Saturday, July 28, 2012


"I Am In Need of Music" is Now Available!

New settings of Elizabeth Bishop poems, created for her one hundredth birthday by a stellar band of Canadian composers!

CD purchase: CentreDisc, ArkivMusic
mp3 album: Amazon

A heart-felt "Thank You!" to everyone who helped us to record the new settings of Elizabeth Bishop poems, created for her centenary by a stellar band of Canadian composers!  Your generosity allowed us to supply $37, 851 towards the $60, 000 cost of this project!

Our Donor Honour Roll

We're on a roll! 

Help us get from our current
$37,851 to our goal of $60,000!

Make your contribution via PayPal by clicking the "Donate" button below

Prefer to contribute by cheque? Click here.

And now here is SUZIE LEBLANC to say a few words about our project --

“Home-made, home-made! But aren’t we all?”
(from “Crusoe in England,” by Elizabeth Bishop)


The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia is thrilled to be collaborating with internationally renowned soprano Suzie LeBlanc, the sparkling Blue Engine String Quartet, the remarkable conductor/composer/musician Dinuk Wijeratne, and a stellar list of Canadian composers — Christos Hatzis, Alasdair MacLean, Emily Doolittle, and John Plant — in the creation of the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy recording. This recording will comprise new works (see repertoire below), settings of Elizabeth Bishop poems, which were commissioned, created and premiered for the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (EB100) celebrations in Nova Scotia in 2011. Some of the pieces were performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, conducted by Maestro Bernhard Gueller, on 10 February 2011, as the first event of EB100. Others were premiered at a gala concert on 2 October 2011, in Great Village, N.S., the culmination of the year-long festival. The technical production for our Legacy Project is in the capable hands of producer John Adams [Stonehouse Sound] and Rod Sneddon, recording engineer. None of this can happen though, without your help!


Christos Hatzis – “Four songs”
(1) “I am in Need of Music”
(2) “Insomnia”
(3) “The Unbeliever”
(4) “Anaphora”

Alasdair MacLean –
(5) “The Silken Water is Weaving and Weaving” -- instrumental
(6) “Dear, My Compass”
(7) “Close, Close All Night”
(8) “Breakfast Song”

Emily Doolittle –
(9) “A Short Slow Life”

John Plant –
(10) “Sunday 4 A.M.”
(11) “Sandpiper”


Suzie LeBlanc

I found a leaflet on Elizabeth Bishop in the basement of St. James' Church in Great Village, Nove Scotia, while on tour. I wanted to know more about her and sought a book of her poems in the library a few weeks later. I first read “The Map” and was intrigued by Bishop’s sense of observation. She seemed to be able to see the reverse of things, the X-ray version or the negative as in photography, what most of us don’t see, or hear.

A few months later, I was sitting in the Ouro Preto CafĂ© in Halifax, talking with Sandra Barry, herself a poet and one of the owners of the Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village. Together, we decided to create a Centenary Festival to honour her and also to reclaim her as a Canadian poet. Bishop herself said: “I am ¾ Canadian and ¼ New Englander”. She spent a large part of her youth living in Great Village, where she began primary school, and returned to Nova Scotia as an adult, on holiday. Many of her more famous poems are connected to this land and its people: her mother land.

Thank you for your generosity in making this legacy project come to life so that Bishop can continue to inspire and change people’s appreciation of life and art, as she has for me.


The funds will cover the musician’s fees, the producer and engineer’s fees, post production cost and basic administration costs of the project. If we should exceed our goal, any further money received will be applied to other Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Projects. We will report weekly in a special post to the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Blog on the progress of our campaign, which is scheduled to conclude on September 30, 2012.


Who is Elizabeth Bishop?

EB as a Child
Elizabeth Bishop as a Child

Elizabeth Bishop was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1911. Her mother was from Great Village, Nova Scotia, and Elizabeth spent a significant part of her childhood and adolescence there. Her childhood experiences in Canada left indelible marks on her life and art. Many of her most beloved poems and stories are set in Great Village.

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop at Balmoral Grist Mill, Nova Scotia, 1972

What is Elizabeth Bishop’s Legacy?
Elizabeth Bishop’s poems and stories have been translated into many languages. Her poetry is taught in schools and universities across the globe. Dozens of books have been written about her. Plays and films have depicted her life and work. Interest in every aspect of her art continues to intensify. Why? Because she wrote some of the most important, beautiful, moving poetry of the twentieth century. An Elizabeth Bishop poem can change your life.

Elizabeth Bishop herself loved music of all genres. As a young woman she studied piano. A clavichord accompanied her on her many moves. She aspired to write song lyrics, and when living in Brazil, translated and wrote sambas for Carnival. She attended the premiere of famed American composer Elliott Carter’s settings of her poems, so she knew and approved of this kind of treatment of her work. The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia believes that Bishop would have loved the music created under her inspiration by these amazing Canadian composers.

What is the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia?

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia was formed in 1994. Its mandate is to celebrate the life and art of Elizabeth Bishop and to educate Nova Scotians and the world about her enduring connection to Nova Scotia. The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia is a registered Canadian charitable society, which holds events and engages in projects that advance this mandate.

What was the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary (EB100)?

February 8, 2011, marked the centenary of Elizabeth Bishop’s birth. Artists, scholars and readers around the world celebrated this anniversary with readings, lectures, exhibitions, conferences, concerts and festivals. Under the auspices of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Festival Committee, Nova Scotia was in the forefront of these celebrations. Communities across the province, dozens of artists from a wide range of disciplines, hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of participants of all ages, with the generous support and cooperation of local, provincial and national governmental funding agencies, created a year-long extravaganza unprecedented in the history of Canadian poetry. Much of this activity involved exciting and innovative collaboration between and among artists and local communities.

What did EB100 give us?

One of the most exciting things about EB100 in Nova Scotia was the incredible amount of new work created by a wide range of artists in tribute to, and in honour of, Elizabeth Bishop: writing, painting, photography, film and music. Unquestionably, though, it was the new music inspired by her poetry and created by the renowned Canadian composers participating in this Legacy Project which has been one of the most significant achievements of the celebrations in Nova Scotia. The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia is committed to helping create a permanent recording of this beautiful, exciting, inspiring music.



We would like to thank film-maker Dawn Harwood Jones for her work on Suzie's video, and photographers Jonna Datz and Travis Malay for their contribution of images to it.

Suzie LeBlanc and the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording is a sponsored project of The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia, a charitable arts organization in Nova Scotia. Contributions by cheque for the purposes of this recording should be made payable to the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia., and may be sent to

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia
PO Box 138
Great Village, Nova Scotia B0M 1L0

For Canadian contributors, tax receipts will be issued if requested for part of each contribution $50 or above, to the extent permitted by law. Full name and mailing address are required in order to receive a thank you gift (and/or a Canadian tax receipt, if you would like one.)