John Randolph (Randy) Demmon, began performing music in his home province of British Columbia at a very early age. He sang and played piano in pop and blues bands through his teens and following high school, enrolled in the Dept. of Music at U.B.C.
At U.B.C. he was a composition student of Jean Coulthard Adams, studied oboe with Warren Stannard and was a member of NYO. He has a B.A. in music, a B.Ed, (both U.B.C.), an M.A. in Canadian Studies (Carleton) and a M.Ed. Admin. (Ottawa U).
After UBC, he moved to Yellowknife where he was tasked with initiating music programs in N.W.T. schools. In addition to establishing band and choral programs for the local community he developed unique programs to meet the needs of indigenous students from across the territories. Lacking suitable resources, he created original material taken by ear from current and historical recordings. The skills he honed in that job came in handy when he later moved to Ottawa to join the RCMP Band.
He was hired as an oboist by the band but before long, switched to piano. Randy formed and led a group named “Bison”. That band had the good fortune to travel the world as Canadian musical Ambassadors in several South American countries, Europe, Australia, Tasmania, India and the U.S. More notably, it also toured throughout Canada including, nearly every settlement in the North. The musicians in Bison were interested in performing and promoting Canadian music. To do so, they needed original compositions and arrangements, many of which were written by Randy. That experience provided an opportunity for him to develop further as a composer and arranger. While with the band he also wrote and recorded theme music for the Year of the Disabled Persons and for the Calgary Winter Olympics.
After leaving the “Bison” band, Randy continued to perform as a pianist, often playing his own compositions. By the time the National Conservatory began including his pieces in their repertoire books, composing had become a primary focus of his musical career.
His output includes a concerto for flute and String Orchestra, a fleugelhorn concerto with orchestra, incidental music for String Orchestra, music for choir, and many pieces for a variety of small ensembles. Much of his music is written for piano. As the titles of his pieces suggest, they are often linked to and reflective of, place and stories based on his personal experience. Much of his music is written in a manner which accommodates and encourages exploration and improvisation. The composer’s music has been performed by string orchestra at Ground Zero in New York City and in Spain.
Books by Randy Demmon