I neglected to mark here the death, in late November, of the Canadian composer Ann Southam, whose mesmerizing hour-long piano piece Simple Lines of Enquiry I picked as one of the highlights of the year 2009. (You can hear it at Other Minds radio.) Tamara Bernstein wrote a lovely obituary for the Globe and Mail. It doesn't appear online, so I thought I'd quote the opening lines: "Less than forty-eight hours before she lost a long battle with lung cancer, the composer Ann Southam sat listening to a radio station as it broadcast the well-known Humming Chorus from Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly. 'Imagine being at the first performance of that!' she exclaimed to a friend. 'What did people think of it?'" Elsewhere in the piece, Bernstein observes the intricate balance of consonant and dissonant elements in Southam's music—a balance that achieves sublime repose in Simple Lines—and quotes her saying, "Isn't that life, in a way: trying to accommodate dissonance?"
Update: The obituary has now appeared online.