8 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 3 - November 2004

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Arts
  • Orchestra
  • Musical
  • Ensemble
  • Symphony


BEYOND THE CONCERT HALL, CONllNUED piece "Cobra," both at Leftover Daylight and at Misha Glouberman's Room 101 game nights at The Drake Hotel (www. room I 01 games.corn). Al the Drake, the sense of play in improv music crosses over with checkers and charades. In the front room of the Tranzac Club, it crosses over with reckless alcohol consumption (www. Many of the aforementioned players are Tranzac regulars. Ryan Driver's The Reveries, a truly strange trio with Eric Chenaux and Doug Tielli that performs jazz standards through mouthspeakers and mouth-microphones (!), recently performed there alongside fingerstyle acoustic guitarists Harris Newman (from Montreal) and American Jack Rose. Guitarist Chenaux runs the Rat-Drifting label and series (the latter currently in hibernation) along with composer Martin Arnold, so if you spots any compact discs by the likes of The Silt, Mannots, The Guayaveras or The Draperies, snap them up to experience some of Toronto's finest avantgarde (and unclassifiable) aural delights. Email rat-drifting@ to uncover some of the mystery. Keyboardist Tania Gill, who hosts the Tranzac on Thursdays with The Mighty Gill Show, and Driver are also members of Deep Dark United, a truly unique group led by songwriter Alex Lukashevsky, that combines soulful pop songs with free playing and dense textures. DOU have just released a new disc called Ancient on Blocks Recording Club (, a local imprint whose roster, including Les Mouches, The Creeping Nobodies and former Blue Rodeo member Bob Wiseman, mix sonic adventurism with conceptual boldness and the inspired amateurism of indie-rock. Many of these acts, including Deep Dark United on Dec 19, can often be seen playing live as pan of the Wavelength series on Sundays al Sneaky Dee's ( Disclosure: I am the cofounder of this series and its accompanying zine. For fans of jazz and improv beyond our borders, look no further than Rough Idea and presenter Ron Gaskin ( Recent concerts include the Willem Breuker Kollektief at St. An- 32 drew-by-the-Lake (on.Toronto Island) and the Sonore trio of Peter Brotzmann, Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson al the Goethe Institul. Gaskin has also staged events at the New Work Studio, a loft space on Spadina run by experimental tumtablisl Mike Hansen. Hansen's radio show Why Nol, heard Wednesdays from 7-1 lam on CKLN 88.1 FM (, is one of the most vital new music resources in Toronto, along with various shows on CIUT 89.5 FM (, such as In Through The Outside, The Abstract Index and (disclosure again) Radio Music Gallery. Does that cover it'! Not even close. I haven't even mentioned SOUNDplay (Nov. 4-7 at the Latvian House, www.soundplay. ea), or any of the city's great electro-acoustic artists. Best to keep yourself up-to-date by signing up for SoundList, a comprehensive weekly email of show listings - go to http://audiolab. - and plunge into a new ocean of sound. NEW MUSIC CONCERT QUICKPICKS compiled by David Olds The Codes NN = some 11riou1 coatllmporary repertoire NNN = tl11111glily coatll•porary NI = .. wlimproviad •Hie sic departrrent, chamber orcheshr dttlils 111 the e1•prehe11ive li1tin11 ce••Hci•I p11145 Wdanuy Neve•litr 03 NI - 12:30: Music Gallry lut. lunch Music: lflllflfltOfS & Innovators: fly;,g Squad NNN - 8:00: T1lilk11 Players Cli1•litr M11ic. A Medieval Tapestry Ti..rsuy Neve•litr 04 NNN - 8:00: CONTACT uatempomy ••sic. Urban CONTACT NN - 8:00: M11ic Tere•to.SlO Friuy Neve•litr 05 NNN - 1 :00: New Adventures i1 Sound Art. SOUNOplay 2004 NNN - 8:00: Ear1liot CHctrtl. Soprano/Soprano NNN - 8:00: Er1e Prejects. life Cycles NNN - 8:00: New Adv11tur11 i1 S.a1d Art. SOUNOplay 2004: Visual Music 1 NN - 8:00: Sy•plit1y H1•iltH. Bellows & Brass NNN - 9:30: New Adve1ture1 ia Sou1d Art. SOUNOplay 2004: Visual Music 1 S.turuy Nevemlltr 06 NN - 7:30: Drph111 Cli1ir ol TerHte. Ensemble Noir - Bridging Cultural & Musical Divides by Karen Ages One doesn't usually associate the continent of Africa with classical music, and probably even less so with contemporary "classical" music. But Ensemble Noir is seeking to dispel some of the notions surrounding these issues. Formed four years ago in Toronto, this professio 11l ensemble is dedicated to the perjormnnce and promotion of contemporary music from a range of cultures, with an emphasis on the works of African composers. I spoke with musical director Bongani Ndodana, himself an award-winning inter 11tio 11lly known composer and conductor. "! just want to clarify ... we're more than just an ensemble; we're an everevolving organization, and advocacy is a huge and crucial part of what we do. We are trying to shoot down all of these myths about black people, Africa and classical music, classical music and people of colour in general, debugging this whole notion that only dead white people write classical music. " I asked Bongani, who was born in South Africa in 1975, what it was like growing up under apartheid, and how this affected the musical education he received. "Apartheid in South Africa was a horrible thing, something I wouldn't wish on anyone", he says, shaking his head. "Loads of doors were closed, but I was fortunate to have been born to a family that could afford to send me to a private school, where there were loads of opportunities. I couldn't borrow a book from the public library, or go to a white beach, but the apartheid laws didn't apply at privately funded institutions. There were only a handful of black kids at the school, and we knew how privileged we were to be there, coming at a great sacrifice to our parents." The school, St. Andrew's, in Grahamstown, had a thriving mu­ tras and wind band. "I played French horn, viola, piano and or­ gan; it was a school with a deep Anglican tradition. I went to chapel, was a treble at one stage. I grew up with this wonderful tradition of English cathedral nrusic, Stanford, Parry, and all these people." And what of the music of your own culture? I asked. "I had no exposure to African music in my trai.nir.g. This was a process of self discovery. If you grow up black in South Africa there's a lot of music that's passed down. I rem:!mber songs from my grandmother and these form the bedrock of some of my musical ideas. Also, down the hill from St. Andrew's was this gargantuan place called the International Library of African Music, a repository of field recordings collected by ethnomusicologisl Hugh Tracy and his son, and as a CONTINUES ON PAGE 69 teenager I would spend my after- WWW. THEWHOLENOIE.COM napns there listening 10 music from Senegal, Gambia, Mali, etcetera, so I got irrunersed in the greater collective of African music beyond my own cullure." After completing a Bachelor of Music at Rhodes University (Grahamstown), he was given a scholarship to study composition at Stellenbosch University (near Capetown), and was later awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowshi.P which brought him to the US 10 do a residency with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, where he wrote his Second Symphony. He then moved to Chicago, was involved in various projects and commissions, and was invited to Toronto to work on a dance project at Harbourfront. Thal is how his connection with this city and the evolution of Ensemble Noir began. He describes · himself as one of three "pillars" in Ensemble Noir. Dr. Ken Lipinski, a passionate arts advocate with connections to South Africa, and Patricia Clark who had set up other groups in Toronto were instrumental in its creation. While there may have been occasionaJ performances of music by African composers here and there, "there was no one anywhere doing a season of this stuff. no one doing this on a focused level. Toronto is one of the places that allows this kind of thing to happen, because there is so much multiculturalism here." In July 2003, Ensemble Noir, ponsored by the Departm:nt of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, embarked on a tour to Africa, the first by a Canadian classical ensemble. "We think nothing of sending arts groups 10 Europe, but when it comes to Africa, all we usually think of is dropping bags of nee. There hasn't been much thought that perhaps they NOVEMBER 1 • DECEMBER 7 2004

could also benefit from intellectual and cultural exchange." The group toured Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa where they were enthusiastically received. In Ghana, they performed works by Ghanaian composer and ethnomusicologist J. H. Left 10 righl: Gillian S1ecyk, Dawn Padmore, Cameron Barker, Sanya Eng, Sarni Sappong, Bongani Ndodana, Kwabena Nketia which incor­ Ryan Seo//, Parmela Auariwala, Rick Sacks porate folk songs. Hearing these played violin on the tour), Bob familiar tunes played on western Becker, and Alexina Louie. "The instruments and with such respect, emphasis is really on diversity." "audience members reacted with Ensemble Noir's new season, 'wow, our music is good enough titled "Sonic Revival", will feature to be like Beethoven or Mozart' new music from Asia, Africa, which is sad, really," says Bongani, "that they need this kind of valclude a collaboration with compos­ Canada and elsewhere, will inidation. In Nigeria, we played 'er/pianist/theorist Martin Scherzinger (formerly of the Eastman works by Akin Euba (a Nigerian now teaching in Pittsburgh), and School of Music) and his Rochester-based ensemble, and a dance for them it was 'wow, this local boy has become a wonderful composer' ... they were hearing his lat­ Their first concert, November 13, work with music by Ndodana. est compositions and the head of is a private affair for corporate the music society of Nigeria came sponsors (due to space limitations up to me and said 'I can tell you of the venue); the official opening stories about Akin when he was of the new season is January 22, a this high!' To them it was also a concert that will feature works by validation of the training that they Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kevin Volans and Toronto's Alice Ho, in an had and all the people they had produced who went to England "Africa meets European avantgarde meets Asia" program. "You and the States." I asked Bongani about the reception in South Africa, where lans without programming his can't program (African) Kevin Vo­ classical music is standard. teacher Stockhausen," says Bongani. "In keeping with the commit­ "There, the concert-going crowd is white, and they go to hear ment to developing cultural diversity in music and promoting the Beethoven, Brahms and the like; so we're there. this group of Canadians of mixed backgrounds, and also launching our first worldwide creation of new repertoire, we are they're gasping 'oh my god ... black call for scores from young composers who express cultural diver­ people ...' and they loved it! It's a matter of showing them what's in sity in their works." Congratulations to Bongani and Ensemble their own backyard. We had a standing ovation in Capetown." Noir for what they have accomplished so far, and best wishes for They also performed works by Canadians Parmela Attariwala (who an exciting future! Unlvenity S..nlement foundtd J 910 Violins, violas, cellos, and bows Complete line of strings and accessories Expert repafrs and rehairs Canada's largest stock of string music Fast mail order service UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT MUSIC AND ARTS SCHOOL Founded in 1921 COMMUNITY ORCHESTRA Conducted by Andrew Chung Has spaces for new members in all sections, especially strings. Rehearsals are on Saturday mornings from 1 O am to noon University Settlement, 23 Grange Rd., Toronto 416-598-3444 ext 243/ 244 Geo.1 1 D & Co. Limited CONSERVATORS & PURVEYORS OF Fine & Rare Violins 20 I Church St., Toronto, ON. MSB I Y7 Tel: 416-363-0093 •Fax: 416-363-0053 Email: NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2004 Canada's foremost violin experts. Proud of our heritage. Excited nbou1 1he future. Fax:41

Copied successfully!

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)