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Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008

In with the newBY

In with the newBY RICHARD MARSELLAMusrc GALLERYPRESENTATIONSWednesday April 23THEADHOC/ENSEMBLECross-Canadian improvisingsupergroup featuring:Christine Duncan &Jean Martin ( Toronto)Jesse Zubot (Vancouver)Dani Oore (Halifax)Guillaume Bourque & JeanFelix Mailloux (Montreal)Bprn • / rnernber/ studentFriday April 25VANCOUVER CHINESEMUSIC ENSEMBLEPopular and traditionalChinese music plus Westernclassical and contemporarycompositionsBprn • / rnernber/ studentMonday April 28STARS OF THE LIDTexas drone duo tours withstring quartet+ guests ChristopherWillits+Ken ReaumeBprn • S advance/ doorSaturday May 3MSU HARRY PARTCHENSEMBLE - DeanDrummond, DirectorPerforming on the originalPartch instrumentsBprn • / rnernber/ studentMG Co-PRESENTATIONSSunday April 6LIGHT TRAPby Greg Pope + Knurlpart of the Images FestivalSaturday April 19VONEGUTScott Good & Dwight Schenk'ssalute to KurtVonnegutSunday April 20COMMON CHORDSContinuum collects Czech +Canadian composersCOMING UP:VTO Festival May 13-18soundaXis FestivalMay 21-June 15This month, I will focus my attention on two important music festivalsin the City of Toronto: the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's NewCreations Festival which runs from April 9 to 17; and the EspritOrchestra's New Wave Composers Festival, which runs May 4 to11.Each festival is like a unique composition unto itself, tacklinginteresting themes and new ideas . I'll begin by outlining the NewCreations Festival, and my discussion with the Toronto SymphonyOrchestra's Music Director and Conductor, Peter Oundjian. MaestroOundjian began our talk by stressing the importance of celebratingnew sounds, and the fact that creation should never be considereda scary concept. Oundjian proudly stated: "The New CreationsFestival puts Toronto on an international stage".The fourth year of the TSO's New Creations Festival is programmedaround the celebration of the 100-year anniversary of theFrench composer Olivier Messiaen's birth. International celebrationsof this anniversary are occurring in major cities around the worldthis year. The 2008 New Creations Festival, and its link to Messiaen,will showcase the keyboard in its multiple facets. From theToronto premiere of Jeffrey Ryan's Equilateral, a piano trio performedby the Gryphon Trio, to Malcolm Forsyth's Accordion Concertofeaturing the Russian-Canadian accordion virtuoso AlexanderSevastian, of Quartetto Gelato fame. I'm excited about the concertson April 16 and 17, with Messiaen's daring Turangalfla Symphonyfeaturing the unique electronic keyboard instrument, the ondes Martenot,and the Concerto for Organ by the Canadian composerJacques Hetu , who studied with Messiaen in Paris in 1962.Oundjian reminisced with me about his own encounter with Messiaen,in which Oundjian asked for a string quartet, and the composerreplied with a question: "Without the piano?" This reply made animpression on Oundjian, who noted that most of Messiaen's workwas somehow keyboard-related. Oundjian is also drawn to the spiritualityofMessiaen's music and is very excited to base the festivalaround such an important figure in contemporary music. "Since theToronto Symphony Orchestra released the first commercial recordingof Turangalfla in 1967 on BMG/RCA" he thought it only fittingthat the TSO salute Messiaen again with this birthday gesture.The entire New Creations Festival takes places at Roy ThomsonHall, and is led by a creative team of Maestro Oundjian, Loie Fallis,Heather Flater, and composer advisor Gary Kulesha. I also had thechance to speak with Fallis, the festival's artistic planner, who outlinedsome of the eclectic peripheral activities: "When you enter thehall, the bird sounds that Messiaen used will be playing in thelobby ... Gary Kulesha and his team of TSO affiliate composersJ"Ol 1N11,\TI01',~~I PREMIERES + THEJULES LEGER PRIZE*Friday April l l , 2008 8pmAlice Ping Yee Ho I Juan TrigosSo Jeong Ahn I Rodney SharmanChris Paul Harman*Glenn Gould Studio250 Front Street West416.205.5555 '22the Music Gallery• 197 John St., Toronto ON, MST IX6416-204-1080 • www.musicgallery.org~ ~~ ~,..,. t~.r.o~_!.C_l!! l ~Ol!.'~~I~ ~ ::~~n';','!:.~u::~~UJI>:; ••• ~:~~!n ~=:ft sO'~.,e.,clwww.NewMusicConcerts.comnmc info 416 .961 .95941 nmc@interlog.coms1Je. C..11..ldJ(oundl Com1t•ildt-,Al'b© fo1lh~Aru du(,1nJd,1torontoartsbou n ci /:JA. OrHARtO ARTS COUIICIL~ COfiSEIL OES"RTS Of l"OIHMllOWWW. TH EWHOLENOTE,COM APRI L 1 - M AY 7 2008

Abigail Richardson and AndrewStaniland have been involvedwith these unique ancillary activities... " The festival will holdcomposer discussions during theintermissions led by Gary Kulesha.Peter Oundjian remindedme of the importance of exposingthis festival and Canadiancomposers to composers fromother countries. The festivalalso strategically serves as ashowcase of Canadian composersto visiting composers suchas the Finnish composer/conductorEsa-Pekka Salonen.Some of the other auxiliaryactivities include post-concertconcerts by such artists as Autorickshaw,and bird-relatedcircus work from the eclecticToronto circus collective Zero Gravity. ThroughRhombus Media, director Jimmy Hayes will overseethe shooting of the first two New Creationsconcerts, as a large screen will be set up abovethe orchestra, projecting a live feed of the performance.This pilot project will further enhancethe performance, giving the audience closer visualaccess to the festival's featured instruments suchas the accordion, the ondes Martenot, and theharpsichord.EspritI found my discussion with Canadian composer,conductor and artistic director Alex Pauk to behighly inspiring. Maestro Pauk and the EspritOrchestra are gearing up to celebrate their 25thanniversary with the launch of the 2008 NewWave Composers Festival in early May . Thisfestival's primary objective is to bolster the careersof emerging Canadian composers. Highlightsfrom the 2008 program include newlycommissionedpieces by Chris Mayo, Lee Parkin,Eugene Astopov, Petar Kresimir Klanac, andmany more. As well, the festival proudly deliversrepeat performances of works by Scott Good,Brian Current and more. The New Wave ComposersFestival has actually helped composers likeVincent Ho, Maxi me McKinley, and David Adamcykgrow from having performances of chamberworks in previous festivals, to premieringorchestral work in this year's program.The Esprit Orchestra, since it began its journeyin 1983, has played an integral role for the stateof new music in Canada. The Esprit Orchestrahas performed the work of over seventy Canadiancomposers, with several repeat performances.Alex Pauk says repeat performances of new Canadianmusic have been some of his most memorableachievements, looking back on Esprit's last 25years: "Esprit has given performances of wonderfulnew pieces and to be able to give them repeatperformances-it's not the usual thing to happenin new music circles. This has been a real highfor me over the years. I say all the time, 'Howdoes everybody get to know Beethoven's 5thSymphony so well'? With better exposure andrepeat listening, you begin to hear new relationshipswithin the sound."I asked Pauk about the New Wave ComposersFestival, and why he established it: "It keeps alivethe very intent of Esprit from when it was started.The New Wave Composers Festival provides opportunitiesto young composers that might not havebeen available to them before." As Pauk and theEsprit Orchestra have matured, I find it upliftingthat part of Esprit's mandate remains the annualcommissioning of new works by emerging composers.This sort of action will directly foster anew generation of Canadian music, as it extendsthe Canadian repertoire pool. With the New WaveComposers Festival, young conductors and performerswill bring in new audiences. I find Pauk'sapproach to be very smart and logical, for workingwith emerging composers keeps Espirit's activityvital.As he travels the world, part of Pauk's recipefor success is simple: "I have my antennae out forpeople who are doing interesting things ... " In2007, Pauk tra veled to London, England and theRoyal Academy of Music, where he read and listenedto 13 scores from emerging composers.From this trip, Maestro Pauk selected two composersto be a part of the festival: Chris Mayo, a Torontonianstudying in England, and Nick Martin, afirst-year student from England. Pauk's connectionwith Philip Cashian, Head of Composition at theRoyal Academy of Music has helped establish aproject where the Royal Academy of Music willsend two composers a year, along with Cashian tobe a part of the festival for the next three years.This exchange project will expose Canadian musicto England, and vice-versa. In 2009, Pauk willalso make presentations of Canadian music in London.The Esprit Orchestra is currently in a growthphase. Although they have presented concerts inspaces other than their usual home in the Jane MallettTheatre, the New Wave Composers Festivalutilizes other alternative spaces, such as the InnisTown Hall, and the MaRS Centre. With a largerspace, such as the MaRS Centre, it allows morediverse programming, and the participation of severalToronto-area schools in the festival. The festival'soutreach initiative, Creative Sparks providesrich educational opportunities to students. Forexample, on May 7, the program, includingCONTINUES NEXT PAGEAPRIL 1 - MAY 7 2008WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 23

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