About Music for Self-Isolation

Music for Self-Isolation by Frank Horvat

The Music for Self-Isolation project is a multi-faceted, collaborative music project conceived by Canadian composer and pianist, Frank Horvat. At the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic in March 2020, Horvat composed 31 short solo and duo pieces for varying instruments and voice dedicated to his musician friends as they dealt with the uncertainty of the new reality of cancelled concerts. Since that launch, over 150 videos have been posted by musicians from around the world performing these Music for Self-Isolation pieces.

The sharing of performances online prompted conversations about the challenges musicians were facing during the pandemic. This inspired Frank to start “Phase 2” of Music for Self-Isolation. Thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, he interviewed 8 musicians who had posted videos and produced audio documentary compositions telling their Pandemic Stories.

With the pandemic still raging on and musicians still not being able to get back to work, Horvat produced an album of the compositions to help capture this moment in history. Recording the album in Toronto’s iconic Roy Thomson Hall, Horvat wanted to collaborate with his colleagues to produce an album with pristine acoustics while at the same time capturing the poignancy of musicians performing in a cavernous empty hall.

A documentary film, capturing this process and chronicling more of the musicians’ stories of the pandemic, was also filmed during the recording sessions. With the support of the Toronto Arts Council and FACTOR, the album was released on the Centrediscs label on April 9, 2021, commemorating the first anniversary of the start of the pandemic lockdown in Canada. The documentary was released on May 21, 2021 exclusively on Gramophone, one of the world’s most preeminent classical music publications. Watch and find out more about the film.

The Music for Self-Isolation project is proud to support the efforts of the Unison Benevolent Fund, a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community.

Frank Horvat - composer & pianist

About Frank Horvat

Emotional and intense, Frank Horvat is an accomplished multi-genre composer who has made the tricky musical leap that allows him to pursue a niche of his own (Edmonton Journal). Frank gives his audiences time and space to reflect in this fast-paced world. His compositions tell deeply personal stories while permitting audiences to ponder their own.

His pieces have been featured on more than a dozen albums on labels such as ATMA Classique, Really Records, and Centrediscs. With composition premieres on four continents, he has performed in a variety of venues and festivals worldwide including the Glenn Gould Studio, Massey Hall, Music and Beyond Festival, NXNE, Nuit Blanche, NYC’s St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery and his compositions have been featured in plays, films and on television networks including the CBC, CBS, HBO, Vice & Bravo, as well as radio stations internationally.

He ignores boundaries and isn’t afraid to mix politics with art (Ludwig van Toronto) as many of his composition projects revolve around social issues, specifically the environment. In 2019 he was invited to talk about his music and Artivism at the Classical:NEXT conference in Rotterdam.

Some of his environmental projects include the album, For Those Who Died Trying (“the resulting [musical] tributes are poignant” – BBC Music Magazine), and social media awareness campaign #music4HRDs that musically looked at the stories of 37 environmental human rights defenders (HRDs) who have been murdered in Thailand. Almost 50 string quartets participated in the awareness campaign sharing their performance of a movement from the album with their social media followers. Participating quartets included: Juilliard String Quartet, Merel Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Utrecht String Quartet, and Zemlinsky Quartet as well as members from symphony orchestras around the world including the London Symphony.

Horvat’s very first environmental project was his album, A Little Dark Music (2010), which led to 60+ performances across North America, always in the dark, of his critically acclaimed hour-long solo piano piece, Earth Hour, on his sustainably-minded Green Keys Tour.

“Horvat’s work is exquisitely eventful and almost insidiously effective.”
– WholeNote Magazine

Born in Ottawa, a graduate in composition at the University of Toronto under Walter Buczynski and Christos Hatzis, he now lives and composes by the lake in Toronto with his wife/manager. Frank is fortunate to have received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, FACTOR, SOCAN Foundation, Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Frank is an Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre, a member of the Canadian League of Composers, and the inaugural recipient of the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award for contemporary composition.

Learn about his upcoming projects at frankhorvat.com.