Music by Michael Leibson

For me, composing music is primarily a spiritual practice. Great music — of any genre — inspires, stimulates and lifts us, and composing is my way of expressing gratitude to those who have created it, and of giving a little something back.

Art-creation is simultaneously challenging and fulfilling: it engages the maker on many levels, and can give voice to aspects of one's being that might otherwise remain mute. As the poet W.H.Auden once said, one can only write what one knows — but one doesn't know what one knows until one writes it. Composing, for me, is therefore also a path of self-discovery.

Perhaps because composing is such an intimate act, I am very private about my work. However, age streamlines priorities, and so I am sharing a few of my pieces here, beginning with a most recent composition called All That We Hold.

What is dream — what is shadow? Is what we hold in our hearts less or more real than what life itself presents? These questions are the background to All That We Hold — a classically-composed work for jazz vocalist, piano, bass and drums, and a collaboration with Canadian poet, Susan Gillis.

Winner of an Ontario Arts Council grant, All That We Hold was recorded at Victory Drive Music in 2017, featuring Toronto jazz vocalist Yvette Tollar, bassist George Koller, Cuban-Canadian percussionist Michel Medrano Brindis, and myself.