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Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015

Vol 21 No 2 is now available for your viewing pleasure, and it's a bumper crop, right at the harvest moon. First ever Canadian opera on the Four Seasons Centre main stage gets double coverage with Wende Bartley interviewing Pyramus and Thisbe composer Barbara Monk Feldman and Chris Hoile connecting with director Christopher Alden; Paul Ennis digs into the musical mind of pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, and pianist Eve Egoyan is "On the Record" in conversation with publisher David Perlman ahead of the Oct release concert for her tenth recording. And at the heart of it all the 16th edition of our annual BLUE PAGES directory of presenters profile the season now well and truly under way.

weekend, Smith says:

weekend, Smith says: “It will give me a chance to hear how these works are in conversation with each other and in what way there might be some kind of common thread.” Additional October Concerts. Two notable events presented by the Canadian Opera Company this month include the world premiere of Barbara Monk Feldman’s opera Pyramus and Thisbe running October 20 to November 7, which I have written about in depth elsewhere in this issue. And as part of the COC’s Piano Virtuoso Series on October 8, a performance by John Kameel Farah of his compositions mixing a wide variety of styles and influences – early music, electronic dance, world and contemporary classical. TorQ Percussion The TorQ Percussion Quartet presents world premieres on October 28 by Michael Oesterle and Andrew Staniland, and arrangements of works by composers Oesterle, Tim Brady and John Psathas (New Zealand). Early on in the month, on October 8 and 9, you can catch a workshop performance of Selfie, an opera composed by Chris Thornborrow presented by Tapestry Opera. Another early month event happens in Kitchener in celebration of the 30th anniversary of NUMUS on October 2 – the performance of Ghost Tango, a new chamber opera by Tim Brady with libretto by Douglas Burnet Smith. Also in the Kitchener-Waterloo area on October 17 at the Perimeter Institute, an homage to Italian minimalist painter Giorgio Morandi will take place combining improvised music with drawing gestures. The bass clarinet and percussion will recreate the voice of the Euphonopen, an instrument created for the live performance of drawing. QUICK PICKS Two not-to-be-missed concerts in early October, already covered in the September In with the New column: October 4: Esprit Orchestra. Compositions by Zosha Di Castri, Jörg Widmann, Omar Daniel and Thomas Adès. October 7 and 8: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. “Barbara Hannigan Sings & Conducts” includes works by groundbreaking 20th century composers Luigi Nono and György Ligeti. And also take note of: October 8: Canadian Music Centre. Piano works by Canadian composers performed by Moritz Ernst. October 10: 5 at the First’s chamber music concert includes a work by John Weinzweig (Beyond GTA). October 15: Canadian Music Centre. Allison Angelo and Simon Docking perform and launch the CD Loves Its Light. October 24 and 25: Aga Khan Museum. Performance of the multidisciplinary OYAN! Project (Awakening), a work inspired by the music of internationally acclaimed Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh. October 28: Canadian Music Centre. Ensemble Made in Canada, a rising piano quartet, performs works by John Burge. October 30 and 31: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s concert includes Steps to Ecstasy by Marjan Mozetich. Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electrovocal sound artist. TARA MCMULLEN Introductions @ 7:15 Concerts @ 8:00 Subscriptions: 416.961.9594 new music concerts 2015~2016 Robert Aitken artistic director SAT. OCT. 17, 2015 | TURNING POINT ENSEMBLE TPE performs works by Morlock, Sokolovic, Chang, LC Smith and Louie • Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St. SUN. NOV. 8, 2015 | R. MURRAY SCHAFER: LOVING/TOI Preview of NMC’s latest CD (non-subscription event) • Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. RESERVATIONS 416.961.9594 SUN. DEC. 6, 2015 | A PORTRAIT OF PHILIPPE LEROUX Music by Leroux, Grisey, Rubin and Carter • Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St. THURS. JAN. 14, 2016 | JACK STRING QUARTET NMC + Music Toronto present works by Adams, Otto, Zorn and Xenakis • Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front St. E. TICKETS 416.366.7723 MON. FEB. 15, 2016 | BOULEZ AND BASHAW Honouring Pierre Boulez in his 90 th year plus a premiere by Howard Bashaw • Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St. SUN. MAR. 13, 2016 | QUASAR SAXOPHONE QUARTET Recent Canadian works composed for the virtuoso Montréal ensemble • The Music Gallery, 197 John St. SUN. APR. 3, 2016 | VIVA ELECTRONICA Premieres by Tan, Hamel, Ahn and Steenhuisen • Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St. SUN. APR. 24, 2016 I FLUTES GALORE ! Programmes subject to change without notice ➲ ➲ ➲ ➲ ➲ ➲ ➲ ➲ Music for 24 flutes by Aitken, Pauk, Mather and Butterfield • Saint Luke’s United Church, 353 Sherbourne St. 20 | Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015

Beat by Beat | World View Musical Climate Change ANDREW TIMAR This year’s summer weather has drifted gracefully on right to the end of September. While some 2,500 years ago the Greek physicist-philosopher Parmenides argued that “nature abhors a vacuum,” it also surely needs a rest. Or is September slowly becoming another August in our corner of the concert world? Whether or not it’s because the seasons themselves are shifting and smearing established concert-going cycles, the warm September we have just experienced was oddly reminiscent of the rest of the summer music break. Several series of concerts with a world music component, and a hint of summer to them, are commencing in late September or even October. These include the Small World Music Festival, Music Gallery’s X Avant Festival, and concerts at Massey Hall, the Aga Khan Museum and the always well-attended noon-hour shows at the COC’s Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. And Kingston, Ontario’s new jewel of a venue, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, launches the premiere concert of its Global Salon Series this month. Welcome aboard! Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus: Before I touch on a few of those concerts however, and departing from my usual chronological presentation, I would like to explore the fascinating story of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus. On October 24 it is presenting “Celebrating the Bandura: Past, Present and Future” at Massey Hall with Ruslana, its Ukrainian guest star. The UBC is an American-Canadian group with a history spanning two continents, but it also has a strong local membership. Ukrainian Canadians are a significant presence in this country. They are the ninth-largest ethnic group, representing the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population after that of Ukraine and Russia. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became an independent state in 1991. Canada swiftly recognized it, the first country to do so. Strong bilateral ties, as many readers will know, have characterized the relationship ever since. Fewer, however, may realize that the first of these cultural links was forged generations ago. The Detroit-based Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus’ website states that the “first professional bandurist chorus was formed in Kyiv in 1918 during the height of the country’s brief period of independence.” It was during the subsequent 1920s, a transformative period of Ukrainian national awakening, that language, culture, and specifically the UBC, “developed into a professional touring troupe,” among the most prominent of its kind. By the next decade, however, the UBC narrative quickly turns very dark. Under Soviet leader “Joseph Stalin’s rule, artists and intellectuals were arrested, exiled or executed in an attempt to eradicate every remnant of Ukrainian culture,” states the website. “Many conductors, chorus members and blind bandurist-minstrels were accused of enticing the populace to nationalism and were executed ... their songs banned throughout the Soviet Union.” But perhaps I’ve gotten ahead of myself here. What is a bandura, and how does its Ukrainian history tie into the group that will perform in October at Massey Hall? Ray (Roman) Beley and Orest Sklierenko, both veteran Toronto members of the UBC, helped me understand a few key notions. We spoke via a conference call on September 14. The bandura, a kind of large-bellied lute with features of a zither, is a “multi-string plucked instrument, the voice and soul of Ukraine,” noted Beley. From all I’ve heard and read, the bandura is much more than a mere musical instrument; it symbolically embodies Ukrainian Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus national identity, its songs reflecting the turbulent history of the Ukrainian people. Pre-20th-century folk banduras usually had fewer than two dozen strings in diatonic tunings. Typically handmade by the musicians, no two banduras were exactly the same. The oral tradition bandurist (a.k.a. kobzar) was a troubadour who sang a wideranging repertoire of para-liturgical chants (kanty), psalms, social dances and epics (dumy) accompanying himself on the bandura. On the other hand the more recent Kyiv or Kharkiv style bandura, played in ensembles today, is a grander affair. It possesses 65 or more strings, some with levers enabling the bandurist to change keys during the performance. (There’s a strong GTA connection here too. I was intrigued to learn that among the leading contemporary bandura designers and makers is the Oshawa native Bill Vetzal.) Beley picks up the story. “After years of exploitation and persecution ANDREW ZWARYCH Oct 1 - Nov 7, 2015 | 21

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