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Volume 14 - Issue 4 - December 2008

equal amounts of

equal amounts of traditional and contemporarymusic. Greta and I played together everyThursday afternoon for maybe ten years. Wedid a concert series called Flute Through theAges at the St. Lawrence Centre that would sellout in a day. In other countries I frequentlyperform and conduct concerts of traditionalrepertoire. I recently took the WienerKonzertverein, which is a chamber orchestraout of the Vienna Symphony, on a ten concerttour. The repertoire was not contemporary atall - I played a C.P.E. Bach concerto, andconducted Grieg's Holberg Suite.ls it tricky for a modernflute-player to performbaroque music today,with so many periodinstrument players specializingin baroque music?People don't seem to wantto listen to baroque musicplayed on modern instruments.At the moment Idon't know any flutists thatare playing both contemporaryand baroque. Mostof us are too inhibited nowto play baroque music onour modem instruments.Is it because of the styleof playing?Greta had a style of playinglike Wanda Landowska- she used the samekind of harpsichord. In away it was very romantic,but it was fabulous tolisten to. The balance wasalways excellent. Plus, weplayed with a naturalrubato nobody plays withtoday. I suppose they don'twant to, but I'm not sure ifanybody can.If Greta were still aliveI would do a baroque concert in Toronto, I betyou it would come under super, super criticism- but I also bet that people would like it.Do you have problems with period performancestyles today?Oh, lots of problems. Especially when stringplayers crescendo and decrescendo on everynote, and then the flute players copy. They saythat's the way people played in that time. Buthow do they know for sure? And even if thestrings did do that swell, why would the windsdo it - just because the strings did it? Anyways,I'm sure that the best string players dideverything in their power to not do that. Themere fact that it happens by drawing a baroquebow across a string doesn't mean that theyactually played like that. And there are wonderfulbaroque flute players like Barthold Kuijkenand Conrad Hunteler who don't do that.Before period instruments, were modern fluteplayers paying much attention to authenticity inbaroque music?Jean-Pierre Rampa!, I think, did. I went to himto study French baroque. He was fabulous atWith Greta Kraus, I978Couperin, Rameau, Blavet and all the Frenchbaroque composersWould his style of playing be appreciated byperiod performers today?Not with the authentic period-instrument people-not a hope!Why?Because he played in a natural musical way. Buttoday, people still love his old recordings. Theyhave lots of improvised ornaments which relatewell to period playing, except that he kept stickingin diatonic runs all the time. We know thatwasn't done, because we have lots of otherexamples where composerswrote out the ornamentationthat they wanted.But when it came totrills and ornaments ofthat type, no one couldbeat him, then. Nobodytoday, either - he wasfabulous.How do you choosepieces to program for NewMusic Concerts?We try to show what ismost interesting amongthe current directions incontemporary music.From the very beginningthe series did not justreflect my taste or Norma's. So when we didGrand Pianola Music ofJohn Adams, it wasn't mydirection in music, but wepicked one of his greatestpieces, and it really spokefor him. The same withSteve Reich - when hebegan to write phasingmusic, I thought "Comeon - show that to children,but not to us." I was totallyagainst him for a longtime. But after RussellHartenberger and Bob Becker, who were anchorsin Reich's own ensemble, moved to Toronto,they kept pressuring me to do his music. Irealized we had to because he was becoming sofamous.I had a really big fight with Reich on thephone, because he did not want to have anyoneexcept his own group performing his music. Isaid, "We have very good musicians in Toronto.We will learn the music perfectly. We have allthe instruments - everything you need."He said, "But they'll never be able to learnthis music - it's so difficult."So I said, "If you don't let us play this music,what's going to happen when you die? Nobody isgoing to know how to play your music. Don'tyou think it's time that someone plays it besidesjust your own ensemble?" So fmally he agreed.Our concert was the first time any ensembleplayed Steve Reich's music that was not his owngroup. Of course, we were very well coached,having Russell and Bob involved, and Stevehimself came for at least a week. After thatconcert, I had a different appreciation of hismusic. I still think tire phasing is just too obvious. But Drumming, I think, is a great piece,and it does employ phasing.How do you judge today's music?I prefer pieces that are provoking and challengmg.But I have a lot of difficulty today judgingwhat is a good piece and what is not a goodpiece. It may be easier to say what is an effectivepiece and what is not an effective piece.I remember when we did John Cage'sRoaratorio in Convocation Hall with Cagereading James Joyce, and loudspeakers all overthe place. The first night we had 1,300 people -imagine, for a contemporary music concert!The next night there was a terrible snowstormand still 800 people came. John Beckwithshowed up on his cross-country skis. That was1982. In those years we had lots of pieces thatwere really on the edge. We could afford totake chances. Today, whenever we want to dosomething controversial, we always have toworry about whether we can get the money.Are composers themselves taking fewerchances today?Absolutely - I think the computer did that.Computers kill the imagination in music. Whenyou compose with a computer, it's too muchtrouble to do something like complicatedrhythms or really wide intervals. Unfortunately,there's now a whole generation that has beentrained by using a computer. Any time I'm on ajury for an international composition contest,we can always tell which pieces were composedon the computer.But it's harder for composers today becausethey have to make their own rules. There arepeople taking chances, but the funny thing is,the chances they are taking are the same onesthat were being taken in the 60's and 70's,because it's all cyclic. Often when I look atthose pieces by composers who think they aredoing something really risky, all I see is somethingthat was done before.Right from the beginning of New Music Concertsyou set the mark high, presenting Italiancomposer Luciano Berio in your very first year.That was actually our first concert. Before thatconcert, we put little ads in the newspaper thatjust said, "Berio is coming."Do you think Toronto is good for new music?It really is. There are a lot of groups now, notjust us, so I do wish that our councils wouldrecognize our value. We had a couple of yearswhere they cut us down, seriously reduced ourgrants - not the Toronto Arts Council but theOntario Arts Council and the Canada Council.Now we are creeping up again, but we are stillnot up to the level that we were at in 1982.Are there many organizations in the worlddevoted to contemporary music like yours?There are actually lots in Europe, but theyhave salaried players. The musicians play onlycontemporary music all the time.Does that affect the way they play?I think the music comes better with musicianswho play a mixture of repertoire. With NewMusic Concerts, I carmot think of any occasionwhere a composer who came here didn't saywe had given the best performances he had everhad of his pieces. If musicians play only con-14WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMDECEMBER 1 2008 - FEBRUARY 7 2009

DON'T MISS THIS UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITY to enjoy extraordinarily great artists in a trulyextraordinary space, the new home of The Glenn Gould School and The Royal Conservatory.BRIAN CURRENT LEON FLEISHER GENTICORUMANTON KUERTI PAUL KANTOR MONICA WHICHER LIWANGLocation: All concerts at Mazzoleni Hall -The Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.TICKETS AVAILABLE THROUGH RCM BOX OFFICE(General Admission)THE GLENN GOULD SCHOOLPRESENTSFriday, December 5, 2008, 8:00 pmThursday, December 11, 2008, 11:00amSaturday, December 13, 2008, 2:00 pmRising Stars SeriesPandora's Locker (WORLD PREMIERE)BRIAN CURRENT, conductorJENNIFER PARR, stage directorThe Glenn Gould School presents the worldpremiere of Dean Burry's Pandora's Locker, a newmusic opera commissioned by The GGS, written forand about the most dramatic and non-fictionalpeople on earth: teenagers. Inspired by the Greekmyth of Pandora's Box, this contemporary youthopera is set within an inner-city high school andcast upon a canvas of urban music and electronics.Music and libretto by composer Dean Burry.Tickets: Free!Friday, December 5, 2008, 8:00 pmRising Stars SeriesNew Music EnsembleBRIAN CURRENT, conductorJoin The GGS New Music Ensemble for an hour ofcutting-edge contemporary music for acoustic andelectronic media. The second half of the performancewill feature the GGS Opera's Pandora's Locker.Tickets: Free!Saturday, December 6, 2008, 8:00 pmRising Stars SeriesAcademy Symphony OrchestraDAVID VISENTIN, conductor and artistic directorFeaturing senior string students of the Young ArtistsPerformance Academy ofThe Royal Conservatory.Programme: VIVALDI, ATTERBERG, PART and HAYDNTickets: Free!THE ROYAL CONSERVATORYPRESENTSWednesday, December 3, 2008, 8:00 pmGreat Artists SeriesLEON FLEISHER, pianoSolo repertoire first half, second half performingBrahms Piano Quintet in F minor with members ofARC (ERIKA RAUM & MARIE BERARD, violins,STEVEN DANN, viola and BRYAN EPPERSON, cello)Tickets: adult, studentsThursday, December 11, 2008, 7:30pmWorld Music ConcertsGENTICORUM, Quebecois folkOne of the most sought-after proponentsof Quebecois musical culture.Tickets: adult, studentsJOIN US FOR THE CONTINUINGBEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTO LECTURESERIES WITH INTERNATIONALLYACCLAIMED PIANIST ANTON KUERTIFriday, December 12, 2008 andJanuary 16, 2009, 2:00 pmThe Royal Conservatory. Admission is free.Friday, December 12, 2008, 8:00 pmGreat Artists SeriesPAUL KANTOR & VIRGINIA WECKSTROM,violin & pianoJoined by members of ARC (BRYAN EPPERSON,cello and JOAQUIN VALDEPENAS, clarinet).Programme: MENDELSSOHN Piano Trio, FRANCISPOULENC and PETER (PDQ BACH) SCHICKELETickets: adult, studentsSunday, January 18, 2009, 2:00 pmGreat Artists SeriesMONICA WHICHER & LIZ UPCHURCH,soprano & pianoHear this exceptional soprano as she joinspianist LIZ UPCHURCH in an afternoon ofoutstanding artsongs.Tickets: adult, studentsSunday, February 1, 2009, 4:00pmGreat Artists SeriesLI WANG, pianoProgramme: SCHUMANN Kinderszenen,CHOPIN Mazurkas, Op. 17,MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition(Please note the change of date. The original dateof Jan. 25, 2009 has been changed to Feb. 1, 2009.)Tickets: adult, studentsPlease visit RCMUSIC.CA for alist of all our other free concerts,master classes and events.

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