University of Calgary

Sweet Olympic music

Donovan Seidle, BMus’99, was planning to spend his sabbatical this year in New York, working on some projects and hanging out. But then the Olympics got in the way.

Seidle, who has been assistant concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for six years, is the associate music director for the Vancouver Winter Games. Together with director and fellow Calgary musician Dave Pierce, the two are in charge of producing all the original music for the Olympics, including opening and closing ceremonies as well as for victory celebrations. "It's just a tonne of music that we’re going to have to produce so we're hitting the ground running. When I was approached, I jumped at the offer; because when else can you be involved with something this big?"

Specific details about the Olympic music are tightly guarded. Along with composing many pieces, the duo will be farming out work to composers and performers across Canada and bringing them in to record in their in-house studio in Vancouver. But the job requires Seidle's varied skill set that he learned along the way from his U of C days to his master's degree at Northwestern. This means everything from producing and conducting to playing, arranging, composing, score editing, synthesizer programming, video-editing and clerical work.

Seidle and Pierce have worked on many projects together over the years, from live production like the Stampede grandstand show to other events right across North America and in Europe. "It's just been a wild ride with him. Because we've worked so well together, I know how his mind works. You kind of have to expect the unexpected with Dave. He gets involved in some really big things so it’s neat to be working with a person that ambitious."

And once the Olympics are over, count on Seidle to be on his way to the Big Apple—unless of course some other big project comes up.