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Volume 19 Issue 4 - December 2013

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  • December
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interdisciplinary

interdisciplinary performance. It weaves into the score not onlyhuman stories — a mixture of the indigenous Nuxalk Nation, descendantsof Norwegian and Japanese settlers — but also the ever-presentsonic backdrop of the place: the river and the forest. The ContinuumEnsemble’s skilled septet, conducted by Gregory Oh, is joined bymezzo Marion Newman.December 5 the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, presentsits regular bi-annual “World Music Ensembles Concert” at 7:30pmin Walter Hall. This particular concert includes the (Balinese SemarPegulingan) Gamelan Ensemble directed by Annette Sanger. They’rejoined by Brian Katz’s Klezmer Ensemble; the Japanese TaikoEnsemble directed by Kiyoshi Nagata rounds out the early evening.Women take stage centre: Rounding out the first week of themonth on December 7 the Batuki Music Society showcases “Songsof My Mother: A Celebration of African Women” at the Ada SlaightHall, Daniels Spectrum. The Batuku Music press release notes that intraditional African music male voices are often privileged while thefemale voice “is not given [the] prominent role that it deserves” eventhough it is ever present. Moreover “women are often ... discouragedfrom assuming leading roles especially as bandleaders. Toronto has agood number of African female singers: some of them lead their ownbands and others are vocalists in various groups.” This concert seeksto redress an evident gender inequality and to shine “a light on therich talent and the diversity of music that these women possess.” Thefeatured singers are: Tapa Diarra, Evelyn Mukwedeya, Memory Makuri,Blandine Mbiya and Ruth Mathiang. They are supported by five (male)musicians and the choreographer/dancer Mabinty Sylla.December 7 and 8 another concert examines the female diasporicexperience, this time from an Asian perspective. The Raging AsianWomen Taiko Drummers, aka RAW performs “From Rage Comes” onthe spacious stage of the Betty Oliphant Theatre. RAW promises thisconcert “will not be your typical percussion event.” Toronto’s selfdescribed“well-loved ensemble of Asian women activist drummers”has collectively created an evening-length work which aims to telltheir stories as diasporic Asian-Canadian women in the 21st centurythrough music, movement and storytelling. They mine personalexperiences which “explore the theme of rage ... and what comes fromit. When it is unleashed ... when it is muted ... when it must be swallowed... and when it empowers women to transcend.” The core taikodrumming practice of RAW, as it has evolved in North America, is ajumping off point “for an artistic journey to explore racial, sexual andcultural identities ... with a special focus on social activism, educationand community building.” They’re well worth seeing.The same night, December 8, the Echo Women’s Choir raises its 80strong voices at the Church of the Holy Trinity with a social activist,community and world music focus in a program titled “Rise.” TheEcho performs Appalachian, Croatian klapa — a form of traditional acappella singing from Dalmatia, gospel, South African songs, as wellas compositions by several composers. The choir is joined by guestguitarist and fiddler Annabelle Chvostek. Becca Whitla and AlanGasser conduct.More picks: December 14 the African Catholic Community Choirpresents songs from a variety of African traditions, plus works inEnglish and French. Conducted by Serge Tshiunza, the concert is atthe Holy Name Catholic Church.We skip more than a month, and into a new year, to January 18,2014. “Send me a Rose” is the concert by the Lute Legends Ensembleat the Glenn Gould Studio. Bassam Bishara, oud (‘ud), Lucas Harris,lute, and Wen Zhao, pipa, present music for three prominent instrumentsof the venerable and widespread lute family. Some scholarstrace the lineages of the modern Near-Eastern ‘ud and Chinese pipa toa common ancestor about 1,100 years ago. The European lute and the‘ud are also related. Both appear to have descended from a commonforbear via diverging evolutionary paths. The Lute Legends trio aimsto bend the direction of these divergent geographic paths back towardthe unified goal of making music together on the cozy stage of theGlenn Gould Studio. Their program includes music from Turkey, Italy,Iraq, China and Scotland. Sweetening the Can-con, the Canadiancomposer Andrew Donaldson has written a work for them too.January 18 Amanda Martinez, no stranger to our column, bringsher signature eclectic Latin-centred music to our 905 neighbours inMarkham. Martinez and her band will offer a generous mix of Afro-Cuban beats, bossa nova, flamenco and Mexican folk music at theFlato Markham Theatre.Already into the second month of the New Year, on February 1,Fatoumata Diawara and Bassekou Kouyate perform the excitinghybrid music of Malian blues at Koerner Hall. Co-presented by theRoyal Conservatory, Small World Music and Batuki Music, Maliansinger Diawara was singled out by Time magazine in 2012 as a singerto watch. “Her well-crafted songs are often light and breezy, buther soulful voice brings a bluesy depth and potency ...” Sharing thestage is Mali’s Kouyate, the jeli ngoni virtuoso, whose music hasbeen compared to the “electric desert blues” of Tinariwen and AliFarka Touré.I look forward to continuing my personal observations of theGTA world music scene in these pages next year. May you have abanner 2014.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at worldmusic@thewholenote.com.32 | December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | In With the New(Re)Generationsof the NewWENDALYN BARTLEYAs the waves of the new and the experimental in soundcontinue to unfold in the life of Toronto’s music scene, it’sworth taking a look back at the institutions that brought usto this point. Certainly one of the most influential in the creation ofthis legacy has been the Music Gallery, which first opened its doorson St. Patrick Street in 1976. I know I’m notalone in having fond memories of all thatwent on within those walls. It was an experimentalhub, an incubator and laboratory forthe most cutting-edge musical developments.It also had an educational focus, servingthe community by providing an accessiblerecording studio, launching Musicworksmagazine, and starting its own recordinglabel: Music Gallery Editions. And all thathistory over the years has been recorded.Just thinking of all the gems housed in theirarchives would be enough to make anyaficionado salivate.Monica Pearce: The latest news at thegallery is that they have just hired a newexecutive director — Monica Pearce. Monicacomes with a background as a composer inMonica Pearcewith Tim Crouch.the contemporary classical tradition, a concert presenter (Toy PianoComposers Collective) and an administrator (The Canadian Leagueof Composers). She joins the Gallery’s current artistic director DavidDacks; their combined distinctive musical backgrounds promise toprovide inspiring leadership for the next generation of innovation.When I spoke to Monica about the Music Gallery’s current vision, sheaffirmed their ongoing commitment to building community andcollaboration among artists of diverse genres and artforms. She seesthe Music Gallery playing an important role in fostering this dialogueand sees that the time is ripe for camaraderie and mutual supportamongst the eclectic range of new music presenters and artists in thecity. She pointed to the creation of the New Music Passport as onesign of this collaboration. For a small fee, passport-holders are offeredone discounted ticket to one concert by each of the 11 participatingorganizations. (This would make a great holiday gift by the way. Seenewmusicpassport.ca for details.) The New Music 101 series of talksat the Toronto Reference Library is another example of this growingsolidarity.The gallery also involves the artistic community by engagingdifferent curators for the various concert series. This is evident in theircurrent Emergent series, which is curated by all the featured artists oflast season’s Emergent concerts. The December 12 Emergent concert“Strange Strings” explores diverse string theories for new music mixedwith DIY electronics and progressive rock while the January 17 eventbrings together Toronto-based sound artist Christopher Willes and theEnsemble Paramirabo from Montreal.And just as Monica begins her new position, the current curator ofthe Post-Classical series, pianist Gregory Oh, presents his last concerton December 20, a production of the PulitzerPrize-winning Little Match Girl Passion byAmerican composer David Lang. Performedby a vocal quartet accompanying themselveson percussion, the piece is based onHans Christian Andersen’s classic Christmasstory that illuminates the dichotomy betweena young girl’s suffering and hope. It drawsmuch of its musical inspiration from Bach’sSt. Matthew Passion. The Washington Post’sTim Page said of the piece that it is “unlike anymusic I know.”As I mentioned above, part of the MusicGallery’s vision is to collaborate with othernew music presenters. On December 8they will co-present a concert with ContactContemporary Music titled “The MostRelaxing of All Instruments” in whichlisteners will experience an otherworldly program of solo andchamber works featuring guitarist Rob MacDonald and guests StephenTam (flute) and David Schotzko (percussion). And of course, the MusicGallery is often the preferred concert venue for many of the city’s newmusic groups. On January 19, New Music Concerts will present “FromAtlantic Shores” featuring the New Brunswick-based Motion Ensembleperforming an eclectic mix of works by Maritime composers. Theprogram includes a newly commissioned piece by Lucas Oickle, arecent graduate of Acadia University, along with two works connectedto the historical Acadian area of Grand-Pre.James Tenney: Another aspect of the Music Gallery’s legacy fromits early days in the 70s was the close relationship that was fosteredwww.NewMusicConcerts.com2014 eventsIntroductions @ 7:15pmConcerts @ 8:00pmSunday January 19, 2014 • 8 pmMotion Ensemble:From Atlantic ShoresThe Music Gallery | 197 John St.A cornucopia of Canadian musicfrom the East coast by Blais,Steffler, Morse, Oickle, Charke,Moore, Genge and AltmannSunday March 2, 2014 • 8 pmA Percussive Eveningwith Jean-Pierre DrouetThe Music Gallery | 197 John St.Legendary percussive theatrics byVinko Globokar, Georges Aperghis,Frederic Rzewski, Giorgio Battistelliand Mauricio Kagel[rescheduled from Dec.14, 2013]Thursday March 20, 2014 • 8 pmAn Evening with theArditti String QuartetJane Mallett Theatre27 Front St. E. | 416.366.7723co-production with Music TorontoPioneering quartets by Elliott Carter,Hilda Paredes, Brian Ferneyhoughand Helmut LachenmannFriday April 18, 2014 • 8 pmA Portrait ofJörg WidmannBetty Oliphant Theatre | 404 JarvisNew Music Concerts EnsembleJörg Widmann, clarinet/directionJörg Widmann returns to Toronto topresent the Canadian premieres ofsix recent ensemble worksIndividual Tickets regular | seniors / arts workers | students[Call Box Office numbers above for March 20 and May 21 co-production single ticket prices]Pick 3 (or more) each reg | senior/arts | students | Call NMC @ 416.961.9594Wednesday May 21, 2014 • 8 pmBeijing Composerswith Wei-wei LanMazzoleni Hall,Royal Conservatory273 Bloor St. W. | 416.408.0208music byFuhong Shi❂ Alexina LouieGuoping Jia❂ Xiaoyong Chen❂featuring Pipa virtuoso Wei-Wei Lan.NMC’s contribution to the inauguralRoyal Conservatory 21C Music Festival❂ World Premieresthewholenote.com December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 | 33

Volume 26 (2020- )

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