Magnetic North


For more information, and for scores and parts, please visit the Canadian Music Centre.

Title: Magnetic North
Year Completed: 2016
Duration: 6:45
Instrumentation: violin and piano
Credits: Written for James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong
Premiere: James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong, Northern Arts and Cultural Centre Yellowknife NT, May 18 2016.

Now online – a video of the fantastic violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong playing my composition Magnetic North at the 2016 Royal Conservatory of Music 21C festival.


James and Andrew tune up at the 20-minute mark, and the tune runs from 20:23 to 27:10.

Program note:

The power to attract… this is the quality of something magnetic. Magnets with opposite charges pull towards each other; similar charges repel. A compass needle points towards the magnetic north pole. And whether it was 15,000 years ago, 50 years ago, or last week, people have been pulled, pointed, and attracted to Canada’s north. Even the magnetic north pole itself is on a journey: it is in continual motion due to changes in the Earth’s core. For over 180 years it has been observed moving north through the islands of the Canadian Arctic. Now the magnetic north pole has passed the geographic north pole and is actually heading south towards Siberia. 

Magnetic North merges scientific information about magnets and the magnetic north pole with a personal reflection on my family’s journey to the north many years ago. Dedicated to my grandparents, Esther and Bill Braden, and their bravery which brought them to the north. And to their love for the place, for their family and for each other.