6 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 6 - March 2009

turned out that the

turned out that the landlord had a space in thebuilding with a piano that I could use. I reliedon the kindness of strangers - and friends! "Also important to Louie 's creative processis contact with the musicians she's writingfor. "I try to write a piece that fits the commission.Hardly ever do I write a piece that 'stotally unconnected with a performer's talent.For an orchestral piece, I might listen torecordings. I might talk to administrators andask which performers are of solo calibre.But sometimes I just work with an idea Ihave about the sound of the orchestra itself."Louie's works have been performed byjust about every orchestra in Canada, andshe's built strong relationships with the TSO ,the MSO and Ottawa's National Arts CentreOrchestra. She's equally respected as composerof solo piano, chamber and choralmusic. As well, a slew of awards and honourshave come her way: "Composer of theYear" in 1986, the Jules Leger Prize forchamber music in 1999, the Order of Ontarioin 2001 , and SOCAN awards as mostperformed Canadian composer in 1990, 1992and 2003.It would be nice to say that she's led acreative life undisturbed by setbacks orobstacles - but that wouldn't quite be true. In1996, the Canadian Opera Companycommissioned a full-length opera from herand playwright David Henry Hwang.However, the opera, entitled The ScarletPrincess, soon became bogged down inartistic differences between Louie and then­General Director Richard Bradshaw.Although the work was presented in oneconcert performance in 2002, it's neverreceived a fully staged production from theCOC, or any other company."The Scarlet Princess was a huge labour- it took six years," says Louie, clearlyfrustrated that the opera has never been seenas she intended it. Yet she remains optimisticabout the work 's future. "I feel still positiveabout The Scarlet Princess as an opera. I hada very successful concert performance of it,and I still have people asking me when it'sgoing to be staged, because they want to seeit. There are no immediate prospects, butI' m always working on it. I haven't met withAlexander Neef at the COC, but I hope to."Louie has had some performances outsideCanada, too. The orchestras of San Francisco,Indianapolis and St. Louis have playedher music. Her Love Songs for a Small Planethas been sung by a choir in Sweden. Yet,she' s aware of the "glass ceiling" that oftenlimits this country' s composers to a "worldfamousin Canada" status."It 's a challenge, says Louie, "because Idon 't have a publisher who's working on mybehalf. You really have to have a championfor your work, because a performingorganization doesn ' t take you seriously if8you don ' t. I' ve approached a fe wpublishers, and they said that my music wasgood, but they didn't know what to do withit. " (That's polite code for "We don 't thinkanyone outside Canada is interested inCanadian music.")" I like to be aware of theperformer. I like to know thekind of repertoire the performeris comfortable with."Buoyed by strong support at home, Louiecontinues her artistic journey. "I don't thinkof myself as writing quickly - but when youthink of the amount of music that I've written,you might say that I do. No piece isever written in a week, or a month. I guesswhat I'm saying is that I may not alwayswrite quickly, but I do write relentlessly." •Louie in her High Park home, with pagesfrom the score to Pursuit, for orchestraand string quartet, to be premiered bythe TSO on March 7.;fffilason & 1!,amlinDiscover whyMason & Hamlin pianosare referred to as , ~"The World's Finest" J1}R/~l/RESTRICTED TOLimited Production built by handusing only the finest materialsFor an appointment to see and play Canada's largest selection(all models!) of new Mason & Hamlin grand pianos you are invitedto call 1-866-631-6696 or email willem@masonhamlin.cawww.masonhamlin.caWWW.TH EWHOL EN OTE .COM M A RCH 1 - A PRIL 7 2009

The Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra presents ...A Night with theCANADIANGeorge Weston Recital Hall,Toronto Centre for the Arts5040 Yonge St., North York Adults StudentsFor more information:call 416.321.TYWO (8996) orvisitwww.t !M ARCH 1 - A PRI L 7 2009 WWW, THEWHO LENOTE , COM 9

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