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Volume 15 Issue 9 - June 2010

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Beat by Beat / In With

Beat by Beat / In With the NewJune Bouquetjason van eykAndrew Staniland, composer ofDark Star Requiem.Toronto is a city of constant musical discoveries. While the concertseason is quickly coming to a close, the summer festival seasonstarts to build, bringing with it a range of fresh new experiences.And for lovers of new music, June bursts open in a bouquet ofnew works and visiting artists.First up is the Luminato Festival, which opens its 2010 musicseries to showcase new music that is resonant in both its celebratorynature and serious content.In partnership with Soundstreams, and with the help of 684 publicvoters, Luminato has selected composer Robert Johnson’s MajesticFanfare to serve as the festival’s official fanfare. This royal flourishwill accompany the Rainbow King – the ruler of the world, createdby Festival artists FriendsWithYou – throughout Luminato 2010.Keep an ear open for the Luminato brass quintet, appearing throughoutthe festival, in order to hear this fanfare live!Soundstreams is certainly no stranger to this ceremonial andcelebratory form, engrained in musical cultures throughout theworld. In 2006, they presented new works by composers and quartetsfrom Canada, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, and Swedenin the soaring Barbara Frum Atrium at the CBC Broadcasting Centre.Sixty-plus trumpet players positioned throughout the balconiespremiered these short works to usher in the 2006 soundaXis Festival.In 2009, Soundstreams commissioned James Rolfe for a new fanfareto celebrate the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards, which wasalso offered as a gift to Mayor David Miller.You can get an advance listen to their latestfanfare project at the Soundstreams’ Salon 21event on June 7, starting at 7:30pm at the GardinerMuseum. The salon is free, but be sureto reserve your seat in advance. These eventsfill up fast. You can do so at salonfanfare.eventbrite.com.On June 11 and 12, we will finally get toexperience the world premiere of Dark StarRequiem – the concert-length project frommuch-in-demand composer Andrew Staniland(winner of the 2009 CBC National CompositionPrize) and internationally recognizedpoet Jill Battson. Staniland and Battson metas participants in Tapestry New Opera Works’highly successful Composer-Librettist Laboratory.Their early experiments in creating operascenes sparked an exciting new partnershipthat led to numerous projects, including LinguaElastic(2006) – an exploration of the contemporarycollisions of humanity and electronicmedia through live vocal performance (byBattson) and interactive electronics (by Staniland)– for the Canadian Music Centre’s New Music in New Placesseries.Tapestry invited the duo back in 2006 to write Ashlike on theCradle of the Wind, a poetic and elegiac mini-opera that reveals ourattitudes towards sex and love in the shadow of AIDS. Even in thoseearly days, Staniland and Battson had expressed the desire to collaborateon a much larger work – a secular oratorio that tackles the majorissues of our times. The current commission from Tapestry andLuminato has given them the space to bring that desire to fruition.Tapestry’s decision to re-mount Ashlike this spring for their veryfirst Opera to Go Revival was a prescient move in light of Dark StarRequiem’s world premiere. This full-scale dramatic work traces the25-year history of AIDS from its origins to the present day. Theevocative, poetic content weaves in topics from ecology to myth, politicsto family. While the libretto includes fragments from the traditionalLatin requiem mass, the overall perspective remains humanisticrather than religious. By focusing on the intimate and personalface of AIDS, Staniland and Battson hope that Dark Star Requiemwill resonate with a broad audience. Based on past experiences withthis duo’s work, and the remarkable creative team behind this production(The Gryphon Trio and the Elmer Iseler Singers join a quartetof talented vocal soloists conducted by Wayne Strongman), thework should resound strongly. For more information visit www.tapestrynewopera.com.To reservetickets visit www.luminato.com.In between the Luminatoevents, Gallery 345’s concert calendaris really heating up. Here,the new music comes from Edmonton-basedpianist Roger Admiral,who delivers a solo recitalon June 11. Admiral is atrue contemporary music aficionado.He studied piano with HelmutBrauss, Peter Smith and VirginiaBlaha, and graduated with a doctoratefrom the University of Alberta,where he now coaches contemporarychamber music. FromPianist Roger Admiral.1990 to 1993 he was a member of the unique two-piano/two-percussionHammerhead Consort. And since 1997 he’s been part of DuoKovalis with Montreal percussionist Philip Hornsey. For this Torontoperformance, Admiral focuses primarily on music of the “VictoriaSchool” of Canadian composition, including works by Alfred Fisher,Linda Catlin Smith, Christopher Butterfield and Howard Bashaw.For more details, visit www.gallery345.com.Nestled amongst all of the above is the returnof the Music Gallery’s Summer CourtyardSeries, taking contemporary music out ofthe concert hall and into the intimate setting ofSt. George the Martyr’s open-air spaces. Presentedin partnership with Wavelength andcurated in affiliation with Montreal’s Suoni peril Popolo Festival, these four concerts featureinternational stars from the worlds of avantpopand new composed music who have beenselected especially to suit this unique setting.New music lovers will want to take noteof the series’ opening concert, which includesNew York cellist Julia Kent. After years ofplaying cello with a myriad of artists and ensembles,from Antony and the Johnsons tothe chamber-rock trio Rasputina, Kent retiredto her Lower East Side apartment to makemusic inspired by touring and the disjunctionsof travel. Incorporating multi-tracked cello,omnichord, and field recordings from airportsaround the world, her melancholy compositionsache with “romanticism and rich melodicism.”Much like our own Owen Pallet ofFinal Fantasy fame, Kent has perfected the art of using live loopingand effects to create rich layers of melody and rhythm in her solocello concerts throughout Europe and the UK. We’ll get to experiencethe full effect live on June 9.Another treat will be the double bill featuring classically trainedsoundscape composer/multimedia artist William Basinski with Toronto-basedaudio contortionist and collaborative creator Neil Wiernik.Wiernik, who also works under the pseudonym “naw” is creativelyconcerned with various types of storytelling, using abstractenvironments and spaces as his tools. We’ll get to hear both composers’tales on June 12. For more information and to buy tickets, visitwww.musicgallery.org.Jason van Eyk is the Ontario Regional Director of the CanadianMusic Centre. He can be contacted at: newmusic@thewholenote.com.20 thewholenote.comJune 1 - July 7, 2010

Beat by Beat / World ViewFestivals and Morekaren agesJune is the month in which The WholeNote releases its “GreenPages” guide to summer music festivals – and there are at leasttwo with events coming up that are obvious picks for world musiclovers.The 11th annual Muhtadi International Drumming Festival takesplace June 5 and 6. The festival launch event is June 3 at the WychwoodBarns (7 – 10pm), and a parade on June 5 leaves RamsdenPark at 10am ending up at Queen’s Park, where performances continueto 8pm, as well as noon to 8 on June 6. The festival will showcasearound 30 different groups or performers, representing drummingtraditions from around the globe, with a focus this year on“Women in Rhythm.” For more details, visit www.muhtadidrumfest.com.The other major host of world music events over the summer is ofcourse Harbourfront Centre, which launches its World Routes seriesof mini festivals on July 1, running every weekend through September6. For the 2010 series, Harbourfront explores a “global to local,Haiti’s L’Orchestre Septentrional appears at Harbourfront on July 3.and local to global” theme in its programming. Canada Day eventsinclude “Gypsy Melody,” Roma music from Slovakia at 1pm, andvocalist Cheryl L’Hirondelle presenting contemporary songs expressingthe Cree world view at 6:30 (Redpath Stage). “Hot Spot” runsJuly 2 – 4; highlights include The Toronto International FlamencoFestival, featuring dancers, singers and musicians, and L’OrchestreSeptentrional, an 18-piece big band from Haiti, on July 3. Visitww.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldroutes2010 for more details.Harbourfront also launches its annual Summer Music in theGarden series of free Thursday and Sunday concerts at the TorontoMusic Garden. On July 1, there’s a concert featuring traditionalMohawk songs sung by the Ahkwesasne Women Singers, and theworld premiere of a new piece by Barbara Croall, performed by thecomposer and clarinetist Peter Stoll. For full schedule, visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com/torontomusicgarden.Toronto’s Luminato Festival has a few free noteworthy events:June 12, “Rock the Casbah” and “An African Prom” runs from 1 –11pm at Queen’s Park, and features performances by Montreal banjomaestro Karim Saada, the Maryem Tollar Ensemble, Algerian-bornrocker Rachid Taha, Nigeria’s Tony Allen, Mali’s Bassekou Kouyateand American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. Kouyate, a master of thengoni, the banjo’s African ancestor, was a contributor to Fleck’s filmand recording project Throw Down Your Heart, which you can catchthe same day at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Luminato also presents aWorld Music Celebration on June 20, the closing day of the festival,at Queen’s Park, noon – 6.Another festival offering a taste of music outside the Western“classical” tradition is Music at Sharon, which presents Ensemble Polarison June 13. They’re known to play a host of unusual folk instruments,performing music from Scandinavia, the Baltics, Scotlandand Canada.And there’s still plenty happening on the usual concert curcuit.The Canadian Opera Company continues its noon-hour concert seriesat the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, with Nagata Shachu, Toronto’sJapanese Taiko ensemble that performs both traditional andnewly composed works, June 3. The Toronto Children’s Chorus presents“Around the World in 80Minutes” on June 5, featuringmusic from Africa, Asia, Australia,New Zealand, South America, andEurope, including a new klezmerwork by Martin Van de Ven, clarinetistwith guest performers Beyondthe Pale klezmer ensemble.In association with Roy ThomsonHall, Small World Music presentsPersian vocalist MohammadReza Shajarian, with the ShahnazEnsemble, June 6. One of the mostwell known performers of Iranianclassical music, Shajarian hashad a career spanning over 40 years,both at homeand internationally.He’ll be accompanied by an ensemble of 15instrumentalists, directed by Iranian composerand tar player Magid Derakhshani. Small Worldalso presents Italian singer/songwriter CarmenConsoli at the Mod Club on June 20. See www.smallworldmusic.com.As well, the Toronto Chinese Music Schoolpresents a concert of classical and contemporaryChinese music, June 25 at the P.C. Ho Theatrein north Toronto. Instruments featured includethe huqin, erhu, gaohu and pipa. And last but notleast, Toronto’s Shevchenko Musical Ensemblepresents a feast of Ukrainian and other folk,classical and contemporary music, featuringthe Shevchenko Choir, the Toronto MandolinOrchestra, vocal and instrumental soloists andthe Desna Ukrainian Dance Company, June 27 at the Isabel BaderTheatre.Enjoy the warm weather (and the music) – and see you in July!Karen Ages can be reached at worldmusic@thewholenote.comSunday October 24 • 3 p.m.Kaffeemusik500 Years of English SongSaturday December 4 • 8 p.m.O Magnum MysteriumOpening Notes • 7 p.m.Music & MysteryMohammad Reza Shajarianappears at Roy Thomson Hallon June 6.2010/2011Mark Vuorinen Music DirectorSaturday April 2 • 8 p.m.Josquin: Motets and ChansonsOpening Notes • 7 p.m.Sunday May 15 • 3 p.m.KaffeemusikBach and NumerologyCONCERT SEASONSubscribe now for the best seats in the house!Christ Church Deer Park(416) 763-1695 • torontochamberchoir.caJune 1 - July 7, 2010 thewholenote.com 21

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