7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 8 - May 2007

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  • Jazz
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Drumming in the festival

Drumming in the festival seasonSay "drumming" and any number of associations springs· to mind:the invocation of ancestral spirits; seven minute 70s progrock solos;thunderous Wagnerian death scenes; marching, rallying, being summonedfor celebration or, sacrifice. On balance the festive tends tooutweigh the sacrificial these days, but the primal power of thedrum's call is still undeniable, never more so than in the spring,when energies which have lain dormant through the long winterbegin to wake.One would be hard pressed to find anyone who better embodiesthe spirit of drumming than Aiyun Huang. And embodies is certainlythe operative \VOrd. "I see performance as a coalescence ofsound, physicality and theatricality," she says. Her work, both inpractice and in theory (she also teaches at McGill University), placesgreat emphasis on the physical nature of drumming, the fact that it isan instrument, or set of instruments, in the playing of which thewhole body is potentially involved. As such, her approach pushespercussion playing to the point that it becomes a kind of theatre."The physicality of playing percussion instruments," she says,allows for "multi-faceted theatricality, which can be inherent in theaction of striking, can be embedded in the narrative of the music, orcan dictate musical expressions. I see myself as someone who isexpanding the boundaries of percussive arts by incorporating'otheringredients - artistic skills and forms, such as voice, gestures, anddance ... . Percussion theatre."It is this notion of "Percussion Theatre" that she brings to the May26 program she was asked to curate as part of Soundstreams Canada'supcoming Cool Drummings International Percussion Festival and Conference- an eight concert, 6 day immersion in the world of drumming -from May 22nd to 27th."All of these 'ingredients' are present in the May 26 program" shesays, "articulated to varying degrees of theatricality. " It all sounds a bitheady, but, she is quick to add, "at a more basic level, it is simply a lotof fun to play, and to listen and watch players who are no longer allowedto hide behind the music stands." (The 'non-hiders' in this case,will include marimbist/percussionist Ryan Scott, the McGill PercussionEnsemble, flutist Robert Cram and dancer Danielle Baskerville.)The pros and cons of festivals? "It is easier to get a good audience infestivals than in a single concert" she says. "Publicity costs less whenyou break it down per concert and you can target a much wider audience.I think that is why we are seeing more festivals these days. CoolDrummings brings performers of many styles together into one week ofevents. The audience can really pick and choose according theirtastes and curiosities. Without a festival like Cool Drumrriings, Torontoniansprobably would not have a chance to see Tambuco, orPeter Erskine with Nexus. My students will probably benefit themost from this festival. It is going to be an eye opening experiencefor them."Any downside to the festival approach? "Sometimes the audiencegets burned out before the festival is over. They become overwhelmedand shut down. I don't think that it will happen in this one."Di~ f fHt k1ttJw ...Long & McQuade Sells Acoustic Pianos• new & refurbished instruments• Pram berger upright & grand pianos nowavailable · great value for any Jevef. of playing• 36 month financing available {OAC} on all pianos9'25 SWOR STW. TORONTO 416-588-73863100 MAINWAY DR, BURLINGTON 905·31!1·~!IS~l HIGHWAY 48, MARKHAM 9()5-2()9.1177or emi#I info@long,mcquooe.oom fer moreoota'ls.Long & McQuadeMUSICAL INSTRUMENTS•Huang's passion to exploreher vision of the theatrical potentialof percussion has led to multiplecollaborations with composers:she mentions Canadians GaryKulesha, Linda Bouchard, DavidJaeger, Inouk Demers, HeatherSchmidt, Chris Paul Harman andAlice Ho, Americans Rick Burkhardt,Derek Keller, Chris Mercer,Sean Griffin, and FarangisNurulla-Khoja, a composer fromthe Central Asian Republic ofTajikistan.She sees such projects as centralto her work."As a percussionist," she says,"I will continue to commissionand champion new works forpercussion." And she will continueto extend and ,blur boundaries. In addition to more works for percussionand theatre, she intends to promote and co-create "works for percussionand live video, and improvisation with live electronics."You can see her principles at play, too, in her ongoing work withnew music ensemble Toca Loca (profiled in WholeNote in February oflast year) whose programming is often touched with theatrical devilry."Next year, Toca Loca is embark on our first national tourwith P*P Project, a composer-driven project. We asked a group ofcolleagues drawn from a number of different disciplines to write forToca Loca incorporating popular influences as they saw fit:"All this is in addition to recently accepting a full-time position atMcGill as an Assistant Professor, as well as Chair of the PercussionProgram. "This year has been quite challenging for me to juggle being amom, a performer, a teacher and a researcher. I often wish that therewere more than 24 hours in a day and that I could teleport myself fromplace to place." Six days of drumming should cure that.Clearly she thrives on challenges, and her artistically ambitious"inner objective" won't allow her to rest on previous achievements."Ultimately, I want to contribute and help shape the future of percussionthrough repertoire, interpretation, performance, teaching, andresearch."MAsSEY llALL ••• AND ALL THAT JAZZLast month's "Have some jazz. with that opera" feature looked at jazz.clubs around the new opera house at Queen and University. From thenewest, to the oldest. This month, we look at the area round Toronto'sfirst great concert hall.Seepage 51WHO'S READING WHOLENOTE?Visit us online, answer our questiOn (or two)of the month, and earn a chance to winfront-of-the-line show ticketscourtesy of theHummingbirdCentre.LOG ONINMAYwww .thewholenote.comWWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM M AY 1 - J UNE 7 2007

4 l=R~~ COMMUNITY CONC~RTSpresented by Tafelmusik in conjunction with the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer InstituteDelightfully BaroqueSaturday, June 2 at 8:oopmTrinity-St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street WestTafelmusik Baroque Orchestra andChamber Choir with soprano AnnMonoyios and tenor Rufus Millier.Musical InterludeThursday, June 7 at 12:00 noonWal.ter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto(Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen's Park Ave)Faculty Chamber Concert· A casual noon-hour concert of baroquechamber music by Tafelmusik musicians.The TBSI Orchestra and ChoirMonday, June 11at1:oopmWalter Hall, Faculty·of Music, University ofToronto(Edward J~hnson Building, 80 Queen's Park Ave)Directed by Jeanne Lamon and lvarsTaurins and featuring the talentedInstitute participants.The Grand l=inaleThursday, June 14 at 7:3opmGrace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale RoadThe combined forces of the TafelmusikBaroque Orchestra and Chamber Choirand the TBSI Orchestra and Choir in abaroque extravaganza!*Visit or call 416.964.6337 for more.informationFree and general admission to all concerts:Admission to Delightfully Baroque, Musical Interlude, andThe TBSI Orchestra and Choir is first-come, first-served. Notickets required. Doors open 15 minutes before all concerts.*Tickets for The Grand Finale must be obtained in advanceand will be available to the public on Tuesday, June 5 startingat 10am IN PERSON ONLY, at the Tafelmusik Box Officeat 427 Bloor Street West. Maximum 2 tickets per person.(Note: all tickets were given away by noon last year!)Tafelmusi_k Baroque Summer Institute· - Tafelmusik's training programmefor baroque musiciansF'ACUI:rY'>/MUSICr~~~lT>tCO,.TA•

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