About Erika

Erika Yost’s compositions have been performed in Canada, the USA and Europe (where she is also known by her Latvian name Ērika Joste). She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Music Major from the University of Toronto, and an Associate Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto. In addition, she studied composition privately with Alexander Rapoport and George Thurgood. Erika’s works have been performed by the Toyich International Projects Monster Concert (10 grand pianos together!) at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, by vocal group Putni in Latvia, and by several choirs in Canada. Selections from her 2010 CD of solo piano music “Roma” have been played on CBC radio. Erika writes in a very accessible style using an extended tonal harmonic palette, often including jazz influences. Her choral music, at times smoothly expressive, at times rhythmically driven, is noted for its ease of voice leading, and naturalness of text setting, leading one conductor to call it “exquisite”.  In addition to choral and piano music, Erika’s 55+ works include art song and chamber music for various instrumental combinations. She is a member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers and an affiliate member of the Canadian League of Composers. Erika is based in Toronto, Canada and Riga, Latvia, where she is currently studying composition as a non-degree student at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Music Academy, under professor Selga Mence.

Some Representative Works:

Latgalē pat dziesmas dejo! Latgale folksong arrangements (2016, string quartet) 1. Sytūs pi lūga, 2. Vysi kūceņi raudova, 3. Ti ir labi olu dzert, 4. Div’ laiveņas peld pa jyuru.

Psalm 121. (2009, revised 2016, SATB choir a cappella.) Premiered by the St. John’s Church Vocal Ensemble in 2016.

Sava Vieta uz Zemes (My Place on the Earth): Six Poems by Fricis Bārda. (2015, SSAA choir with optional Cello) 1. Debess (Sky), 2. Dzīvības kokam (To the Tree of Life), 3. Rozes (Roses), 4. Līst (It rains), 5. Rasas princesīte (The Dew Princess), 6. Pēdējā dziesma (The Last Song). In Latvian. Written for the Latvian Women’s choir “Putni” (Birds). First Movement premiered by Putni in Latvia, September 2015. Sixth movement premiered by the St. John’s Church Vocal Ensemble in 2016.

Ciao, Bella! (2009, solo piano) Premiered at Walter Hall, University of Toronto in May 2009. Released on the CD “Roma” in 2010, and played on CBC Regional Radio.

The Gift. (2007, SATB choir with piano.) Commissioned by The Jarvis C. I. Reunion Choir and premiered by them in May 2007.

Mist in the Mountains: Songs on Ancient Chinese Texts. (2007, mezzo soprano and piano, later reworked for clarinet and piano) 1. Drinking Alone with the Moon. 2. Magnolia Basin. 3. Sunset. In English.  Premiered in March 2007 by Erika Yost and Heidi Saario at the Women’s Art Association.

Spirit of Canada: 3 Canadian Folksongs for 10 pianos. (2004, 10 pianos in a monster concert setting.) Commissioned by the Toyich International Projects Monster Concert. Premiered at Nathan Phillips Square Toronto, June 2004 with William Shookoff conducting.

Saules aicinājums (The Sun’s Invitation). (2003, SATB choir a cappella). Premiered in May 2003 by Dzirksts Latvian Choir at their 20th Anniversary Concert, St. John’s Latvian Church, in Toronto.

Nejautā Kādēļ (Don’t ask why). (1999, jazz song for low voice, piano and jazz ensemble) In Latvian. Premiered at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto, June 2000, as part of Dzirksts Latvian Choir Cabaret Concert during the XI Latvian Song Festival in Canada.