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Volume 18 Issue 7 - April 2013

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  • April
  • Toronto
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BlackCMYKPantoneBeat by Beat | In With the NewListening and thePiano ExplosionTicketsstart at !WENDALYN BArtley2012-2013 ConCert SerieSPiAno eCStASYA celebration of music for multiple pianos, featuringworks by Steve reich, John Cage, Shostakovich,and more.APriL 26, 2013 At 8:00 PmKoerner Hall, teLUS Centre for Performance and LearningFor tickets call 416.408.0208 or visit soundstreams.caPantone version2013-2014 subscriptions sale in April!Visit for details.CMYK versionBlack & White versionWhen we attend any sort of concert, listening is automaticallyassumed. That’s what we go for — to listen. Butthe question can beasked — how do we listen? Whathappens to our attention whilethe musicians on stage are busilyengaged in their performance?Do we watch their body movements,analyze the audiencearound us, listen to the thoughtsinside the music, or wonderabout what we’ll do after theconcert? What do those soundswe are hearing have to do withthe actual soundscape we areexperiencing? How do we distinguishbetween hearing andlistening?One composer who has spenther lifetime creating and reflectingon the question of listeningAnn Southam and Eve Pauline Oliveros. She sought a balanced approach that includes bothattention and awareness. Think of a circle with a dot in the middle.“Attention is narrow, pointed and selective — that’s the dot in the middle.Awareness is broad, diffuse and inclusive — that’s the circle. Bothhave a tunable range: attention can be honed to a finer and finer point.Awareness can be expanded until it seems all-inclusive.” [PaulineOliveros “On Sonic Meditation” in Software for People, 1984, SmithPublications, p. 139]It is a heightened and pure experience when suddenly attention andawareness meld together in concert. That is what comes to mind whenI think of the music of Ann Southam, a pioneering soul who was passionatelycommitted to creating music that opened up the listeningear, creating that wide expansive field of both inner and outer realityof which Oliveros speaks. Southam’s aesthetic was influenced bythe minimalist ideas of drawing the listener’s attention to a gradualunfolding process of change, which allows space for the perception ofsubtle modulations and alterations in the music.In Southam’s works written specifically for Toronto pianist EveEgoyan, the elements of simplicity and mystery abound. On April 19at a concert presented by Earwitness Productions at the Glenn GouldStudio, Egoyan will be launching her ninth solo disc, and her thirdof Southam’s compositions. The album, 5, will certainly raise interestinternationally, as it features world premiere recordings of five posthumouslydiscovered pieces composed by Southam. As a performerspecializing in performing the works of contemporary composers,Egoyan’s repertoire covers a wide range, and this concert is noexception. Egoyan will be premiering Southam’s Returnings II whichshe describes as filling our ears with its magnetic pull, alongside thecomplexities of SKRYABIN in itself by Michael Finnissy. Works bycomposers Claude Vivier (Canada), Taylan Susam (Netherlands) andPiers Hellawell (Ireland) are also included in the program.Another opportunity to hear an outstanding ambassador forcontemporary concert music on the piano will be ContinuumContemporary Music’s presentation of UK pianist Philip Thomas inback to back concerts titled “Out of the Apartment,” on April 24 atGallery 345, and “Correlation Street,” on April 25 at the Music Gallery.The first of these concerts will feature four specially commissioned16 | April 1 – May 7, 2013

works by Canadians Martin Arnold and Cassandra Miller and Englishcomposers Christopher Fox and Bryn Harrison.Thomas is drawn to both freely improvised music as well as theexperimental music of John Cage, and those working within a Cageianaesthetic such as Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff. He is knownfor designing concert programs that create connections between differentcomposers, and when looking at the repertoire of the upcomingContinuum concert, one can definitely see his curatorial interests inaction. In addition to the composers mentioned above, Thomas will beperforming works by Canadians Michael Oesterle and Linda C. Smith.Cage, of course, is renowned for 4’33” in which the pianist sitsin silence on the stool, thus drawing the attention of the listener tothe sounds in the room. As an aside, I made a fascinating discoverythis past fall in one of the presentations made at The Future of Cage:Credo festival in October, 2012.Apparently, the premiere of thatwork took place in late August inan outdoor venue with the latesummer tree-frog concert in fullchorus. Thus Cage’s intentionwas not so much that we experiencethe coughs, shuffles andhums of the concert hall, as isthe usual experience of hearingthis work, but to bring attentionand awareness to the richsoundscapePhilip the naturalenvironmentand to includethese soundsas part of whatwe considerto be music. Imention thisbecause the actof creating thispiece by Cagewas a revolutionarystep inexpanding ourconception oflistening and one that continued to evolve in Oliveros’ work.Yet another leading pianist in the interpretation of 20th-centurymusic to visit Toronto this month will be Louise Bessette fromMontreal. She will be performing works by fellow Montrealer GillesViolins, violas, cellos & bowsComplete line of strings & accessoriesExpert repairs & rehairsCanada’s largest stock of string musicFast mail order servicethesoundpost.cominfo@the soundpost.com93 Grenville St, Toronto M5S 1B4416.971.6990 • fax 416.597.9923A treasure trove for string players& lovers of string April 1 – May 7, 2013 | 17

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