Raymond Murray Schafer CC (18 July 1933 – 14 August 2021) was a Canadian composer, writer, music educator, and environmentalist perhaps best known for his World Soundscape Project, concern for acoustic ecology, and his book The Tuning of the World (1977). He was the first recipient of the Jules Léger Prize in 1978.

Born in Sarnia, Ontario, he studied at the Royal Schools of Music in London, the Royal Conservatory of Music (in Toronto), and the University of Toronto. At the last institution he was a pupil of Richard Johnston.

His music education theories are followed around the world. He started soundscape studies at Simon Fraser University in the 1960s.

In addition to introducing the concept of soundscape, he also coined the term schizophonia in 1969, the splitting of a sound from its source or the condition caused by this split: “We have split the sound from the maker of the sound. Sounds have been torn from their natural sockets and given an amplified and independent existence. Vocal sound, for instance, is no longer tied to a hole in the head but is free to issue from anywhere in the landscape.”[4] Steven Feld, borrowing a term from Gregory Bateson, calls the recombination and recontextualization of sounds split from their sources schismogenesis.

In 1987 Schafer was awarded the first Glenn Gould Prize in recognition of his contributions. He has also won two JUNO Awards for Classical Composition of the Year: in 2004 for his “String Quartet No. 8”, and in 2011 for his “Duo for Violin and Piano”.

In 2003 Schafer was the artistic director of Coimbra Vibra!, an event that celebrated music and the acoustic environment, gathering 1200 musicians and over 10000 spectators in the city of Coimbra (Portugal). In 2005 Schafer was keynote speaker at the 12th International Congress on Sound and Vibration. His presentation was titled “I have never seen a sound.” In 2005 Schafer was awarded the Walter Carsen Prize, by the Canada Council for the Arts, one of the top honours for lifetime achievement by a Canadian artist.[6] In 2009, Schafer received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. In 2013, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada “for his contributions as an internationally renowned composer of contemporary music, and for his groundbreaking work in acoustic ecology”.

Schafer was a practitioner of graphic notation.[9] He died of complications of Alzheimer’s disease on 14 August 2021.

Starting in 2010 a World Listening Day organised by the World Listening Project has taken place annually on 18 July, with the date chosen in honour of Schafer’s birthday.