8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 4 - December 2013

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with the music

with the music department at York University.Gabriel Prokofiev.Visiting artists at the gallery would often visit Yorkand student ensembles would often perform at thegallery. James Tenney was one such York professor,composer and music theorist who fostered this relationship.On December 6, Arraymusic will celebrateTenney’s music with a concert of several of his works,including two pieces he write for the ensemble. Inthe words of former Arraymusic artistic directorRobert Stevenson “Tenney shook up this city’s musiccommunity, making us more aware of such experimentalAmerican composers as Conlon Nancarrowand Alvin Lucier. Through his devoted commitmentto the music of our time, Jim provided us withthe courage and determination to give our lives overto the music we believe in.” This concert will be achance to listen to Jim’s brilliant visionary music,including works for different tuning systems andintriguing composition processes.Gabriel Prokofiev: Over at the University ofToronto’s Faculty of Music, this year’s edition of theirNew Music Festival gets underway on January 25 witha concert of symphonic works by two generations ofProkofievs: the famous one — Sergei — and his grandson Gabriel, who isthis year’s invited visitor in composition. Gabriel Prokofiev’s distinctivesound is informed by his background as a producer of hip-hop,grime, and electro records as well as his training as a composer inthe classical and electroacoustic traditions. His critically acclaimedConcerto for Turntables and Orchestra, to be performed in theopening concert, is one example of how he mixes these two worlds.The fact of his being the featured composer of the festival meansthat there will be multiple opportunities to hear the full range of thedynamic composer’s music. Two concerts of his chamber works willbe performed on January 29 and 30, along with a concert of his choralmusic on February 2. Included in the programming will be a recentlyreleased work Cello Multitracks, originally conceived as a multitrackwork to be recorded by one performer, but also playable live for cellononet. This is yet another example of how he combines influencesfrom both dance music and more traditional classical forms.On January 31 during a noon-hour concert of electroacoustic music,listeners will be treated to more of his works in this genre alongsiderecent pieces by graduate students. Later that evening, the KarenKieser Prize Concert will present the 2013-winning piece Walking byChris Thornborrow, as well as works by G. Prokofiev and others. EspritOrchestra is also getting into the spirit of the festival action, and theirJanuary 26 concert will feature a movement from G. Prokofiev’s CelloViolins, violas, cellos & bowsComplete line of strings & accessoriesExpert repairs & rehairsCanada’s largest stock of string musicA treasure trove of gifts for string playersthesoundpost.cominfo@the soundpost.com93 Grenville St, Toronto M5S 1B4416.971.6990 • fax 416.597.9923• SALON CONCERT •Jonathan Crow, violin • Dec 1, 2pmConcerto. This concert will also feature guest conductor Samy Moussaconducting the premiere of his own new work as well as a piece byGerman conductor Peter Ruzicka. Compositions by Canadian ZoshaDi Castri and Berlin-based Unsuk Chin round out this concert titled“Strange Matter.”Walter Buczynski: Returning to the U of Toronto’s New MusicFestival, there will be an 80th birthday celebration afternoon concertin honour of professor Walter Buczynski on January 26 followed thenext day by a guest piano recital by Roberto Turrin. A work by DavidLang (composer of Little Match Girl Passion) will also be presentedin an unusual concert pairing of bassoon and percussion musicon January 29. Student composers will be presenting works onJanuary 30 (miniature operas), February 2 (jazz) and February 4.In brief: The theme “(Re)Generations of the New” shows up in yetanother configuration over these next two months with nine differentconcerts that mix classical and contemporary music together:December 3, works by Colin Eatock and Jean Papineau-Coutureappear in a unique Canadian Day Revisited event at the LulaLounge. Syrinx Concerts Toronto celebrates Canadian composersHarry Somers at their December 8 concert and Kelly Marie Murphyat their January 12 event, both at the Heliconian Hall. The AmiciChamber Ensemble includes a work by Tōru Takemitsu in theirDecember 1 concert while the Annex Singers perform a piece byArvo Pärt on December 14. And the Kitchener-Waterloo ChamberMusic Society mixes in pieces by John Zorn (January 10) and MarjanMozetich (January 12) while the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony playsStravinsky’s Jeu de cartes on January 18.To close out, we cannot forget the invaluable contribution theCanadian Music Centre has made in facilitating the growth of newmusic. Events such as their piano series keep Canadian music alive.Check out the January 13 event when Chris Donnelly will performhis Metamorphosis: Ten Improvisations for Solo Piano and their“Nonclassical Night” with Gabriel Prokofiev January 28.QUICK PICKS!!Canadian Opera Company, lobby concerts: “Power Chords” featuresa new work by Scott Good on December 3; A Soldier’s Tale by JohnGzowski is February 6.!!Soundstreams: Canadian Choral Celebration on February 2 pairsGorecki’s Miserere with the world premiere of R. Murray Schafer’sHear the Sounds go Round.Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto based composer and electro-vocalsound artist. Her own concert, “A Winter Solstice CelebrationCD launch,” December 21, features selections from her recentlyreleased Sound Dreaming: Oracle Songs from Ancient RitualSpaces. She can be reached at | December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014

LUTOSLAWSKI’S LEGACY: A Personal Reminiscence | continued from page 10was take a pan of water from the kitchen and throw it all over the floor.I was shocked until I took a moment to remember that she did sufferfrom a respiratory ailment and this would bring badly needed moistureto the dry mountain air. I’m sure she noticed that it was industrialcarpeting and no harm would be done.Always the gentleman, Lutoslawski coached and conducted frommorning to night. Like John Cage, he was always prompt. If there wasa rehearsal at 9am and I said he could come late, he always said “No.I’ll be there.” The library at the Banff Centre was excellent at that timeand he spent a lot of time there. The New Grove Dictionary had justbeen issued and was being collected one volume at a time. Witold wasparticularly interested in it and was pleased to point out to me the fictitiouspersonality Dag Henrik Esrum-Hellerup who had been inventedand was listed in the edition.Two Polish violists both coincidentally named Darius were in residenceat the time and the Lutoslawskis were very concerned aboutthem as Banff could only pay 85 per cent of their costs. Witold gave mespending money for them if they became destitute but their performancesin music theatre and a concert for the Polish Cultural Society inCalgary brought them enough spending money and their housing overthe Christmas break so I sent the money back to him. But this was thekind of man he was and I am sure accounts for much of the love Polandbestows upon him.Toronto 1993: We next invited Lutoslawski to Toronto in 1991; wewould have done so sooner but most of his new repertoire in that periodwas orchestral which NMC could not afford to perform. That concert alsotook two years to come to fruition and again it was thanks to an invitationfrom Montreal, to receive an honourary doctorate from McGillUniversity on October 30. Our concert was on October 24, the weekbefore ... The first rehearsal was again, he claimed, almost perfect. Thistime the concert was recorded by the CBC with the plan to release it asa live recording. Little did we know that there would be a little old ladycoughing in the first row ... and that this would be Witold Lutoslawski’slast conducted concert.Considerable effort went into editing out the wheezing and otherextraneous noises and New Music Concerts released the recording atits own expense in 1994. For this purpose our NMC photographer AndréLeduc took a large number of photographs and in the sport of the occasionWitold was pleased to pose in a number of (very) amusing ways.The last several hundred copies of this original edition were purchasedby the Lutoslawski Society and then, in 2010, it was taken on by Naxoswhich, with the largest distribution in the world, has given it a fargreater exposure. It was reissued again in 2013 as the final disc in theNaxos 10CD Lutoslawski Centennial Collection.Well, the end of his life is well known to all of you. It is a terribledisease but in this case mercifully short. (Morton Feldman and myfather also succumbed to pancreatic cancer and passed away withinthree months of diagnosis.)Lutoslawski was a wonderful man whom we all miss. He left amagnificent legacy of music, fine performances and memories of aperfect gentleman with a sense of humour, profound thought, a monumentalartist full of humility.I am thankful for the wonderful music he wrote but wish he hadcomposed one more piece. I and other flutists continuously asked himto write something for flute. “Well,” he told me “even if you commissionit I, unlike some other composers, always write my pieces in the orderthat they are commissioned. I have accepted more orchestral commissionsthan I can complete in a lifetime. I write very slowly, only onepiece a year. But,” he said, “if I choose to write a piece not commissionedbetween the other works no one can complain. But first I need an idea.”His last two letters to me said (January 17, 1992) “Of course my dream isto bring a flute piece. But it must be born ...” and (March 28, 1992) “Flutepiece? I would love to write it and it is now more probable for me to beable to think about it than ever before. But first I must get some goodideas for it.” Then I spoke to him on the telephone and he said he had anidea for flute and piano and had begun some sketches ...Robert Aitken has been artistic director of New Music Concertssince its founding in December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 | 35

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