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Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018

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  • September
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • Symphony
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  • Orchestra
  • Festival
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  • Violin
In this issue: The WholeNote's 7th Annual TIFF TIPS guide to festival films with musical clout; soprano Erin Wall in conversation with Art of Song columnist Lydia Perovic, about more than the art of song; a summer's worth of recordings reviewed; Toronto Chamber Choir at 50 (is a few close friends all it takes?); and much more, as the 2018/19 season gets under way.


FEATURE A SINGULAR RECOGNITION SEEN IN CONTEXT DAVID JAEGER I received a memorable phone call early this past June – one that surprised and delighted me. It was from the Chancellery of Honours, informing me of my appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada. The citation that came with the appointment spoke to the decades of commissioning, producing and broadcasting the work of Canada’s composers during my 40 years as a member of CBC Radio Music. Regular readers of The WholeNote will know that I have recounted various important episodes of this history in these pages over the past two years. But the honour of being formally recognized for this work now has me looking back through a slightly different lens, focusing on the circumstances that made possible a mission as seemingly rarefied as supporting composition in Canada. The answer? Public broadcasting. At rock bottom, the difference between public radio and commercial radio is that commercial radio delivers audiences to advertisers, while public radio, on the contrary, enriches the audience with content of value. This basic difference remains today, even with the encroachment of the internet and social media. This difference was already clear in my mind when I arrived at the CBC Radio Music department in 1973, ready and eager to produce original musical content for the network. John Peter Lee Roberts, the man who hired me after I finished my Master of Music degree in composition and electronic music at the University of Toronto, had already laid the groundwork. He had been the head of the national radio music department of the CBC since 1965 and had built a strong music department that was content-driven, always focused on delivering an enriched, highquality music service to Canadian listeners. He believed that commissioning original Canadian works was at the core of the CBC’s mission: in his ten years as Head of Music at CBC Radio, he commissioned about 150 works, many now recognized as Canadian classics, such as Harry Somers’ famous Gloria. Such creative leadership could only be undertaken under the mandate of public broadcasting. 1973, the year of my arrival, was also the year Roberts, together with the Canada Council, created the National Radio Competition for Young Composers – a scheme to identify emerging Canadian composers and to highlight their work in broadcasts for Canadian listeners. It was also a way of encouraging and eventually developing young composers into mature artists, whose works would form the content of future contemporary music programming. Roberts turned the administration of the competition over to me in 1975, as he was leaving the Radio Music department. The CBC/Radio-Canada National Competition for Young Composers ran every second year until 2003, and introduced some 165 winning composers to Canadian audiences. The responsibility of organizing this national competition was the first of three opportunities in the period from 1975 to 1978 that 14 | September 2018

enabled me to begin my work developing Canadian composers at CBC Radio. The second was when I was named CBC Radio’s delegate to the International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) in 1977. The IRC is a new music meet-up that takes place every year, organized by the International Music Council, with the participating public radio services of some 35 countries. Serving as CBC’s delegate gave me an outlet to present the works of Canadian composers we had produced at CBC, as well as providing access to new works from around the world for broadcast in Canada. And the third key opportunity was the creation of a new CBC network program that would serve as the platform for the original content we were about to begin producing in earnest. This program was Two New Hours, which launched on New Year’s Day, 1978. January 1978 was a new beginning: for the next nearly 30 years, we had a national network program that brought Canadians a window on new music creation by Canadian and international composers. The IRC, together with another international exchange mechanism, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), gave us the means to exchange high quality productions of the most fascinating new works being created around the world, and a means of telling the rest of the world about Canadian music. And the National Radio Competition for Young Composers provided a means to invest in the development of emerging young Canadian composers, creating the newest of new music for current and future broadcasts. The clearest example for me of how all these initiatives worked together successfully is the case of composer Chris Paul Harman. In 1990, the 19-year-old Harman became the only teenaged Grand Prize winner of the CBC/Radio-Canada young composers competition. Our recording of his winning composition, Iridescence for string orchestra, was submitted to the IRC the following year. The international delegates of the IRC voted Harman’s Iridescence the best work by a composer under the age of 30. The work was broadcast in 35 countries as a result. Iridescence was subsequently performed January 1978 was a new beginning: for the next nearly 30 years, we had a national network program that brought Canadians a window on new music creation. Chris Paul Harman, 1998 the following year by the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and broadcast on Two New Hours as well as other CBC Radio music programs. By 1992, Harman was already an internationally recognized composer, not to mention a celebrity within the Canadian music community. As his career grew, CBC Radio continued to follow and assist Harman’s development with commissions and broadcasts. Most of the major musical institutions in Canada have now performed his works; he has taken his place among the most respected composers in Canada. Along the way, he won the Jules Léger Prize twice: once (2001) for his work Amerika, which was also shortlisted for the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize; and a second time (2007) for his work Postludio a rovescio, commissioned by the Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam. Harman is currently Associate Professor of composition at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University; more about that a little further on.) The list of emerging Canadian composers who also benefited in a similar way from the coupling and coordination of these three initiatives is considerable: it includes Brian Current, Paul Frehner, Analia Llugdar, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Ana Sokolović, Andrew Staniland and many, many others. The opportunities provided through CBC Radio to encourage these composers over several decades helped Canadian composition to flourish; it was certainly a key factor in my recent Order of Canada citation. That being said, my focus over 40 years at CBC Radio Music was not exclusively on the development of emerging composers. Established NEW MUSIC CONCERTS 2018-19 SEASON | CONCERTS @8, INTRODUCTIONS @7 15 | SUBSCRIPTIONS 416.961.9594 SATURDAY OCTOBER 6, 2018 Betty Oliphant Theatre Linda Bouchard’s Murderous Little World multi-media performance with Bellows & Brass SUNDAY NOVEMBER 11, 2018 Music Gallery 918 Bathurst Generation 2018 O’Callaghan, Tidrow, Giguere, Dupuis Ensemble contemporain de Montréal Véronique Lacroix SUNDAY DECEMBER 2, 2018 Betty Oliphant Theatre Koerner’s Choice Stravinsky, Ives, Schafer, Milhaud NMC Ensemble Robert Aitken FRIDAY JANUARY 25, 2019 Walter Hall Toshio Hosokawa A Portrait NMC Ensemble Robert Aitken SUNDAY APRIL 28, 2019 Betty Oliphant Theatre Luminaries Tremblay & Boulez Louise Bessette, piano Patricia Green, mezzo Robert Aitken Brian Current SUNDAY MAY 26, 2019 Betty Oliphant Theatre Iridescence music by McIntire, Sokolovic & Andreyev Andréa Tyniec, violin NMC Ensemble Robert Aitken September 2018 | 15

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