 2019 by Ian McAndrew. Proudly created with Wix.com

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