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Volume 18 Issue 7 - April 2013

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Choir
  • Symphony
  • Quartet
  • Concerts
  • Singers

EDUCATION: Brave New

EDUCATION: Brave New Whirl | continued from previous pageor enable quality music instruction to reach enough of those childrenwho need it most? Or is it perhaps time to put music back into themandatory school curriculum, in recognition of its potentially vitalcontribution to every child’s mental and spiritual growth?Instead of just complaining, a number of Toronto’s leading musicians,teachers, and presenters have been remarkably resourceful in devisingnew ways to fill the education gap. Major performing organizations suchas Tafelmusik, Soundstreams, the COC, and the Toronto Symphony nowregularly produceIs it possible, onewonders, to produce adirectory that will trulyhelp us evaluate theteachers themselves?imaginative “outreach”programsaimed at targetedarea schools. Mosttend to be one-shotdeals linked to theirown upcomingproductions, withlimited carryoverfrom one visit to the next. But they certainly do contribute to buildingtomorrow’s concert audiences; and without them, no institution’s grantapplication these days can hope to succeed. (Even more elaborate waysfor top-drawer professional performing forces to enrich the musicalexperience of Toronto’s kids may be in the works. See, as an example,the TSO’s recent year-long collaborative composing project with TodMachover of MIT, culminating in the March 9 premiere of A TorontoSymphony, well publicized in your February issue and elsewhere.)Missing in this first instalment of the Orange Pages, but alreadyscheduled for a later issue, is a rundown of the degree-oriented musicinstruction offered by local conservatories, colleges, and universities.Also to come, one hopes, is an inventory of music programs operatedby elementary, middle, and secondary schools across the city, whetherpublic, private, or specializing in the arts — or at least some indication ofwhere the more extensive and better equipped programs can be found.Is it possible, one wonders, to produce a directory that will truly helpus evaluate the teachers themselves? A degree or diploma from somereputable institution of higher learning is usually accepted as sufficientevidence that a music teacher has acquired the necessary skillsand background to do a competent job. To be sure, one can imagine astricter system of accreditation, both for teachers and for the schoolsthey attended. But there’s no guarantee that a uniform rating schemewould do much to improve the overall quality of instruction. By andlarge, Toronto seems to prefer the present competitive free-for-all. Culture,we recognize, is no zero-sum game; even when money is tight, “themore, the more” remains our motto, and “diversity” our watchword.Like other strands in the intricate network of connections that isCanadian culture, what and how our musicians teach is bound to keepevolving, and remain open to all sorts of change. The range of styles,activities and interests associated with the word “music” keeps growingwider and more complex; while the whole enterprise of learning orschooling seems to be fair game, these days, for every would-be reformer.As we would any other addictive substance said to be good for us andour children, we will surely continue to question each new educationalmodel, method, or system that claims our attention and support.How well does the latestpedagogical project reflectour present-day aspirationsto ensure equal opportunityfor all, while respectingindividual differences? Isit open to new repertoireand new modes of musicalexpression, or does it merelyrecycle familiar old habits,albeit substituting kid-sizedviolins or plastic recorders,perhaps, for the legendary“76 Trombones” of yore? Is there perhaps too much emphasis on trainingfor public performance, at the expense of more analytical, historical,or creative approaches? Is intelligent use made of recent developmentsin educational media? Dazed by the perennial appeal of whatever“comes from away”, are we forgetting or ignoring pedagogical innovationsthat visionary Canadian educators have already pioneered andexpounded here?Clearly, to survey critically the full range of opportunities our regionnow offers for serious music study would be no easy task. The WholeNotewas smart enough to tackle, at first, only a small and relatively manageableportion of the job. One can hardly ask more from a free publicationthat fulfills so many other life-supporting functions so well, with suchlimited financial resources. And yet, your magazine dares to envisionproducing, someday, a complete guide to the whole spectrum of ourcity’s resources for the care and training of its aspiring music-makers.Here is one place where technology might make a real difference. Agood deal of relevant information is already out there in cyberspace, onvarious individual web sites. It shouldn’t be all that expensive to solicit amore inclusive set of submissions from a much broader range of sources,organize them into one centralized database, and make sure the informationis reasonably comparable, easily searchable, and widely accessible.Are you listening, Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils?Anyway, thanks, David, for landing the first stone, right on target.—Sterling Beckwith60 | April 1 – May 7, 2013 thewholenote.com

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDRENWho is May’sChild?Catch him soon,at the FourSeason’s Centrefor the PerformingArts, in a WildeBible story.How about THISon a platter?Know our MysteryChild’s name?Send your bestguess tomusicschildren@thewholenote.comby April 21.Win concert ticketsand recordings!Fifty years ago, atEagle Island in WestVancouver, BC.mj buellPianist Eve Egoyan is bestknown as an interpreterof new music for piano whohas performed premieresof many works by Canadianand international composersas a solo recitalist in Canada,England, France, Germany,Portugal, Japan and the US.She has released eight criticallyacclaimed solo CDs: sevenare of works by contemporarycomposers and one is ofworks by Erik Satie. Egoyan isboth soloist and executive produceron these discs. Egoyan isalso an improvising musician,and has collaborated on a widerange of dance projects, interdisciplinaryperformances,film work and sound installations.The recipient of numerouscommissions and awards,Egoyan is a Fellow of the RoyalSociety of Canada (FRSC) andis one of 50 Canadian performersand conductors designatedas “CMC ambassador” bythe Canadian Music Centre.Egoyan was born andgrew up in Victoria, BC.After graduating from the University of Victoria shestudied in Berlin, then London (England), eventuallyreturning to Canada where she completedan M.Mus. at the University of Toronto withPatricia Parr.About your childhood photo ...?I certainly remember almost living on that beachas a child, loving the beach, the ocean — I’m missingit now.Anything you would like say to that little person?Can I play with you? What do you enjoy mostabout the beach?Earliest memories of hearing music?My mother was very self-conscious abouther voice, its intonation. She never sang. My father wasspontaneously musical, able to pick out tunes on variousEve Egoyan lives in Toronto’s Queen Westneighbourhood with her husband, media artistDavid Rokeby, and their daughter Viva.instruments. There was alwaysclassical music played in thehouse and I was often takento hear the Victoria SymphonyOrchestra. Art, in all its variousforms, was important to bothmy parents who were painters.Listening to and loving classicalconcert music was a hugepart of my general upbringing.Other musicians in yourchildhood family?Not that I know of. I reallydon’t know my family’sstory beyond my grandparentsdue to the tragic historyof Armenia and Armenians.Certainly there were and areartists, artisans and craftspeoplein my family.When and why did you firstplay the piano?Piano was my first instrument.We didn’t have a pianoin the house. Our neighbour,however, Mrs. Kerley, had apiano. I bugged her to teachme. We had a gentle, unspokenexchange — piano lessons forcompanionship. After a whileI finally convinced my parentsthat I wanted formal piano lessons. Eventually I also studiedviolin and flute, briefly. I wanted to be a conductor.First music teachers?I am still very much in touch with my first piano teacher,Mrs. Brayshaw. She was able to invite my vibrant imaginativeworld into the discipline of lessons.Where does music fit into your family life today?We listen to a wide range of music. Listening to musicmost of the day through practising makes my ears a littleweary. I do love sharing time at the piano with Viva,gently teaching her/improvising/playing duets. We alsoselect concerts to go to as a family. It is interesting tobring my daughter up in a city which holds music of somany different cultures and so much diversity.For a longer version of this interview visit thewholenote.com.michael chambersCONGRATUlatIons to OUR WInners!On April 14 at the Glenn Gould Studio Eve Egoyan will share the sound worlds of five unique composers in a recitalfeaturing the Canadian premiere of SKRYABIN in itself by Michael Finnissy, the world premiere of Ann Southam’sRETURNINGS II and works by Claude Vivier, Piers Hellawell and Taylan Susam. This recital celebrates the launch of Egoyan’snew CD. Stillman Matheson and Marsha Moffitt each win a pair of tickets. Eve Egoyan’s new CD, 5, released onCentrediscs (the recording label of the Canadian Music Centre), features five posthumously discovered works byAnn Southam. These pieces were found in the composer’s house following her death in 2010. Egoyan: “What fillsour ears and draws us in towards the music is in the weave: the magnetic pull of the constant drone of a fifth in thelower voices; the unfolding of a dissonant row in the middle voices; and the colouring of warm harmonic chordson top.” (CMCCD 19113) Doug McInroy and Joan Colquhoun McGorman will each receive a copy.Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Shushan and Joseph, Francine, Viva, Jennifer, Moira and Megan, Gil and Dorothy, and Patricia.thewholenote.com April 1 – May 7, 2013 | 61

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