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Biography

William Pura was born in Manitoba, Canada and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba followed by a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University in the U.S. He subsequently returned to Manitoba where he taught at the University of Manitoba School of Art until 2010.

Mr. Pura has exhibited widely in Canada and internationally. He has had solo exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, as well as private galleries such as the Thomas Gallery, and the Uptown Gallery. He has been included in many international exhibitions in centers such as Chicago, Illinois; El Paso, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Rockford, Illinois; cities throughout Australia; Maastricht, Holland; and Kiev, Ukraine.

His most recent solo exhibition is Inland Sea (August, 2015) a selection of photographs of Lake Winnipeg from the past 10 years, was held at Gurevich Fine Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Besides several public institutions such as The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, and the United States Information Agency, Washington DC, his work is part of many corporate and private collections in both the United States and Canada including: Prudential Life Insurance Co., Miller Brewing Company, Esso Resources, College of Physicians and Surgeons in Manitoba, Nova Corporation, Archer Communications, C.P.Rail, Trimac Corporation, and Pitblado, Buchwald, Asper.

As a composer he has been involved in many aspects of the arts community. As one of the founders of the Manitoba Composers' Association, he served as its president and vice-president. He also served as a council member for the Canadian League of Composers for several years as well as for the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region.

In 1980 he formed the new music organization IZMusic along with 3 other composers, presenting several concerts of new music each season in Winnipeg. Later, this group merged with two others to form the much larger Groundswell organization. In 1998 he left that organization to pursue other projects.

In 1988 he released his first album of music for violin, performed by Victor Schultz and pianist Alice Enns. This music, along with several newer compositions was re-released on CD under the title Dark Land Black Water.

In 1989, 1990 and 1991 his music was performed in Kiev, Ukraine as part of their new music festivals.

In 1993 his composition Sequences was performed by the Winnipeg Symphony at their New Music Festival and RainDances was performed by the Da Capo Chamber Players in the Sonic Boom Festival in New York City the same year.

In April 2001, his musical drama Batoche, based on the poetry of Kim Morrissey, was premiered at the Saskatoon Symphony's New Music Festival. This hour-long work used two singers along with 3 dancers and a small ensemble of 10 musicians to tell the tragic story of the Riel Rebellion of 1885 in Saskatchewan.

Other new works include a piece for solo piano, Labyrinth, commissioned by pianist Jamie Syer which has been included in the new CD of music for piano and harpsichord, Expressions, by Sylvia Shadick Taylor.

His newest CD, also performed by Ms. Shadick Taylor, Piano NorthWest, released in March 2015, includes a number of major works for piano including the Sonata NorthWest 1985, a 33 minute exploration of themes connected to the prairie landscape and its history. Also included on the disc is Nemesis, which received its US premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in March 2011.

In 2006 William Pura completed a residency in Passau, Germany at the Kulturmodell where he had an exhibition and a short concert of his music.

Other experiments in multi-media include the music for Chiaroscuro, developed with artist Edward Bernstein and also available as a DVD.

In 2010 he created the soundtrack for the aerial dance video Aerial Artistry by Talia Pura, which was featured in the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

He continues to work on new projects at his studio near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

William Pura