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Volume 8 Issue 5 - February 2003

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  • Toronto
  • February
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TORONTOHEARANDNOW (NEW

TORONTOHEARANDNOW (NEW MUSIC) by Paul Steenlzuisen ' . \ Move then with new desires, for blips and burps punctuating the where we used to build and love is audience sound of candy-wrappers no ·man's land, and only ghosts and coughing, but serialized can live. between two fires. (Cecil pointillism was o~ly a. small, Day Lewis) • necessary moment in the 1950's - Wm1 THE REcENT annowx:ement of alienating and strict, but temporary. New music is the whole range of musical possibility in the world today, and Mr. Oundjian'saffability. would look good aligned w.ith .an honest and intelligent exploration of it, Canadian and otherwise.· . Peter Oundjian as their new music 9U'ector, the TSO have embarked on what. is probably a make-or-break journey.. For those of us who believe that cultivating positive involvement with the new is actually the key to survival for orcheStras, close reading of the newspaper portrayals of Oundjian's introduction reveals as much cause for concern as relief, which only the perusal of a newly curated season will confirm or quell. Given his affably stated Jack of familiarity with contemporary music, one would hope that for the non­ Ca$dian part of his research, Mr. Oundjian looks to successful models for guidance: Michael Tilson Thorrias has established a positive artistic relationship ·with some composers and his inquisitive audieoc.e in San Francisco, and, prior to departing for Atlanta, Robert Spano was onto something in Brooklyn: Chicago can also boast of success, as can Esa-Pekka Salonen's LA Philharmonic. · Elsewhere, various British and European orchestras (with and His chfunber music experience will theh be a strength: if translated into situational redefinition Qf the orchestra, enabling both increased economic feasibility and a wider range of possible repertoire through smaller, more varied combinations. As an example, Boulez's redivisions of the orhestra at the NY Phil for various programmes have proven both groundbre:µdng and sensible. . In the short term, a first step in this new path, for Oundjian and the TSO, is to establish a good rapport and discussion with the capable and engaging contemporary musical resources in our midst. From there, time will hopefully tell a good story. Information can tell us everything. It has all the answers. But they are answers to questions we have not asked ... (Jean Baudrillard) without Simon Rattle) have SETILING IN TO WRITE the column demonstrated that contemporary _this month, I realize that travel forces music (and by this I mean me to miss one of the concerts I've contemporary music, not simply looked forward to since reading the 19th century music written by 20th season listings - that being the century syc~phants), has an· Esprit Orchestra's NEW WA\-ES important role in establishing a new concert. on February 23. On the perception and lifi;: for the present- agenda that night are Paul Frehner's day orchestra. Subliminal Media, Chris Paul True, conservative, committee- Harman's From the Cradle to the based artistic direction prev~s almost Grave, Rose Bolton's Incidental across the board in large Canadian Music of My Mind, and Andre orchestras, often pla_cing the Ristic's Information. responsibility on compdsers to suit In a way that makes me want to the anachronistie listening needs of hear the piece even more, Ristic a very small, passing portion of their writes that "lnjomiation has always audience. been dear to me. Information is a But there is hope:TSO President way of communicating that Andrew Shaw's comments in the supercedes the normal language ... same articles as Oundjian, (he talks what we perceive of the content about the need for "intelligent depends enormousjy on how it is programming of new music" beyond organized.·... I decided to organize the mandatory first Canadian piece a musical structure that would that no-one listens to before the "real" ·subliminally make these choices for concert starts) point to awareness thelistener(what's·important, what's · and, therefore; potential change. not, what is supposed 'to be But what is the new?· Often, important, what is hidden beneath misinformation and laziness pigeon- some other seemingly important hole new music as .only Boulezian stuff, etc.) or even force these www.thewholenote.com February 1 - March 7 2003

love letter? a bill?) The fourth movement in particular gives the impression of a mkro-second being sc.;anned and re-scanned ; .. an "eternal instant" of information. "The middle (third) movement is a "commercial break'', ... The last movement is the mirror of the first. It uses mainly the same process. however in a slow movement, which makes it something of a "new glance" at the same information, a different perspective maybe, or the viewpoint of another persona". Composer Andre Ristic: "this photo represents my early And finaJJy, here are some QUICK interest' in communications" PICKS for the month. Details are choices on him/her . ... " in the comprehensive listings. ' "I was then well on my way to For those of you who prefer their actually start writing some music, comprehensive contemporary when. the unexpected terrorist attacks listings undiluted, I recommend [Sept 11] supplied me 'with an· www.torontohearandnow.com apparently infinite source of February 06 8:00: Music Gallery. inspiration. I remember sitting at · Composer Now Series: The Mudfish iny·desk, taking notes as I watched at 60. Musical celebration of Jim die American news channeis going "Mudfish" Montgomery's 60th round and round about this one birthday. unique event, as if every other bit of February 06 8:00: Soundstreams reality would inevitably end up Canada. John Estacio & Augusta ruiving a strong connection with it. Read Thomas. · You would hear sentences· like "Is February 12 8:00: TSO. Britten, there a connection between this lack Knussen, Stravinsky. of Catholic priests in Arkarisas and February 13 8:00: Music Toronto. the terror attacks? Let's find out Laura Wilcox, viola. Bach, Ligeti, after this." And of course "this" Barroso, Radford, Tanaka. would be something like a nation- Febniary 20 8:00: Music Toronto. wide rebate on mail-order flags. For Penderecki Quanet. Ligeti, Bartok, me, there was and still is a troubling Penderecki cyrtjcism in all [this] information. February 21 8:00: New Music "So Information was composed Concerts. Occident-Orient. Leclair, during these months of trouble in Yamamoto, Pelletier, Nishikawa/ international politics, and the music Mochizuki. was influenced by this mayhem. February 22 8:00: Arraymusic. Thefustmovementisbestdescribed ArrayLive. Music of Kondo, as a "statement" of a very dense Tenney, Smith & Wolff. Live nature, maybe comparable to the webcast/CD recording concert. hours followipg a dramatic event ... February 24 8:00: Ensemble Noir. an anacrusis for some,tlling terrible. Diversity Project. Music by' Euba; "The second and fourth Labi, Hailstork, Kagel, Cameron, movements are zooms ... like wanting to focus on one single detail (for instance, a piece of paper flying in the air - what's written on it? is it a Gary An Toronto's Center 1 for Clarinets and Oboes SALES * REPAIR * RENTAL Morehead & Stokes. March 01 8:00: U of T Faculty of Music. U of T Chamber Ensemble. Hindemith, Janacek, and Steve Reich's masterpiece Tehilim. Warranty Repair ·oepot NEW MUSIC COALITION NEWS Exercises in qccessib_ility New Music, a collage of changing trends in music and philosophy, can be tough to approach without a handbook. The listener may sense patterns, or a distinct lack of them, may catch a glimpse of familiar tonalities, or find himself encountering foreign harmonic landscapes. Se,asoned New Music lovers steeped in the philosophy, art and music history that culminates in New Music, by way of university degrees or self-study, eagerly await concerts in contemporary classical music, and the illuminating discussions that surround them. This is because many presenters within the New Music Coalition, recognizing the immense benefit of · their audience understanding the context for New Music, offer a kind ()f ongoing "New Music 101" for their audiences. These exercises in accessibility usually come in the form oNiscussions prior to each of their concerts, newsletters, web-based resources, and classes forlJoth adults and children. Pre-concert talks, led by the presenter's senior artistic staff, aim to clear the lens through which the audience views the art. The presenter may guide the audience through the process by which the music was made, apprising them of patterns or particularly innovative passages to listen for. Or she may provide historical, political or philosophical context for the reper- toire. Often these talks centre on enlightening discussion with the composer of the work being presented. After all, one of the major • perks of New Music is the opportunity for a first-hand account of the artist's process and purpose. A quick search of the New Music Coalition website \ (wwW. torontohearandnow .com), and the websites of the coalition's constituents, yields a bumper crop ofbackground information, resources, e-newsletters and supplementary information. CONTINUES ON PAGE 24 ACHILLA ORRU Sunday February 16 Fresh Ears family series 3pm + SS each additional family member The third in our series of Sunday afternoon family concerts features Achilla Orru -.an artist born among the Karimojung people of Northeastern Uganda and now based in Canada - and his band Baana Afrique. Orru is the undisputed master of the lokembe (thumb-piano). True to his roots, his music combines poetry, chants and the melodic sound of the lokembe, shifting the musical landscape to Central Africa, South Africa, India, 'North America and back to his village. The series is suitable for ages 7 and up. www.achillaorru.com STARK TRIO Saturday February 22 The Composer Now series Bpm S1s/Ss The eponymous Stark Trio is led by Associate ,_:. Concertmaste'r of the Israeli Philharmonic ii. Orchestra, Alexander Stark (violin), with Bella Jl Steinbuk (piano) and Canada's Nata Belkin !\? (cello). l'his concert offers a rare opportunity to see the internationally renowned Israeli musicians Stark and Steinbuk in a program of contemporary work by Alexander Levkovich and Sarah Feigin, as well as P.I. Tchaikovsky's essential Piano Trio . . The Music Gallery, 197 John St. ~t Stephanie 416-204-1080 • www.musicgallery.org J 15

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