5 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 3 - November 2014

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  • November
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PIERRE LÉVEILLÉThe composer beginstheir work by compilinga notebook of ideasand sketches that theybring to a series of fourworkshops with theensemble. The workshopsare open foranyone to attend andeach audience memberis given a copy of thecomposer’s notebook sothey too can enter intoa deeper engagementwith the emergingcreative process. At thebeginning of each workshop, the audience experiences each composergiving a brief talk about their work, and a mini concert of works fromeach composer’s previous repertoire. Lacroix learns “as much fromthe composer experimentation as the composers learn from the musiciansplaying their score. After each workshop or Génération concert,many people tell me how instructive and even surprising the experiencewas for them.”In the second year of the program, the composer and ensemblegather for a five-day residency at the Banff Centre where the pieces arerehearsed and given the final touches. The pieces are now ready forconcert presentation – but not just in one location. An extended tourexposes these germinating ideas to a larger audience in a countrywidetour. This year, there will be concerts in nine Canadian cities,with the Ontario-based concerts happening in Toronto, London andOttawa. The mentoring and audience-education activities don’t stopat the workshop stage either. At the concert, each of the composersis interviewed onstage about their piece, which is supported withmusical examples from the new work. As well, in each of the tourcities, ECM+ offers reading sessions of composition student pieces,and since 2010, audiences have had a voice in selecting their favouritework through the Generation Audience Choice Award.Throughout its 20-year history, the program has supported over50 composers, providing many with the foundations for a successfuland prize-winning career. This year’s composers include Marie-PierreBrasset (Quebec), Alec Hall (Ontario/New York), Evelin Ramon (Cuba/(Quebec), and Anthony Tan (Alberta/Berlin). To hear the results ofthese fortunate composers and their 18-month process, make sure youattend the Génération concert in Toronto on November 16 presentedby New Music Concerts in their season opener. Not surprisingly, NMC,who also have a strong mandate to support Canadian composers, havebeen the Toronto host for every Génération tour since 2000. There isalso a YouTube video that has been created which offers interviewsand musical examples of each of this year’s participating composers.(Search Génération2014 on YouTube)Esprit Orchestra is another organizationthat nurtures the creative mindsAdam Scimeof composers. A great example of thisis evident in their November 23 concertand the programming of a new commissionedwork from Adam Scime. When Iasked Adam how Esprit has supportedhim and his career, he emphasized “theimportance of working within a collaborativeenvironment with musicians whoare not only exceptional in their generalperformance capability, but also experiencedwith contemporary idioms.” Thus,the composer “need not relinquish anyvirtuosic expressive impulses, and cancreate exactly what leaps from mind topage.” Esprit offers a young composercompetition, and it was Scime winningthis award a few years ago that led tothe commissioned piece that will beVéronique Lacroixperformed in the upcoming November concert.This new piece is titled Rise and is inspired byhow waves propagate across the ocean. Scimehas split the orchestra into a stereophonic seatingarrangement in order to facilitate his wave-likeorchestration and colouristic effects. The otherworks on the program include pieces by JojiYuasa (Japan), Douglas Schmidt (Canada) andHenri Dutilleux (France).[Also on the topic of supporting developingwork, Tapestry Opera is renowned as well forits mentoring of composers and librettists. Moredetails of their upcoming series entitled “BoosterShots” can be read in Christopher Hoile’scolumn in this issue. Ed.].Whirlwind tour: November is a busy monthfor new music listeners, so to begin the whirlwind tour of all that’savailable, we hop over to the Kitchener-Waterloo area where theK-W Chamber Music Society is collaborating with NUMUS and thePerimeter Institute to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Their concerton November 28 titled “Igorhythms” features both the Pendereckiand Lafayette string quartets along with the Perimeter ChamberPlayers performing works of captivating rhythms by Stravinsky,Canadian composer John Estacio and Waterloo’s master of grooveJascha Narveson. Earlier in the month on November 9, K-WCMSoffers a concert of music by Canadian women composers includingpieces by Alice Ho, Carol Weaver, and Larysa Kuzmenko. NUMUS isalso presenting their Emerging Artist series on November 8 featuringcomposer/performer Nick Storring on electronics.Thin Edge: Back in Toronto, The Thin Edge New Music Collective’sprogram titled “Cuatro Esquinas” (Four Corners) combines compositionsfrom both Argentina and Canada with guest Argentinianpianist Laura Ventemiglia and will be presented on November 6 atGallery 345.TCIF: On November 7, we have a co-production between theMusic Gallery and the Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival in a largemulti-media work pulled together by Burroughs scholar, composerand saxophonist Glen Hall entitled “Rub Out The Word: A WilliamS. Burroughs Centennial Event.” The work combines an 11-pieceorchestra, an actor, electroacoustic music and projected images alongwith special guests, the venerable CCMC improvising ensemble.Four more: On November 14, Arraymusic will present severalworks by Irish composer Gerald Barry, including a new piecebeing premiered by Arraymusic pianist Stephen Clarke. Then onNovember 21, the fast-rising southwestern Ontario ensemble ReverbBrass presents their program of cutting-edge works entitled “Passages”at Gallery 345. On November 25 Soundstreams celebrates universalspirituality with two large choral works – both ancient and modernrenditions of the traditional sunset prayer service Vespers – byMonteverdi and Canadian Gilles Tremblay. And on November 29, theToy Piano Composers presents pieces by composers who responded totheir 2014 call for works.Individual composers often end up presenting their own works.November 18 you can hear the music of Odawa composer BarbaraCroall, whose music combines influences from her indigenousheritage and her classically oriented training. “Bob@60” onNovember 23 celebrates over 40 years of contemporary music creationby Toronto-based composer and clarinetist Bob Stevenson. Thisconcert will feature two ensembles which Stevenson has put togetherto perform some of his latest pieces, which combine his classical,improvisational and jazz influences. And finally, the Toronto premiereof composer-performer Tim Brady’s piece titled Journal: StringQuartet No.2 will be presented as part of the Mooredale Concerts onNovember 2 featuring the New Orford String Quartet.Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electro-vocalsound artist. She can be contacted at | November 1 - December 7, 2014

Beat by Beat | On OperaRare Old AndBrand NewCHRISTOPHER HOILEOn November 1, after the COC’s new production of Verdi’sFalstaff and Opera Atelier’s new production of Handel’s Alcinaboth finish their runs, Toronto’s smaller opera companies takecentre stage to explore rarities and brand new works.La Gran Vía: Operas from the seldom-heard Spanish repertoirebookend the month. On November 2, Toronto Operetta Theatrepresents the Canadian premiere of La Gran Vía (1886) by FedericoChueca (1846-1908) and Joaquín Valverde (1846-1910). La Gran Víawill be the latest zarzuela, or Spanish version of operetta, that theTOT will have introduced to Canadian audiences. Unlike the previouszarzuelas, however, La Gran Vía is not realistic and romantic butsurrealistic and satiric. The subject concerns the plan to build La GranVía in Madrid – a wide, modern boulevard like those Haussmannbuilt in Paris between 1853 and 1870. Like Haussmann’s boulevards,La Gran Vía would entail the destruction of many old streets andneighbourhoods.The zarzuela begins, in fact, with a collection of these threatenedstreets and plazas, personified and gathered to complain aboutthe new boulevard. Two allegorical characters enter, El Paseante(the stroller) and the Caballero de Gracia (the graceful gentleman) toexplain how the boulevard is unlikely to be built for a long time dueto lack of funding and municipal infighting. (How right they are sincethe real Gran Vía was not begun until 1904 and completed in 1929!)Further allegorical figures include Prosperidad, Pacífico, Injurias,PRESENTSAN OPERA TASTING IN THE DISTILLERYFor tickets visit:TAPESTRYOPERA.COMor call (416) 537 6066November 13-16 8pm Ernest Balmer StudioStudio 316, 9 Trinity Street, TorontoStarring:Catherine Affleck, Alexander Dobson,Keith Klassen, Krisztina SzabòDr. Chris Foley, Jennifer TungOriginal Opera Shorts by:Ivan Barbotin, Nicolas Billon,Dean Burry, Nicole Lizée,Hannah Moscovitch, Morris Panych,Benton Roark, James Rolfe,Chris Thornborrow, Donna-MichelleSt. Bernard, & David November 1 - December 7, 2014 | 33

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