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Volume 18 Issue 5 - February 2013

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Quartet
  • Soprano
  • Orchestra

having its Canadian

having its Canadian premiere on March 2, the listener will experiencea ride through history with a montage of sounds and harmoniesfrom 1896 through to 2222, while in Mackey’s piece Four IconoclasticEpisodes for electric guitar and orchestra, receiving its Canadian premiereon March 9, the journey traverses a series of various stylesincluding jazz/rock fusion, African pop and Chicago blues. Anotherwork by Machover titled Sparkler joins this historical parade with itsCanadian premiere on March 7, interweaving themes from Beethovento the Beatles, while Canadian Owen Pallett’s Violin Concerto,inspired by the solo violin music of Bach, receives its North Americanpremiere March 7.And of course, the use of technology within the orchestral contextwill be the other major player of the festival. In Montreal-based composerNicole Lizée’s work Arcadia, to be heard on March 2,the instruments accompany vintage images from arcadegames of the 1970s and 80s, while Andrew Staniland haschosen to “electrify” the orchestra in his new piececommissioned by the TSO and given its world premiereMarch 9. In Machover’s Jeux Deux, havingits Canadian premiere on March 2, we’ll experiencethe combinations of hyperpiano (disklavier),orchestra, interactive software and live graphics.First, February: But before we arrive at thisfestival in early March, there will be many otheropportunities to treat your ears to both technical wondersand reflections on the past.Continuum Contemporary Music ensemble will be experiencingtheir own version of electrification when they team up withNew Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) to present “Jump Start” onFebruary 10 at the Citadel on Parliament St. There will be newlycommissioned works by Rose Bolton, Scott Smallwood and ScottWilson, all written specifically for NAISA’s unique live spatializationsystem designed to move sounds between loudspeakers. The spacewill be wired up by NAISA’s artistic director Darren Copeland whoTod Machover withfragment of the score forA Toronto Symphony.will surround the audience with18 speakers and place a subwooferunderneath the floor. We’ll alsobe hearing another work from the“technological ethers” by AndrewStaniland.Don’t let the name CyberneticOrchestra scare you away. It’sMcMaster University’s laptop orchestra,an innovative electronicmusic ensemble nowentering itsthird year of activity. In the spirit of Machover’s vision ofcollaboration, this orchestra is open to all members of the McMastercommunity (students, alumni and employees) — the only requirementis a laptop and an interest in performing and listening to new, electronicforms of music. They’ll be releasing their latest album in a concert atGallery 345 on February 9, joined by Shawn Mativetsky on tabla.Inspirations from the past continue to play out in other new musicevents this month. The theme for the February 3 New Music Concertsevent is “Past, Present and Future: Canadian Music Then and Now.”Compositions by the esteemed composers John Weinzweig, MurraySchafer and Brian Cherney will be complemented by world premierescommissioned by NMC from two younger and up and comingCanadians — Adam Scime and Brian Harman. Works by Weinzweigwill also be featured in concerts by the Kingston Symphony onFebruary 3 and by U of T’s Faculty of Music Wind Symphony’s concerton February 1.Two final events to mention where the old and new co-existare NUMUS’ concert on February 7 in Waterloo featuring ScholaMagdalena, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of music forwomen’s voices. They will perform new works by Canadians MeghanBunce, Emily Walker and ensemble director Stephanie Martin, combinedwith the music from the 12th century abbess and mysticHildegard von Bingen, a courageous pioneer in her own time. OnFebruary 2 at the Heliconian Hall, Toronto’s Toy Piano Composers willperform several new premieres based on re-imaginings of a range ofCanadian art from the past and present, including local Toronto paintings,animations and video game art.To finish off: I want to leave you with one other future dream formusic as suggested by Tod Machover that really opens things up.Based on what we’re learning about what happens when we listento music and how we each respond differently, it will become possible,he imagines, to create a customized version for each piece ofmusic. This means that through some means — perhaps some sort oftechnical interface? — the original music source will be transformedso that we each receive the most powerful version based on who weare, our preferences and perhaps even the environment we’re in atany given time. “It’s personalized music instead of generalized music,”he says.Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electro-vocalsound artist. She can be contacted at sounddreaming@gmail.com.22 thewholenote.com February 1 – March 7, 2013

Beat by Beat | World ViewMarking “BHM”ANDREW TIMARFebruary on toronto’s cultural and educational landscapehas been for years associated with Black History Month (BHM). Idon’t however recall commemorating it during my student yearsat Clinton St. Public School — which bythe way is celebrating its 125th anniversarythis year — so what’s the scoophere? I decided to snoop into the historyof BHM to score some answers.The seed for what is now widelyknown as BHM began in the USA in1926 through the advocacy of theAfrican-American historian, authorand journalist Carter G. Woodson(1875-1950), one of the first scholars tostudy African-American history. It wasinitially called “Negro History Week.”Designated for the second week inFebruary, it was meant to coincide withthe birthdays of Abraham Lincoln andFrederick Douglass. Woodson aimed toincrease awareness and understandingof the African experience in school curricula, as well as to fosterself-reliance and racial respect. By the 1960s communities, as wellas various school boards, in the USA began to formally observe BHM,their primary goal being to present a more balanced and accurate historyof Africans throughout history.Toronto, far from being a place exclusively populated by Europeans,has had an African population from its earliest period as a settlement.One early record shows that in July 1843 Toronto Council refused tolet a circus perform “without assurances that it would not sing songsor perform acts that would be insulting to ‘the gentlemen of colour’ ofthe city.” Toronto native William Hubbard (1842–1935), the city’s firstelected official of African descent, cut through the raw prejudice of hisday to fashion an admirable career of public service over 20 years. Hisofficial portrait hangs in the mayor’s office, a tribute to his personalcourage and public achievement.Through the efforts of many, including the Ontario Black HistorySociety, in 1979 Toronto became the first municipality in Canada toproclaim BHM. The act recognized past and present contributionsAfrican Canadians made and make to the life of Toronto in many areasincluding education, medicine, human rights and business, politics,public service and the arts.Public and private institutions here participate in observing BHM.The Toronto Public Library for example is programming ten suchevents this year. These include “Drumming with Muhtadi” on TuesdayFebruary 5 at 10am at the York Woods branch where you can “hear therhythms and learn the history of traditional Caribbean and Africandrums” in a live performance by the master drummer Muhtadi. Thenext day at the same branch you can “dance to the beat of your owndrum! Make your ... drum to keep and participate in an interactivestory” at 4:30pm. Fittingly, the TPL’s logo for Black History Month isa hand on a drum skin, illustrating just how closely the drum is associatedwith African culture. Keeping with that theme, on February 9“the king of kalimba,” Toronto’s Njacko Backo, performs at the TPL’sMorningside Branch (no time posted).The Gladstone Hotel is also marking Black History Month withfour concerts; the last on February 22 featuring a significant milestone,the release of Njacko Backo’s tenth album. It includes MohamadDiaby’s djembe, two different banjos played by Ken Whiteley, JaneBunnett’s soprano sax, trumpet by Larry Cramer plus support fromKalimba Kalimba.Perhaps Toronto’s main BHM course is Harbourfront Centre’s“Kuumba Festival.” Swahili for “creativity,” Kuumba has over the yearsshowcased leading local, national and international artists of Africanheritage. This year for three days, February 1 to 3, the festival offers asmorgasbord of hair fashion, storytelling, oware games, film, dance,food, exhibitions, children’s activities, drum circles and, of course,music concerts. Here are a few picks.The “10th Anniversary Celebration of The Trane Studio,” the firstAfrican-Canadian-owned jazz venue in Toronto for generations, takesplace February 2. Owned and managed by writer and programmerFrank Francis, and named after legendary saxophonist JohnColtrane, the Bathurst Street jazz club would have turned ten yearsin February. Sadly for musicians and liveJoel Rubin, left, and Uri Caine,Music Gallery March 2.music fans it closed last summer; theHarbourfront lineup of local and internationalacts showcases performers whohave supported The Trane Studio includingthe powerful spoken word artistUrsula Rucker, trumpet player AlexanderBrown, multi-instrumentalist and vocalistWaleed Abdulhamid and saxophonistErnest Dawkins.February 3 at 4pm one of the treasuresof African-American music — gospel — willbe featured at the “Kuumba GospelLounge.” Billed as “a gospel extravaganza,”the Mount Zion Fellowship Choir,a 30-voice choir with a four-piece band,will share the stage with smaller vocalensembles and four soloists includingsinger Karen Jewels and Jermaine Shakespeare, a “recognized worshipleader, songwriter and minister of the gospel.” At the sametime, unfortunately, Kuumba has scheduled the interesting “HiplifeShowcase.” Kobè from Ghana and Canadian Radio Music Award winnerStevano UGO put faces and voices to hiplife music, the latter aWest African fusion of highlife and hip-hop with touches of reggaeton,dancehall and reggae.One of last year’s Kuumba highlights was Dr. Jay De Soca PrinceDJing at Harbourfront’s ice skating rink, a novel Toronto combinationof Trini and “skate culture.” Judging from the dense crowd on the rinklast year, evidently I was not the only one who thought the idea fun,so Harbourfront is holding it again, on February 2, promising it willbe “this winter’s hottest night on ice.” I won’t disagree.And last on the BHM front, February 15 at the intimate Musideum,Kobe Aquaa-Harrison presents “The Golden Tale of Jungle Bouti,” aprogram of storytelling and music. Video evidence found on the internetshows Aquaa-Harrison to be a formidable Ghanaian dagaarti gyilViolins, violas, cellos & bowsComplete line of strings & accessoriesExpert repairs & rehairsCanada’s largest stock of string musicFast mail order servicethesoundpost.cominfo@the soundpost.com93 Grenville St, Toronto M5S 1B4416.971.6990 • fax 416.597.9923A treasure trove for string players& lovers of string musicFebruary 1 – March 7, 2013 thewholenote.com 23

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