Plum gig for Maple Ridge composer

Maple Ridge’s Trevor Hoffman will have his work featured at this year’s VSO Jean Coulthard Readings

Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman is careful not to sound like a music nerd, a guy with fondness for avant-garde scores, while describing his latest creation.

Finding the words to describe a piece of music that’s yet to be played, though, is proving a little tricky.

“I have a melody. It is a 12 or 16 bar melody but you don’t hear the melody completely until the end of the piece,” says Hoffman, halting as he dissects the composition which will be read by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra next week.

“The whole idea of the piece is these different textures and sounds swirling all around. The melody is fragmented, so you’ll hear pieces of it with different instruments. As the piece progresses you’ll hear more and more of the melody and finally at the end of the piece, you’ll hear it in its completeness.”

Hoffman’s composition is one of six orchestral works selected Jean Coulthard Readings this year.

Named in honour of one of BC’s most beloved composers, the readings give emerging B.C. composers an invaluable chance to have their work played by a professional orchestra.

For a young composer, the task, though daunting, was one to covet.

“It is quite an opportunity,” says Hoffman, who is making a mark in the music composition world at a young age of 20.

He notes Jean Coulthard, who the readings are named after, was almost 40 when her first composition was performed by an orchestra.

“As a young composer to have the piece that you’ve worked on played by an actual orchestra is amazing.”

A classically trained pianist, Hoffmann is currently studying music at UBC after completing two years at Douglas College on a full scholarship.

He is principal accompanist to the MyVoice Chor Leoni boys choir and the co-founder of Vivace Music Entertainment, a company which provides live music for weddings and corporate events. He also maintains a thriving private teaching studio, instructing students in piano and theory from a beginner level to grade 10 in Maple Ridge, but now is the head of the contemporary piano division at Tom Lee Music in downtown Vancouver.

He also collaborates with Vancouver directors on scores for short films, documentaries, and video games.

The four-minute long piece he wrote for the VSO combines his love of film scores and classical compositions.

“The two worlds are often far apart but I can’t help that both of those worlds influence each other,” says Hoffman, who also works as an arranger and editor with award-winning composer Daniel Ingram and Jeff Toyne.

“This piece is not a piece of film music but definitely inspired by it.”

Hoffman began writing the VSO composition last summer and says he made sure the piece was accessible to the novice listeners as well as someone with a trained musical ear.

“My father – he’s wonderful but he knows next to nothing about music,” Hoffman explains.

“I want him to be able to enjoy my music but at the same time, I want my professors from UBC or any of my composition teachers to be able to listen to it and for it to have depth. I think I’ve done a fairly good job of capturing the essence of both those worlds.”

• The Jean Coulthard Readings are open to the public. Score readings take place Wednesday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.