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Volume 12 - Issue 7 - April 2007

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  • Theatre
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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SoME THING NewThere's an

SoME THING NewThere's an old adage in the concertmusic business that says a baddress rehearsal brings a good concert.This certainly held true forContinuum Contemporary Music's"401 East" programme,which hit several bumps in itsToronto trial run, but by all accountswas a success at the MontrealNew Music Festival. Plaguedby the banging pipes, sticky doorsand leaky acoustics of RCM'sConcert Hall, the intrepid ensembledid their best on March 4th toignore a hostile environment toperform a collection of delicate andrhythmically challenging works.To add insult to injury, a significantnumber of Continuum's audienceended up at the wrong venuedue to an information mix-up(in this very magazine). Montrealoffered a much more inviting halland larger audience, where the Continuumensemble delivered a muchcleaner performance of the sameprogramme on March 7th to muchmore positive effect.Continuum's venue-related tribulationsserve to highlight how theMusic Gallery, Toronto's home forcreative music, is still one of thebetter venues in the city to showcasecontemporary music. ThePenderecki Quartet concert heldthere on March 10th, presented byNew Music Concerts for a packedhouse, came off much moresmoothly despite minor imbalancesbetween the ensemble and someof the live electronics. Of all theworks on the programme thatevening, the world premiere ofVeronika Krausas' Midaregami(Tangled Hair) for string quartet,mezzo-soprano and experimentalvideo was particularly engaging.This multi-disciplinary song cyclewas clearly focused on reflectingall human senses - visual, aural,olfactory, and even psychological- with strong effect.BY } ASON V AN E YKMulti-disciplinary projects seemto be the particular flavour of themonth in this April's new musiccalendar, with the Music Galleryserving as the venue of choice.On April 12th CONT ACTContemporary Music will presentcomposer John Burke's Opera lnterna.CONTACT regularly seeksout opportunities to collaboratewith artists in order to develop andpresent live events that challengethe boundaries of concert music.Burke's Opera lnterna , a fulllengthenvironmental work createdexpressly for the CONT ACT ensemble,seeks to do just that. Theaudience will be led on a labyrinthinejourney (most literally, as theconcert involves the installation ofa labyrinth) reflecting upon thenature of consciousness throughmusic . As Burke describes it:"Opera Interna is a play on words.A literal translation conjures upC.G. Jung's notion of "innerwork. " At the same time the titlepoints to the fact that we deriveour sense of self from the ' inneropera' that is constantly beingplayed out in our own minds . Our'story,' with its fixation on pastand future, is as arbitrary as theillusory story that plays itself outon the operatic stage. Using thecontemplative practice of walkingthe labyrinth, in which the audienceis invited to participate, thelistener will be guided throughambient music to a new relationshipto 'story,' and to the radicalpossibility that the imperative forthe 21st century is the transcendenceof story." For more info visitwww .contactcontemporarymusic.ca.For tickets call 416-204-1080 orvisit www .ticketweb.ca.The next day, the Music Gallerypartners with PleasureDomeand the Goethe lnstitut to presentQuasar by German artists JiirgenReble and Thomas Koner. This liveaudio-visual performance builds onthe duo's interest in synthesizingsound colour and moving imagevia an army of modified 16mmprojectors and a quadraphonicsound system. Using five projectorspositioned around the space,Reble's hand-processed and chemicallyaltered film beams lightthrough the quiet fog that floatsabove the audience. Koner buildsa symbiotic aural space transformingthe mechanical hums, whirs,and chatter of the projectors themselves.The end result is an environmentof pulsating light andsound that envelops the audience.Quasar is presented as part of boththe Gallery's Inter Avant series andthe Images Festival. For more infoand tickets call 416-204-1080 orvisit www.musicgallery.org.The following week, the MusicGallery continues its Inter Avantseries with guest artist MonicaGermino. The American-trained,Amsterdam-based violinist Germinois highly regarded as a devoteeof contemporary music onboth sides of the Atlantic.She has premiered worksby some of the world' smost accomplished contemporarycomposers intop international festivalsand venues such as theConcertgebouw and LincolnCenter. For her MusicGallery event on April19th, titled Plugged &Unplugged, Ms . GerminoMonica Germinowill perform a solo programme Keep Those Ears Open!blending a multi-disciplinary mixof violin, voice, soundtrack, effects,movement and film in a rangeof works by composers Jacob terVeldhuis, Michael Gordon, LouisAndriessen, Phillip Glass, HeinerGoebbels and even J.S. Bach . Formore info and tickets contact theMusic Gallery (as above).A few days later, Continuumcloses out its 2006-07 season withCURV, featuring the Vancouverbasedcomposing collective of thesame name (Marci Rabe, KristyFarkas, and Jennifer Butler) in coproductionwith the Music Gallery.At its root, CURV challenges thesolitary paradigm of classical com-For the more exploratory listeneror those simply curious to take anew path into their musicalexperience there is always thebiennial Open Ears Festival ofMusic and Sound, which returnsto Kitchener - Waterloo fromApril 24th to 29th. At its heart,Open Ears encourages just whatits title suggests - an openapproach to the act of listeningvia a huge variety of invitingprogramming. That being said ,this festival is widely recognizedas one of Canada's mostadventurous musical events,position. The collective's work never afraid to cross thegrows out of a process of exchange boundaries between genres andand collaboration through letters, disciplines to explore newpostcards, emails, sound record- musical territories. For the 2007ings, photos, scores , and conversations.By incorporating sound, from traditional concertfestival such explorations rangetext, images, and movement presentations to soundwalks,through a process that reuses and performance art, sound poetry,recycles each composer' s materialmusic for new spaces and sitespecificsound installations.freely, the lines of creative ownershipare erased. Expanding on thisprocess, CURV's recent project 20Silent Words has been realised in Special highlights include a precollaborationwith Continuum's festival collaborative concertmusicians. The results of this un- between master improvisers Fredusual creative process will be pre- Firth and Malcolm Goldstein onsented on April 21st. For more info April 21st, an appearance fromvisit www .continuummusic.org or legendary composer I pianistcall 416-924-4945. For tickets call Fred Rzewski, a multi-media416-204-1080. opera by San Francisco's PamelaSo come out and celebrate new z and the reinvention of Jeancreativeconnections. Discover mu- Luc Godard's classic 1965 sci-fisic's multiple dimensions through film noir Alphaville by veteransome thing new·British sound artist Scanner.(Jason van Eyk is the CanadianMusic Centre's Ontario RegionalDirector. He can be reached at416-961-6601 x. 207 orjvaneyk@musiccentre.ca) .For complete details and ticketsvisit www.openeas.ca or call1.888.363.3591The Coalition of New Music Presenters of Toronto presentsNEW MUSIC QUICK PICKS -- all the NEW MUSIC thats fit toprint, excerpted from WholeNote s listings;just a couple of clicks gives you all the concerts you wantwith a whole lot less wading!Just go to www.thewholenote.com and follow the QUICK P /CK link.24 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM APR IL 1 - M AY 7 2007

Jazz Notesby Jim GallowayApril FullLast month I wrote about Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz At LincolnCentre Orchestra and their appearance at Massey Hall. I have heard theorchestra several times, but never better than they sounded that night.Just how much was due to the band "being on", and how much wasdue to Massey Hall is a matter of conjecture, but there is no denyingthat there is something special about that building, designed by anarchitect called Sidney Badgley and erected in 1894. In its day it hashosted Weddings, Movies, Boxing Matches, Beauty Contests, Religiousand Political Rallies, Typing Contests and Chess Tournaments,but in the jazz world it is legendary for the 1953 Jazz At Massey Hallconcert.Winston Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings and afterwardsour buildings shape us ." - or, in the case of Massey Hall , perhapsinfluence a performer. (Churchill himself, as you may know, wouldhave known whereof he spoke, in regard to Massey . He strode theboards there twice, in late 1900 and early 1901, at age 26 newlyelected to the House of Commons, and famous already for his BoerWar exploits, and four other military campaigns.By the way, is there anyone out there who can cast some light on therumour that an apparition of a man has sometimes been seen in thebackstage area of the hall? He appears to be in old fashioned dress andseems interested in the stage area. It's not true, however, that he issinging "I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You ".April Show(er)sBy the time you read this the sixthannual National Jazz Awards willbe about to take place, (April10th.at Toronto's Palais Royale),or will have already happened,depending on how quickly yourush out for your copy ofWholeNote.The multi-talented BillKing , who manages to roll half-adozencareers into one, is the inspirationbehind the event whichstarted out as the Jazz ReportAwards and acknowledges contributionsto jazz excellence in Canada. Nominations are submitted byprofessionals in the music industry,working in radio and television,recording, jazz festivals, journalismand publicity. Winners arechosen online by jazz fans acrossthe country.In this Canadian Jazz GrandPrix there are close to 30 categoriesand 162 nominations for "poll"positions.The wheel of fortune - roundand round it goes, where it stops,nobody knows. They say thatabout a roulette wheel, but it is notaltogether out of place in the contextof "best of' awards."Best", of course, is always arisky, sometimes illusory label ,especially when you are dealingwith the arts and I'm not a hugefan of the word . Congratulations,then, to all the nominees, becauseyou represent the values that musiciansstrive for.In addition, the event does focussome attention on the music,and Lord knows , we can use that.However, rather than focus onlyon the nominees, worthy thoughthey might be, I would like you tospare a thought also for the unsungheroes, often overlooked andunderrated, who don't make theheadlines, but we have all beentouched by them, often withouttheir knowing it.Here's an example at the highestlevel. The name of Duke Ellingtonis known throughout theworld. His theme song "Take The"A" Train" is probably played hundredsof times on a daily basis.Written by the Duke? No - writtenby Billy Strayhorn, revered withinthe jazz community, but relativelyunknown in the world at large.Boo-dah, U.M.M.G., Day-dream,Lotus Blossom, Rain Check andBlood Count are all associated withthe music of Duke Ellington, allaccepted as superior jazz compositionsand all written by Strayhorn.It begs the question - withoutStrayhorn in his life, would Ellingtonbe the Colossus he is?Duke Ellington and Billy StrayhornAn extreme example perhaps,but valid. So here's to the writersand musicians who don't necessarilyreceive the kudos, but deliverthe goods.Jack LongFor six years at the National JazzAwards, The Ken Page MemorialTrust has given an award for lifetimeachievement and speaking ofpeople who stay out of the limelight,this time by choice, the awardthis year went to Jack Long.Every musician knows aboutLong & McQuade, but the founder,Jack Long, tends to hide hislight under a bushel. The historyof the store began in 1956 whenJack set up business in a small storeon the second floor of an old houseon Carlton Street in Toronto. Jackgave trumpet lessons on the sideand acquired a partner, drummerJack McQuade. A year later theymoved to a storefront location atYonge and Yorkville. That locationsaw the beginnings ofYorkville Sound, manufacturingamplifiers and PA systems. After16 years th e main storemoved to its current locationon Bloor Street West. Thereare now 27 stores acrossCanada, the most recent ofwhich was opened inMarkham. But this is not justa story of a successful businessenterprise; they beganincorporating Education Centresinto their stores offeringlessons and workshops inaddition to all the otherprojects in which they get involvedin support of the industryand musicians.Last year they celebratedtheir 50th anniversary - sothis is a good time to acknowledgea man who still puts ina full week's work - because hebelieves in what he does.Happy listening to all of you.Make some of it live in a club. Withthe plethora of opportunity in ourclub listings (pages 58,59) there'sless excuse than ever if you don't.THE CANADIANJAZZ QUARTETFRANK WRIGHT - VibesGARY BENSON - GuitarDON VICKERY - DrumsROB MCBRIDE - BassSun. Apr. 29 • 2pmRoyal York RoadUnited Church, EtobicokeTICKETS: ; Sr.INFO: 416-231-1207Featuring some of Toronto's best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers ClergySunday, April 1st - 4:30 p.m.THE DON THOMPSON QUARTETDon Thompson, vibes; Reg Schwager, guitarJim Vivian, bass; Terry Clarke, drumsSunday, April 22nd - 4:30 p.m.THE RUSS LITTLE QUARTETRuss Little, trombone; Scott Alexander, bassTom Szczesniak, piano; Brian Barlow, drumsChrist Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street(north of St. Clair at Heath St.) 416-920-5211Admission is free.An offering is received to support the work of the church , including Jazz Vespers.APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 25

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