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Volume 6 Issue 3 - November 2000

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Choir
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Arts
  • Bloor

Cover story: continued

Cover story: continued the service of the composer." The concert, he says was exactly as he envisioned it, and as he sees it the rehearsal was the key. "·That's where they get to ask what did you mean, is this right or offer ways of achieying something which, the way I wrote it was impossible." Fujiko Irriajishi, Esprit's concert master (and concert master for the , National Ballet) can't remember how long she has been with Esprit---"since very near the beginning 1 though. I respect him a lot for what he's doing. Without him there would be no Esprit." Jerry Robinson, bassoon player and personnel manager, talked about "the vigilance it takes, the tenacity. He's always finding new ways to keep it going." He contrasts his work as player with Esprit to his work with the National Ballet orchestra, with evident enjoyment. "I've learned to be careful not to dismiss pieces -- the way I feel about it may not gel at all with the audience_." Doug Stewart, principal flute is much more inclined to contemporary work than the other two but shares tht!ir · perceptions of the importance of Esprit's place in the scheme of things .. He quotes with relish a former colleague's observation -- that "most large orchestras would rather stick needles in their eyes than play anything truly contemporary." And he points to major areas of Esprit's and Alex's work that I haven't touched on here --outreach to schools, recordings, film scores, taking the orchestra to · Europe. "Give him credit for tenacity. He works hard, and he works you hard." Alex Pauk has been associated with other new music groups that have gone "down different paths" : ARRAY MUSIC for example started in his living room in 1970-originally as a composers discussion group. They were all were students at the U ofT Faculty of Music: the others studying composing, Alex studying Music Education. But where Esprit is concerned he is dtegorical. "Esprit Orchestra has been my idea from the very beginning, in every aspect, including administrative. For that reason it has continued with strength of vision." "If you are telling the story of Esprit, there are still many areas to explore--multimedia aspects, combining film and music, video ...." No-one we spoke to accused him · of standing still. 50 Wholenote NOVEMBER 1, 2000 - DECEMBER 7, 2000 by David Perlman Start at the end of Frank Nakashima's resume,.rather than the beginning, and the clues to his abiding passion are, to say the least, a bit oblique. · . Under Sports he lists baseball, hockey, tennis, soccer, volleyball, running, swimmil).g, and cycling. (He confirms the.latter by showing up,Jtt our door on · bicycle, loolUrlg for all the world like a ci.ty hardened bike courier with last minute WholeNote ad in tow.) Under Special Skills the resume says he "plays several musical instruments: flute, recorder, guitar, piano, electric bass, percussion and similar instruments," and under Singing that he has a "three-octave range, and many vocal styles." Search for evidence of those "many styles" and you will find "the male vocal ensemble, The Gents (1974-1994)" of which he was a founding member and a refe'rence to frequent performances with "gr9ups such as The Harris Family Gosp'el Singers, and the country-rock band, Jim Dix and the Derelix." Continuing to track backward through the resume, the signs of purpose become clearer: He has had stints as a sales clerk at the Royal Conservatory of Music Bookstore and as Sales Manager, Olde Yorke Musick Shoppe. He has "composed a number of choral settings , and has written many distinctive ar- . rangements for The Gents." He operates a mail order service which imports books and facsimile editions from Europe, and prepares manuscripts for publication as a music calligrapher/copyist, numbering among his client~ the Royal Canadian College of Organists, University of Toronto Press, The Toronto Symphony, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. And for the past seven years, he has been the associate conductor at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Toronto. The list goes on: (actor in film, tv, and commercials; member of a theatre group called Mukashi Banashi - it means old stories - that takes traditional Japanese stories to schools and weaves into their enactment instrumentation like taiko drums· and bamboo flute; and a long time involveme~t as a chorister with The Oratory of St. Philip Neri "where Gregorian chant and Renaissance Latin MUSICIAN IN OUR MIDST FRANK NAKASHIMA polyphony are an integral part of.the liturgy") · Lest it start to sound as if he is a bit of a dilettante, let it be said that he clearly is not. Frank Nakashima's abiding passion is early music, and his kaleidoscopic world revolves around that · passion. Frank graduated from York University in Toronto in 1975, specialized in the performance practice of Medieval and Renaissance music. He didn't arrive at York with anything that clear in mind, though. "I arrived at York playing modern flute, knowing that music was it, but with no clear direction." He arrived at York from Scarborough's West Hill Collegiate where "sport and music were my only reasons for being there." But he had the great luck to be taught at West Hill by Garry Crighton, a founding members of the Toronto Consort. "He really took us in hand, musically",says Frank. "He would meet you where your interests were and help you understand the music you liked." York in the seventies was a real musical smorgasbord - there was lots of money to throw around in education. Frank recalls "a wonderful large recorder ensemble-a collegium, really," and "a huge band music department with piles ·of instruments." A diverse faculty included.Peggy Sampson (viola da gamba), New Zealapder David Mercer, and Trichy Sankaran. "I think it was a conscious effort to do what U ofT .wasn't" says Frank. "It was very stimulating."

Frank is currently the president of the Toronto Early Music Centre where, in addition to administration, he is responsible for the TEMC's educational presentations at the Royal Ontario Museum. One story that speaks volumes about the TEMCs role and reach in Toronto is how in March 1999, with only five days ' notice, the Canadian debut of the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra (known as Apollo's Fire) had to be re-located to St. Paul's Anglican Church due to a strike at the CBC. The executive producer of OnStage at the Glenn Gould Studio Barbara MacKenzie Mahler, contacted the TEMC through Frank , a:nd although the CBC had only sold about 150 tickets to that point, the TEMC managed to attract almost 600 people to the concert. Similarly in February 1999, impresario Trevor Moat collaborated with the TEMC (as well as many others) to reclaim a cancelled Ford Centre · program - the world-renowned baroque ensemble, 11 Giardino Armonico. Relocated to Trinity-St. Paul's United Church) the performance was presented to a sold-out audience of 700. And there's the story about how in Decemqer 1998, Classical Canada Concert Management (Ruth Taylor), the Canadian touring agent for the worldrenowned vocal ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, approached the TEMC for assistance to help "save" their concert which was also one cancelled at the Ford Centre due to Livent's declaration of bankruptcy. Their program was re-located to St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (next to Roy Thomson Hall) and attracted an enthusiastic audience (about 300). More significant to Frank than the TEMC role in saving that one Tallis Scholars Concert, though, is the fact that the Tallis Scholars' first ever Toronto concert was under TEMCs auspices. "The Gothic Voices, the Taverner Consort, the Tallis Scholars, soprano Emma Kirkby, Fretwork viol group, lutenist Hopkinson Smith, baroque cellist Anner Bylsma, Apollo's Fire (The Cleveland Baroque Orchesti:a & Singers), Ensemble ' Anonymus of Quebec, and countertenor Daniel Taylor in recital - they all made their solo Toronto debuts during my . tenure as program director" he says'. . · "The thought of gaining a higher profile for early music in this city is exciting" was Frank's response to the invitation to be the subject of this column this month. An excessive response for something so tiny? If one sees things that w:ay. But part of what makes Frank who he is is precisely that he doesn't see things that way. In the kaleidoscope, no piece is tiny. DAWN LYONS GOES Behind the· Scenes • ALLISON CAMERON freelance co~l?~Ser PHOTO: OEN CIUL I'm talking today withfree-lance composer ALLISON CAMERON in her second-floor fiat in Toronto's Little Italy. The dormeredfront room is painted a · strong dark blue, but you only notice that later. First you see the stuff - two HUGE bookcases.filled with CD's. I try to estimate - two,four, six, eight, ten ·times two shelves times how many per shelf. .. Allison: Yeah, there's about two thou- . sand. N.ot fun to move! The centre of the room is a sort of nest formed by a computer, a nice big desk and a MIDI keyboard, all held together by tangled wires. There's other stuff, too . - a wooden model sailing ship, looking very nautical against the navy walls, books, chairs, printers, a. lava lamp. Allison sits in a chair that swivels from the keyboard to the computer to the ' desk. N_ot exactly a shrine to music, more like aforge. The desk has three small stacks of scores on it, and room for more. WORLD'S LEADING CLASSICAL LA~EL National HMV ·Naxos Sale- Listen, Learn and Grow SALE HIGHLIGHTS t Outstandin~ selection .t Unbeatable prices t . Free catalogues· t Free "How to Build a Classical CD Collection" Booklets NAXOS On sale at all HMV stores across Canada www.naxoscanada.com NOVEMBER 1, 2000 - DECEMBER 7, 2000 Wholenote 51

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