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Volume 20 Issue 2 - October 2014

  • Text
  • October
  • Toronto
  • Choir
  • November
  • Concerts
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Orchestra
  • Theatre
Includes the 2014 Blue Pages Member Directory

TARA MCMULLEN

TARA MCMULLEN PHOTOGRAPHYTorQ at the Cameron House sidedoor. Mural by John Marriot.TorQ at Ten continues from page 7lots of exciting things on the horizon!”A quick search of The WholeNote October listings confirms themomentum he talks about: participation in an October 4 Nuit Blancheall-nighter at the Canadian Music Centre, titled Global Motives; anOctober 16 U of T Faculty of Music free noon concert in Walter Hall;back to back appearances October 24 and 25 in the Grand PhilharmonicChoir’s performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in Kitchener.And finally, in this cycle anyway, the icing on the cake – a November 18pm concert titled TorQ Turns 10, back at Walter Hall. The concert isbilled as “a milestone celebration of TorQ’s first decade together, featuringfavourites from their repertoire; works by Cage, Hatzis, Wijeratne,Morphy and others.”“Percussion can fit into so many different situations,” says Drake.“Perhaps because of our diverse interests, we’ve always actively soughtout different musical settings to satisfy different aspects of performance.Because of that broad approach, we often end up with seemingly dissimilargigs close to one another; we might be playing a classical concertwith an orchestra one week, a bunch of school shows the next, then ashow in a bar the next week. We seem to thrive on that sort of variety.”A closer look at the program for their November 1 “Milestone” concerttells a story: “Often the way that we choose a program is by pure andsimple democracy and a lot of back and forth,” says Drake. “Pretty muchevery concert we’ve ever played has always had some amount of inputfrom each member.” The main criterion is that all four of them haveto enjoy playing every piece that they perform. “We each have slightlydifferent tastes in music, but it’s important that we don’t play pieces thatone person really doesn’t like – if someone isn’t into a piece, it’s muchharder for the group to have a convincing performance.”You can hear their individual voices, and a sense of their journey asan ensemble, as they describe, in no particular order, the repertoire forthe November 1 concert.“Third Rule of Thumb by Barbara White ... was on the very first concertthat TorQ ever played (in Walter Hall),” says Richard Burrows. “We playedit on that concert because it was one of the pieces on the suggested repertoirelist for the Luxembourg competition, which was the original motivationfor putting the group together. It was probably the first piece thatTorQ ever learned.”John Cage’s Third Construction is, in Drake’s words “a seminal work –one of the first great [non-pitched] percussion quartets ever written. It’sbecome part of the canon ... as fresh today as it did when it was writtenin 1941. It’s musically brilliant and incredibly fun to play. Pieces like thismotivate us to do what we do.”Nocturno is part of a longer work Modulations 1, by Christos Hatzis.“He is one of Canada’s greatest contemporary composers,” says AdamCampbell. “ It was composed in conjunction with our involvement inhis graduate level course Composing for Percussion at U of T. It wasour second collaboration with Christos; the first resulted in the quartetversion of In the Fire of Conflict, which is on our album two+two.”Dance of Joy and Whimsy by Elisha Denburg, was also the result ofTorQ’s first involvement with Hatzis’ Composing for Percussion class. “Itwas one of our favourites from the class,” Dan Morphy says. “We likedit so much we recorded it on our first album. Elisha has since become agood friend, and has written us other great pieces, including as part ofthe Toy Piano Composers collective.”“Ersilia is a percussion quartet-only movement from our first concertocommission, Invisible Cities, by the incredibly talented Dinuk Wijeratne”says Cunningham. “We premiered it in March with the Universityof Saskatchewan and will be playing it all across Canada in the nextcouple of years with other members of the commissioning consortium.We’ll also be showcasing it in July in San Jose at the World Associationof Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference; we’re hoping to startto perform the piece with American ensembles as well.”Thrown from a Loop is one of numerous pieces that members of TorQhave written for the group. “We all feel that contributing to the repertoireis really important,” says Morphy. “It increases the Canadian content, andit also allows us to play music that no one else plays (at least at first). Loopalso showcases our diverse influences – not only the classical and universitytraining side of things, but how various modern genres (includingpop music) have influenced us.”Awakening Fire was TorQ’s very first commission. “Jason Stanfordhas always been a great supporter of the group,” Drake says. “The pieceis beautiful. It was also the first piece we ever played that involvedelectronics.”No TorQ concert would be complete without improvisation. Burrowsexplains: “As former students of the members of NEXUS, we’ve alwaysbeen influenced by their amazing improvisations; the opportunity tospontaneously combine our musical interests and ideas has always heldimmense appeal to us, and it’s been an important part of our musicmakingsince the formation of the group.” They are releasing their thirdalbum, Without A Map, at the November 1 concert. “This is our first allimprovalbum, and creating and recording the music for it was a realjoy for each of us.”Their respect for NEXUS is not a one-way street either; their albumtwo+two was described by former NEXUS member Robin Engelmanas a “landmark recording […demonstrating] an artistry that puts TorQsquarely on par with the best percussion ensembles in the world.”Life in TorQ requires dexterity and versatility. But that being said,while they “all do almost everything, and like to mix it up” they do havetheir preferences. “I enjoy vibraphone over marimba,” says Drake. “Dan[Morphy] is our biggest marimba talent; he has amazing chops, so ifthere’s a killer marimba part it’s his …”“How about sonata for kitchen sink and kazoo?” I interrupt, jokingly.He does not hesitate. “I do a mean kitchen sink,” he says. “And Adam isking of the kazoo.”It’s been five years since that Cameron House photo shoot in front ofJohn Marriot’s iconic mural (alas no more). It’s also the closest they’vecome, so far, to playing the Cameron as a group. But with their collectiveappetite for everything musical, I wouldn’t count on it staying that way!David Perlman can be reached at publisher@thewholenote.com74 | October 1 - November 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

SEASON PRESENTING SPONSORAUTUMN CONCERTSSpectacular showpieces & guest artistsJAKUB HRU ° ŠAKAREN GOMYONICOLA BENEDETTIDvořák New WorldSymphonyWED, OCT 8 AT 6:30pmTHU, OCT 9 AT 8pmSAT, OCT 11 AT 7:30pmJakub Hru ° ša, conductorKaren Gomyo, violinTom Allen, host (OCT 8)Morawetz: Carnival Overture (OCT 9)Sibelius: Violin Concerto(OCT 8 – Mvt. I only)Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From theNew World”7:15pm pre-concert chat in the Lobby on Oct 9Post-concert party in the Lobby on Oct 11Romeo & JulietWED, OCT 22 AT 8pmTHU, OCT 23 AT 2pmStéphane Denève, conductorNicola Benedetti, violinTchaikovsky: Marche Slave*Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1Prokofiev/arr. Stéphane Denève:Suite from Romeo and Juliet* Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestraperforms alongside the TSO7:15pm pre-concert chat in the Lobby on Oct 22The Dream of GerontiusTHU, OCT 30 AT 8pmSAT, NOV 1 AT 8pmPeter Oundjian, conductorCatherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-sopranoStuart Skelton, tenorJohn Relyea, bass-baritoneAmadeus ChoirElmer Iseler SingersElgar: The Dream of Gerontius7:15pm pre-concert chat in the Lobby on Nov 1TICKETS FROM | ROY THOMSON HALL | 416.593.4828 | TSO.CAOFFICIAL AIRLINEOCT 22 PERFORMANCE SPONSOR

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