7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 10 - July/August 2005

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SoME THING New No rest

SoME THING New No rest for the passionate by Jason van Eyk Now that the Toronto concert season is firmly at its close, I was curious to know what our new music community would be up to with their few "free" months. I figured rest and relaxation would be at the top of the list. But for those who are energized by new music, .there is never truly a good reason for rest. Jerry Pergolesi, Co -Artistic Director and percussionist for CONTACT Contemporary Music: "I plan on writing project reports, reconciling my year end and writing a bunch more grant applications ... oh, and practising a bit. I'll be playing across a good chunk of Canada with Kelly and the Kellygirls, and trying my best to confirm plans for next season ... trying to envision where we want the organization to go. And I'm trying to shed a few extra pounds ... " Scott Good, composer and Artistic Director of Earshot! Concerts Bongani Ndodana, Ai-tistic Director for Ensemble Noir, describes a slightly more leisurely pace: "I whl mostly be spending the summer at the Ensemble Noir offices, knocking off late afternoon and true to my South African origins, taking in an occasional sundowner at the local Scott Good, composer and Artistic watering hole. I mostly compose at DirectorofEarshot! Concerts: "July night when it's quieter so will try is all about getting my business side and finish off pieces for our winter together (including a way overdue NYC tour, finish an orchestral piece collection of submissions to the Cafor my alma mater and meditate on a nadian Music Centre!). Visiting piecewhichBarbaraCroallhasasked with family and friends - and play- me to do for Ergo. Later on in the ing lots of jazz and rock music. In . summer - nobler pursuits: trips to August, my wife Jennifer and I are the hardware, painting IVY apartment going on a 10-day excursion into the and putting on new floors and tiles." wilds of Ontario- all via the most elegant and Canadian forms of trans- Finally, Darren Copeland of New portation-the canoe. After that, it Adventures in Sound Art:"Well for is back to the grindstone-the end me (and Nadene) it is 'no rest for of August and into September are the wicked' as we are presenting our fully booked with gigs, and of annual summer Sound Travels event course, lots of music to compose." on Toronto Island which will again include the Sign Waves installations New Music Concerts' General Man- running every Sunday from July 24th ager, David Olds, sent in his Artis- untiiSeptember4th. Wearequiteextic Director's message, as Robert cited this year to include a residency Aitken was already overseas: ''I'm for emerging artists. David Ogborn, afraid that Bob doesn't really know Lewis Kaye, Parrnela Attariwala and what a vacation is. June 19 through Rose Bolton will be working with July 3 he is in residence at Mount Charlie Fox to record soundscapes Orford teaching and giving master- with Charlie's newly developed 8- classes; July 21 -31 he will be com- channel microphone array. They muting from Freiburg to Alsace for will then work with Yves Daoust the Music Alte summer . course, who is also our composer-in-resiagain teaching and giving master- dence. 1 will work with the 4 as well . classes; August 2, Bob and his wife Then at the end of August, I will be are off to Vilnius, Lithuania where heading to ·Chlcago to do some work he will rehearse with an orchestra with the Third Coast festival, then a for three days for a concert on Au- short vacation with Nadene before gust 5; then a bit of break for a we launch our SOUNDplay event driving tour of Lithuania before in September. Among all this, I'm ending up back in Germany on Augoing to make a piece just for myself, gust 15 to prepare for a concert in Weikersheim on the 18th. Then which 1 try to do every summer." it's back to Freiburg to meet up Even though the season has come with fam11y before returning to to an end, there's still new music to Toronto August 25 ." be found . Beyond Copeland's Sound Travels series, there is the Toronto Music Garden, and many summer festivals throughout Ontario. Stratford Summer Music delivers a series of premieres by well-loved Canadian composers ,John Growski, Howard Ca- . ble, Maijan Mozetich and Victor Davies. Further east, the NAC's Summer Music Institute delivers new works from its Young Composers Workshop as well as pieces by established talent like Alexina Louie. Also in our na­ . tion's capital, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival gives special attention to Canadian rew music in early August with a Made in Canada series. For more details, be sure to refer to the "Green Pages" in last month's issue. So, go out and get revived by the passion of new music. Feel energized by some thing new. Jason van Eyk is the Canadian Music Centre's Ontario Regional Director. He can be reached at 416-961-6601 x. 207 or . Coalition of New Music Presenters: News WHAT IF THEY GAVE A CONCERT AND NOBODY C AME? by Keith Denning Readers of this column (usually a rundown of concerts and other events that Coalition groups are mounting). don't necessarily know me as a composer (of really quite accessible music that you would probably enjoy hearing), or as somebody who is deeply involved with a particular new music group (Earshot Concerts, of which I've been the general manager for a number of years) or as a participant in, and believer in, the Toronto New Music Coalition (an umbrella group that comprises the shining lights of new music in this city.) Last year at this time, I indulged my other selves and. wrote a column that had very little to do with the immediate goings-on of Coalition members. I think that that was a good tradition to start, and since tradition requires continuity, here I go again! I have to tell you that the most disappointing new music event that I ever attended was a concert by Trio Phoenix, about five or six years ago. It was one of the best concerts that I ever witnessed. The musicians played brilliantly; I particularly remember the performance of a piece by Takemitsu that literally brought me to tears. The concert consisted of bold, brave music, worthy music, REAL music, music that will stand the test of time because it is timeless. Well, what could possibly be the problem with any of that? Am I demented? What, if this was so good, could possibly be so disappointing? I'll tell you what: my wife and I constituted forty percent of the audience. Yes, one of the most ear-opening, excellent, beautifully performed, and in all other ways, simply best concerts that I had ever been to had exactly five people in attendance. One of the most true things, if a bit waggish, that can be said of music is: talking about music is like dancing about architecture. This creates an immediate problem. You (I'm pretty sure) were not at that concert I just mentioned. I talked about it just now, and said that it was one of the best concerts I ever attended, beautifully performed, etcetera. Do you have any idea how it sounds? Certainly not from my description. What if I told you that the Takemitsu piece sounded like angels skateboarding on a cirrus cloud? Well, you had to be there. Which is the whole point. I understand this from many angles. I've missed concerts which I've sincerely wanted to go to. I just did this a few weeks ago, and I'm sorry, Rose, that I missed your concert. I really hope that it went well. Life gets in the way. At the same time, I've gone to concerts which I've regretted attending. New music can turn you on, and it can turn you off, depending on what you go to, depending on• your ear, depending on the programming, depending on all kinds of things. You never know what you're going to get, and this is a good thing, intrinsically, but sometimes after a hard day 's work, you might just want to have some idea of what you're going to get if you go out. This can be a problem, if you are a new music group trying to get people out to your concerts while simultaneously pushing the envelope. Earshot has put on sixteen concerts in its fairly brief existence, most good, some of them truly excellent. Attendance at our concerts has ranged from hair-pullingly bad (from the point of view of the person who writes the cheques) to exhilaratingly great (selling out the Music Gallery! now I'm a minor impresario!). Attempts at analysis fail. Why a concert that is fantastically good (say. for example, our last concert of this season, which was really brilliant) had fewer than thirty people at it, while only two years before I was rushing around putting in extra rows of seats at the back of the Music Gallery in dizzy glee, mystifies me. 26 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM ) U LY 1 -SEPTEMBER 7 2005

The only thing that I can think is that life in this city is a busy one. Maybe too busy. I miss all kinds of things, and so, dear reader, do you. It is a point of shame to me that I have attended so few concerts by Continuum and Arraymusic, for example. I've never been to a concert by Soundstreams, even though I really meant to go to that last one, you know? But, I was exhausted after work, and my better half, God bless her, was seriously delayed by one of those subway problems that you know is happening only because the train hasn't come for twenty minutes, and something is being stridently mangled over the PA. So I missed that one and I'll never know what it was, because you can't really talk about music. The band I'm so happily a part of (the Ugly Bug Band, which you should really check out sometime! ) can garner fifty people or five, with no apparent rhyme or reason. We gig with regularity, and I've never chastised anyone who missed a gig, even if they had sworn to me two hours prior to showtime that they would be there, because I understand that Life in the Big City can Intervene. But since I can't tell them, in words, what we sound like, they end up just not knowing. We drown in our own riches in Toronto. It is full of music, possibly overfull. Pascal said that if a person read two hours a day, he could read everything that was worth reading, but he would feel broken on the rack if he seriously tried to digest the phenomenal amounts of music that emanate from the creators in this city . All that having been said, I've made too many excuses for myself. Time to make a New Year's Resolution for the New Season. Busy? Too bad! Tired? Get over it! Missed a deadline? Fire me, already! Sorry, but I've turned over a new leaf. I'm going to that concert. I want to be there. I want to HEAR it. I don't want to hear about it, because I know next to nothing about dancing, or architecture. New Music Concerts !

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