Ted Dawson was born in Victoria (Esquimalt), British Columbia, Canada in April, 1951, and began musical studies in violin, piano, and theory/composition in 1962 at the Victoria School of Music with the assistance of a scholarship from school director Otto Werner Mueller. From 1962-67, he was also a boy soprano, then a bass vocalist with the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, as well as with the Victoria Choral Society.

Ted Dawson began his undergraduate university studies in 1968, enrolling in the Bachelor of Music programme in composition at the University of Victoria, while simultaneously working as violist for four years with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.  Upon graduation in 1972, he won the CAPAC WIlliam St. Clair Low Fellowship for his String Quartet "Pentad", and was given a commission through the Murray Adaskin Award.

Following a move to Toronto, he began graduate studies in composition and electronic music at the University of Toronto and was accepted by the Canadian Music Centre as an Associate Composer. Following a year of studies at the University of Toronto, he moved to Montreal and completed his Master of Musical Arts in 1974 at McGill University, studying composition with Swedish composer Bengt Hambraeus and electronic music with Alcides Lanza.

After working on the Montreal scene as a freelance composer of experimental multidisciplinary work   and lecturer in music at Concordia University for 8 years, he returned to Toronto in 1981 where he currently resides.

Between 1984 and 1995, Ted Dawson further supplemented his credentials with a Bachelor of Education (Honours Specialist) in music and visual arts from the University of Toronto (1985) and a Ph. D. in music composition (1995) from the State University of New York at Buffalo, studying with American composer Charles Wuorinen, theorist Martha Hyde, master percussionist/conductor Jan Williams, and musicologist Jeremy Noble. He was nominated for academic excellence to membership in the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honour Society.

In terms of creative output, Ted Dawson's works can be seen as developing in three stages:

An early student period ( 1972-75) during his university years that produced the String Quartet "Pentad", the electroacoustic "Concerto Grosso I", and works for amplified instruments;

A short second period of experimentation in Montreal (1976-80) outside traditional music boundaries that featured collaborations with artists in other media, including "Clouds of Magellan" for Slides and Tape (with Suzy Lake), dance pieces such as "Binaries" for 4 Dancers and Amplified Piano and Percussion as well as the performance piece "Joint Actions" (with dancer Dena Davida) and a purely visual/sculptural installation piece "Failsafe" (with structural engineer Paul Sorrentino). Many of these works were created with grants from the Canada Council for the Arts.

In 1981, Ted Dawson returned to Toronto and to the creation of more traditional musical forms. Commencing in 1986 with the solo piano work "Phantasms", his catalogue of works has grown over the past 20 years to include the SOCAN Prize-winning orchestral work "Traces in Glass" (1991) Symphony 1(1995), Piano Concerto "Wisteria" (2003/ revised 2006), "Dragon Songs" for Bass-Baritone Voice and Orchestra (1998/revised 2003), the wind quintet "Ice Dreams" (2003), and a song cycle for Soprano Voice and Organ written in the Estonian language entitled "Three Songs on Poems of Andres Ehin" (2006).  He is currently working on a series of instrumental interludes based on works by the Dutch painter Mondrian.

Dr. Dawson works have been performed widely and broadcast in North America, Europe, and East Asia, with notable performances in Vienna, Tallinn, Vilnius, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Bourges, and Taipei. In addition to composition, Dr. Dawson has held academic positions at Concordia, Queen's, Brock, and York Universities, and is the founder and current director of True North Foundation in Toronto. As organizer and promoter of Canadian music in Canada and abroad, Ted Dawson created the Composter Education (ComPoster) Project, and has organized festivals in Montreal (Quoi de Neuf?) in 1979, in Estonia (Kanada Muusika Paevad) in 1993, and in Taiwan (True North Festival) in 1998.

In 1998, Dr. Dawson co-founded True North Foundation to promote Canadian culture both at home and abroad.  Based in Toronto, the Foundation has engaged in ongoing international projects, and commencing in 2006 began a new local initiative with the creation of a series of community-based programs:  The Boreal Orchestra (2006), The Boreal Seniors Choir (2009), The Seniors Culinary Circle (2010), and Fabrics in Our Lives (2012) - all intergenerational programs integrating the art of living with cultural heritage to promote cultural awareness and community building in Toronto and Southern Ontario.   See the True North Foundation website for further details:  www.truenorthfdn.org.

In recent years, Dr. Dawson's works have been featured at the Fredriksvaerk Music Festival in Denmark, Pärnu 4th Annual Organ Festival in Estonia, and at the Christopher Summer Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania.

In 2012 his "3 Estonian Songs on Poems of Andres Ehin" were performed in a newly revised version at the Kaarli Church in Tallinn, Estonia, as part of an In Memoriam Concert for the poet.  In April 2012,  a new piano piece "Chysanthemums" was performed in Vienna, Austria at the Palais Palffy with pianist Yuri Meyrowitz and in association with the organization Harmonia Classica.

In the summer of 2014, Dawson and pianist Yuri Meyrowitz will have performances in the Baltic States.  In June 2014, two movements from Dawson's new Organ Preludes will have their premiere at the 12th Annual Parnu Organ Festival in Estonia.  In August, "Chrysanthemums" as well as two further movements of Dawson's new piano work "A Mondrian Triptych" ("The Winkel Mill in Sunlight" and "The Red Tree") will have their European premieres at Alatskivi Castle in Estonia and at Exhibition House, Cesis, Latvia.  Organist Piret Aidulo will also perform Dawson's complete 6 Organ Preludes at the Kaarli Church in Tallinn, Estonia. 

Ted Dawson is a member of the Canadian Music Centre, SOCAN, and the Canadian League of Composers.