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Volume 11 Issue 8 - May 2006

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SOME THING New by Jason

SOME THING New by Jason van Eyk Synergies of content, time, and place In light of the upcoming soundaXis Festival, which proposes to transform Toronto into a playground for sound and space exploration, and which will get more detailed treatment in the June issue, I have been encouraged to discuss a similar yet unrelated project - namely, the Canadian Music Centre's New Music in New Places festival series. I am, I suppose, both uniquely qualified, and by the same token disqualified, to discuss New Music in New Places, seeing as I am the CMC's Ontario Regional Director and, as such, have partnered with composers, performers, and ensembles throughout the province to deliver twelve such events. So, having stated my conflict of interest, let me wade in anyway. This national series has delivered 82 events in a range of locations across the country - from airports, pubs, galleries, and office towers, to fisheries, wineries, labyrinths, lighthouses, and penitentiaries. It is designed to showcase the work of CMC's 650 Associate Composers in the communities where they work and live. Following on the CMC's Professional Readings Series, which partnered Canadian composers and professional ensembles in public rehearsal workshops, New Music in New Places came as a logical next step. The Reading Series expanded professional relationships between composers and ensembles, and uncovered a lot of previously unexplored new music (which it continues to do throughout Ontario thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation). But the series never really made the expected impact on the broader community. These reading sessions attempted to position the composer as a living, breathing contributor to the health and vitality of his/her community. But it never materialized in the way the CMC had hoped. When we analysed why this might be, we thought that the event format might be to blame. It was more likely the venue choice - the concert hall and its social "barrier" perceptions within the wider public - that was the culprit. By bringing the music of Canadian composers out of the concert hall and into spaces where people naturally gather, the CMC found a much more practical way to connect musical creators to their communities, with more exciting results. In Ontario, New Music in New Places is delivered as a series of composer-driven events. CMC Associates are invited to submit proposals from which a jury selects the best options. CMC-Ontario then enters into partnerships with these composers, and the venue operators, to bring the event to life. Over the last two years, the range of scale & scope in these events has been significant, and the results have been amazing. Why so? One could accuse the series of trading on novelty and spectacle to achieve its large audiences and media attention. But I don't think that's the case. I believe we have realized these results based on the inspiration of the venue, and the effect it has on both the artistic concept and its delivery. Ultimately, it is the synergy of content, time & place that creates a deep level of meaning, which resonates with the creator and is trans fer red to the audience. Let me give you some examples to explain. Burlington-based composer Elma Miller developed a successful concept for the historic Ireland House museum. Her programme involved 100 years of Canadian chamber music, from works composed during the year of the house's construction right through to a freshly penned world premiere. The concert played out as a musical tour through Ireland House, from short historical pieces using the original piano and furniture of the Ireland family, to contemporary works in newer interpretive areas. The event luckily coincided with Burlington's Heritage week. As a result, the confluence of place, time and programme attracted the largest one-time audience ever witnessed by Ireland House staff. Now they consider similar musical events as part of their regular programming. In Toronto, CMC has partnered with Tapestry New Opera Works and Playwrights Guild of Canada to bring Opera Briefs to the Word on the Street literary festival. There, the creative collaboration between Canadian playwrights/ librettists, composers and creative artists via a series of brand new, 5-minute operas was met positively by hundreds of festival attendees. The theme of each opera had to be big if it was to balance the intimacy & brevity of these small-scale works against the nature of an open-air space and a huge one-day festival. Both the composers and librettists delivered. Interspersing the performances with presentations from the creators themselves deepened the connection between the composers, librettists and the community. Word on the Street was so pleased with the results that they moved Opera Briefs from a small tent to the City TV Main Stage the following year. But one of the most successful New Music in New Places events to date shows a true level of confluence, which resulted in the kind of attendance and buzz most new music presenters hope for. CMC Associate Chan Ka Nin invited his colleagues to write works for the University of Toronto's new Chinese ensemble, to be played in context with traditional Chinese music. The event was held during Chinese New Year in the ROM's Canada Court. The synergy of new Canadian music for traditional Chinese ensemble, during an important Chinese holiday, within a museum in the process of developing new space for its Asian collections, resonated greatly with the highly-engaged 400-plus audience and local media. Of course, the CMC is not the only organization to be exploring new spaces for new music. In fact these sorts of presentations have been a growing trend, as is clearly visible in many of this month's upcoming concerts, and culminating in soundaXis June 1-11. The quickly gentrifying Queen Street gallery district has become an area of particular interest for many of Toronto's new music groups. For example, on May 5th Earshot will be presenting leading Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag's seminal Kafka Fragmente at Gallery 1313 . Earshot has a history of presenting in gallery spaces, often with mixed results. My first Earshot experience was at Queen West's Propeller Gallery - an entertaining Dadaist affair. For details visit www.earshotconcerts.ca Arraymusic, while currently lofted in the Parkdale neighbourhood, is fairly nomadic in its choice of venues. They will in- Celebrate radio & transmission art The only festival of its kind in North America A hotbed for new ideas & innovative art performances, workshops Radio Without Boundaries conference brings Sound Art to Toronto Island June 1 - October 1, 2006 Immerse yourself in a sound experience outdoor & indoor performances , 9 '1>-v~ outdoor sound sculptures 0 1 ~ (I) • • u u indoor sound rnsta II at1ons . Go to www.nai5a.ca for l\,ore info I.;>;' [.J ,"4•},.,1,D ,,·.i.1 '"" · . . ·. .. .,. DRAKE H DTE L .. OUTFRoiif:::> ·-:-~-.:-·- * OOBRIT!Sl l ~ - ISIER~CCfSS ••• C->n;-;j•Jfl PJllt .... Glno 1o rontcar1s:cunc,1 ~.>r::ur,,.n,I Cornl~ ... ...,.,. • _ . ij""'i'Cl'.!3 111~~ C...Kl-"-.1 . OO COU:sl((l .. ~-~- .. - · "~"·->

habit the artsy Gladstone Hotel on May 19 for their annual Futurelab presentation of emerging composers. Arraymusic also recently explored the performance properties of Hart House's Great Hall, as part of its Scratch 3 Festival, where the ensemble will return on June 2 as part of the sound- Time and place: outdoor festival stage at the aXis festival. Visit Fontaine de Vaucluse in the Rhone Valley, midwww.arraymusic.com nineties, Elliott Carter and Bob Aitken. The Esprit's New two link up again in Toronto May 27 and 28. Wave Festival has become a solidly annual event. The gala concert for this year's festival is at 8:00 on May 18th in their traditional Jane Mallett Theatre venue and features two world premieres by Toronto composers, Erik Ross' Concerto for Marimba, performed by the extraordinary Ryan Scott; and Scott Good's saxophone concerto, entitled Babbitt, performed by saxophone wizard Wallace Halladay. But the multiplicity of events the previous two days are in a venue that really fits the bill in terms of this month's theme - the DeLeon-White Art Gallery on Queen Street West. Visit www .espritorchestra.com for all the details. Finally, New Adventures in of radio art from numerous locations. The Drake Hotel and Ryerson University will serve as dual home base, but the festival will also occupy the Hacienda, Grange Park, Trinity-Bellwoods Park, the Music Gallery and the airwaves of several radio stations at different times. When considering new music in new places, radio art seems like the most fascinating of extensions, seeing as it exists as a transmission, in the ether - everyplace but in no place at all. Visit www.soundtravels.ca /deepwireless to learn more. So venture out into unexplored spaces; find your place for some thing new. Sound Art will present their Jason van Eyk can be reached at month-long Deep Wireless festival 416-961-6601 x. 207 or else at jasonv@musiccentre.ca .) Xenakis x Concerts x Sound Installations Symposia x Exhibits x Screenings ~ ·., ·~\. : \~ ~\' ':~.'~ 'Expl~~~ the interaction and shared . :_¢om p6~i,fional structures between ·111-usic an~~ ch itectu re soundaXis tr.ii?~ms Toronto into a play§J:: ou~d of discovery \ \._ "\ Thematically based on revolution~. thinker composer, and architect, Iannis Xena,kis \ ,'soundaXis un covers the mutual '\ \ definition and intimate \ interaction between \ , , sound and space ,, June 1-11, 2006 An initiative of the Coalition of New Music Presenters Exp lore Toronto's evolving acoustica l and architectura l soundscape ! t~1c~ MusicGallery Toronlo's Centr e for Creative Music \ "\ sounda :Js Architecture Music Acoustics sat may 13 deep wireless: trevor wishart U.K. ELECTRO ACOUSTIC ARTIST PERFORMS FOR NEW ADVENTURES IN SOUND ART 0 S ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF RADIO ART -- 8PM / sun may 14 madawaska string quartet STATE OF Tl-IE ART. CONCLUSI ON OF THE OUARTET's MUSIC GALLERY RESIDENCY WITH 1NORKS BY YOUNG COMPOSERS' WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS MIKE KJ\NE, SUND/\R SUBRAM/\NI/\N. DUSTIN PETERS + 0/\VID OCCHIPINTI -· 8PM // sat may 27 elliott carter double portrait NEW MUSIC CONCERTS PRESENTS THE LIVING LEGEND COMPOSER, l'.'ITH GUEST ARTIST VIRGIL BLACKWELL, CLARINET -- 8PM // coming june 1-11 soundaXis festival MUSIC GALLERY PRESENTATIONS INCLUDE ELISABETH CHOJNACKA. HARPSI­ CHORD (mANCE); STEPHEN CLARKE PEHFORMING ALVIN CURRAN°S INNER CITIES; MUSIC BY !ANNIS XENAKIS. MORTON FELDMAN + MAURICIO K/\GEL music gallery 197 john st. 4"16-204-"/080 www.musicgaflery.org WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE ONGOING SUPPORT OF: CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS , CANADIAN HERITAGE , ONTARIO ARTS COUNCIL, THE SOCAN FOUNDATION. TORONTO ARTS COUNCIL, WELLINGTON BREWERY. MAY 1 - ] UNE 7 2006 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COM

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