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Dzunukwa: Beneath the Canopy, Through the Underworld



Narrator, 100+ piece symphonic band, Children's choir, Improvisation Choir, Chamber Ensemble (1010/ 0110 / 2Perc / Pno / 10101)


Composed for the Western Front, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, for their outreach programs.  Performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Express Your Voice Adult Choir, Amassed Band from Sir Charles Tupper SS, Vancouver Tech SS, Killarney SS, and Youth Choir from Queen Elizabeth PS.


Story as told by William Wasden, from traditional Kwakwaka'wakw lore.


Commission funds provided by a Celebrate Vancouver 125 grant.


  • Premiere: November 13, 2011, Vancouver Central Library, Vancouver/British Columbia, Scott Good - conductor


A musical setting of a traditional Kwakwaka'wakw story of the Dzunukwa, an ogress of legend, known for being both a dangerous spirit, and a bringer of wealth.  The score uses both traditional songs and new material throughout the composition.


Synopsis: A young noble boy, who is misbehaving, is taken by the Dzunukwa in the night.  Escaping through the underworld, he eventually ends up at the Dzunukwa's home, where the beast implores him to give her ear piercings just like his.  Using the magical power of cedar wood, the boy drives wooden spikes through the ears of the Dzunukwa, and kills her.  He returns home a hero.

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