7 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 4 - December 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Theatre
  • January
  • Jazz
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  • Ensemble

SOME THING New by Jason

SOME THING New by Jason van Eyk I suppose it is not surprising that in an artistic field known as "new music" any ties to conventions and traditions are limited at best. This is why, despite the season, you will find little mention of holiday music here. Rather, what drives this community is a desire to explore beyond established boundaries for something new. An important part of this pursuit is the thrill of discovering original voices, both in the creation and interpretation of new concert music. These voices come from many sources - from inside hidden pockets of our own community and from underrepresented international artists - but are almost always from the emerging generation, that alluring draw of youth. And I suppose it isn't surprising that this continual hunt for the New extends beyond original creation and interpretation into a search for new frames and different spaces, those things that offer interesting possibilities for the presentation of these voices. Such is the drive for some thing new. RIGHT OFF THE TOP This drive can be seen and heard off the top of the month, when Esprit Orchestra ventures out to explore the sound of a new space. On December 1st the Orchestra will present Mystery and Illusion at Metropolitan United, a church well known as a venue for choral music but rarely used by instrumental groups. Esprit is planning to employ this resonant chamber to its full potential (including the rare 64-foot stop on the church's organ) to present the striking and unusual lee Fields by American spatial music pioneer Henry Brant. John Rea This work is complemented by others which explore this relationship between sound and space, such as John Rea's sonic homage to the op-art paintings of Vasarely. In Rea's work the performers are to be mapped out on a stage grid that Esprit will attempt to stretch out over the audience. The concert closes with the ethereal and mystical Postludium by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. His work will complement the church's religious nature through its spiritual qualities and maximize its reverberant acoustics with long, flowing and resonant melodies. For more information, visit www That same week Danforth' s Eastminster United Church will ring with performances of contemporary Canadian music by talented young musicians. Contemporary Showcase, a national festival that encourages young musicians to explore the music of our country's composers, presents their final Toronto showcase concert on December 4th. Be sure to catch the voices of Canada's next great musical talents before they shoot off into international careers. Just remember - Scott and Lara St. John got their starts here. For more, visit Closer to the middle of the month, the hibernating neither/nor collective resurfaces with an aptly titled Obscurity festivette. Veering off the beaten track, neither/nor brings together some of Toronto's best experimental composers (including John Sherlock, who was featured as one of MacLean's 100 Canadian Leaders and Dreamers in 2005) to engage in a radicalism shaped by "a complete commitment to one's own uniqueness." From December 9 -11 , the festivette will inhabit spaces in the Darling Building, which is known primarily for its visual arts studios. This one promises some very interesting listening, and possibly some visual surprises. For more, visit As we approach the week before Christmas we do get one holidaythemed new music concert, thanks to the Toronto Children's Chorus. On December 17th at Roy Thomson Hall, the Chorus will present a mixed programme of 20th and 21st Century music. This talented young group of singers is no stranger to performing new works, having premiered compositions by some of Canada's best choral composers. For this occasion they will premiere a newly commissioned work by Ottawabased Kelly-Marie Murphy. Dr. Murphy is one Canada's leading early career composers. Her commission, The Darkest Midnight in December for treble voices and harp, was inspired by a visit to Dublin with harpist Judy Loman, and a resulting connection to Ireland's national instrument (the harp) and Murphy's own heritage. The work is Murphy's first commission for children, and it couldn't be in better hands. Despite the ominous title, drawn from a 16thcentury Irish text, no doubt it will be an intriguing holiday treat. For more information, visit As we enter the New Year, themes of youth and voice move out into international waters to explore unknown Icelandic talents and epic tales. On January 8th at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, New Music Concerts presents Grettir, a new chamber opera by composer Thorkell Sigurbjornsson and librettist Bodvar Gudmundsson. Grettir was premiered at the venerable Bayreuth Festival in 2004 under the auspices of the Young Artists Festival. The opera is based on the medieval Icelandic Saga from 1000 AD of Grettir the Strong, a poetwarrior and fugitive outlaw. The Icelandic environment is a central feature of the musical drama, invoked visually, aurally and literally through recent sound recordings of various soundscapes. Volcanoes, glaciers, mysterious caves, lava fields, hot-springs, waterfalls and the high winds of the North­ Atlantic all play their role. This Canadian premiere, featuring the cast of the Bayreuth Youth Festival itself, will receive only one performance in Toronto. So, don't forget to book your tickets well in advance. For more, visit www. newmusicconcerts. com. On January 14th Southern Ontario's NUMUS uncovers other unknown musical voices of Europe when it presents MoEns, the premiere new music ensemble of Prague, at the Music Gallery. Established in 1995, MoEns provides a permanent platform for the professional performance of new mu- and WholeNote Magazine invite you to participate in our forum New Music at the Crossroads, a discussion about the state of new music in Toronto today. Visit for listings, forums, information, and more. Celebrating Harry: A Tribute to Harry Freedman Join the Toronto music community in paying tribute to composer Harry Freedman, with music by performed by: New Music Concerts, Esprit Orchestra, Soundstreams Canada, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Phil Nimmons and the Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra and more. Glenn Gould Studio • 250 Front St. W. January 20, 2006,@ 7:30 • 28 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COM D ECEM BER 1 2005 - FEBR UARY 7 2006

Ensemble contemporain de Montreal sic, especially that of the younger generation of Czech composers. The ensemble's touring and international residencies are now broadening that platform beyond the Czech Republic into North America. This concert, which follows on the heels ofMoEns's residency at Wilfrid Laurier University, will give us a peek into the current musical developments from Central European voices. For more, visit By the middle of the month we return to the resonant space of Metropolitan United Church with Soundstreams Canada. On January 17th, Soundstreams brings together the BIT20 Ensemble of Norway in their first Canadian appearance with the Ensemble contemporain de Montreal. Both ensembles have enviable reputations as chamber groups devoted to new music. Soundstreams takes advantage with an ambitious slate of works for double chamber orchestra. World premieres include commissions from Paul Frehner of Montreal and Jon Oivind Ness of Norway. Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney felt these two composers were a good match - although both are early in their careers, they have had a lot of experience writing for chamber orchestra, and have become adept at manipulating instrumental colour and texture. We will hear their craft and imagination at work as they seize the acoustical potential of this unique combination of space and ensemble. The programme will be rounded out with works by some of new music's international heavy hitters, including America's John Adams, Norway's Magnus Lindberg, and Scotland's James Macmillan. Altogether, it promises an incredible aural experience. For more, visit www DECEMBER 1 2005 - FEBR UARY 7 2006 Finally, the University of Toronto, which has proven itself at developing talented composers, runs its four-concert New Music Festival January 18-21 at Walter Hall. While past versions have incorporated a distinguished visiting composer, this year's festival shines the spotlight solely upon the University's student ranks. A special treat will be the presentation of the Karen Kieser Prize on January 18th. This relatively young award is given to commemorate Karen Kieser, a distinguished triple-graduate of the Faculty of Music and a former Head of Music at CBC Radio. Friends and colleagues endowed this Prize as a tribute to her life, her work and her passionate devotion to the cause of Canadian music and musicians. Past winners have included Abigail Richardson (who has won top prize at the 2004 International Rostrum of Composers), Andrew Staniland (who recently took First Prize in the 2005 Pierre Mercure Award), and Craig Galbraith (who has had numerous high-profile commissions including the combined Elmer Iseler Singers and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, and the Gryphon Trio.) Whoever wins next will certainly be marked for a successful career launch. For more information, visit So make a break with tradition and explore new voices. Venture out into new spaces for 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 jasonv@ Continuum celebrates 20 years of bold music-making. A signal season of new works played by the virtuosic and fearless Continuum ensemble. WWW. THEWHOLENOTE,COM • 715 Inti'o • soo Concert PLAYING IN TONGUES Sunday February 5, 2006 8pm Music Gallery, St. George the Martyr, 197 John Street, Toronto Taking form & technique to the breaking point: world premieres from Peter Hatch, Michael Oesterle & Patrick Saint-Denis. Tickets: , seniors+arts workers, students Music Gallery box office: 416 204 1080 29

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