4 years ago

Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019

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  • March
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Something Old, Something New! The Ide(a)s of March are Upon Us! Rob Harris's Rear View Mirror looks forward to a tonal revival; Tafelmusik expands their chronological envelope in two directions, Esprit makes wave after wave; Pax Christi's new oratorio by Barbara Croall catches the attention of our choral and new music columnists; and summer music education is our special focus, right when warm days are once again possible to imagine. All this and more in our March 2019 edition, available in flipthrough here, and on the stands starting Thursday Feb 28.


FEATURE BACK FROM BANFF Reflections on a Musical Residency COLIN STORY It happened the day after I got back from Banff. My flight had arrived late the previous night, and I got back to my apartment around 11pm, after a lengthy wait in line for a taxi outside of Pearson International Airport in minus-20-degree weather, which I’d endured without the aid of toque, gloves or scarf, as I’d packed these items deep in my carry-on luggage. Imprudent though this decision might seem when viewed in retrospect, it made sense at the time: I hadn’t needed my woollen accessories on my last day in Banff thanks to a timely Chinook wind that raised the daytime temperature to a balmy two degrees. After getting back to my apartment, making an abortive attempt to unpack, and falling asleep with every available blanket piled on top of my wind-bitten body, I awoke to further delights: frosted-over windows, an insufficient supply of drinkable coffee, and a refrigerator, empty but for an assortment of condiments, a few cans of beer, and a sad, desiccated apple, which in my haste to leave some four weeks earlier I’d evidently forgotten. The remedy to this dearth of comforts: I had to go to the grocery store. And so it was in Whole Foods – coffee in one hand, avocado in the other – that I, upon making eye contact with a nearby man who was also perusing the produce section, smiled, nodded and said a brief “Hey.” To the man’s credit, his gently startled response of “Uhh… okay” probably had less to do with any rudeness on his part than it had to do with the fact that he, unlike me, had not just spent two weeks at the Banff Centre, where it was common practice, upon encountering a new face in the close quarters of an elevator, or at a dining-hall table, to smile, nod and say a brief “Hey.” This salutation, simple though it was, constituted a layered acknowledgment of a number of implicit statements related to the unique circumstances of being at the Centre, including (but not limited to): “It’s nice to see a friendly face” and, “Isn’t it wonderful to have access to such outstanding facilities?” and “Isn’t the divide between our day-to-day lives and the pampered, unstructured, logistically streamlined lives that we’re leading in our respective residencies so great as to make you feel simultaneously lucky, grateful and slightly embarrassed?” My fellow plant-fat enthusiast couldn’t have known. He also likely wouldn’t have known that the Banff Centre – founded in 1933, current full name Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity – hosts 64 | March 2019

Colin Story inside his hut a number of programs throughout the year, from short-term summer workshops in disciplines such as dance, theatre, jazz and chamber music, to long-term practicums, in fields such as audio engineering, that run for the better part of a year. I was at the Centre to attend the Banff Musicians in Residence (BMiR) program, a self-directed residency that occurs annually in three separate five-week sessions throughout fall and winter. Successful residency applicants can stay for the full five weeks, although most tend to stay for three, at least in the sessions that I’ve attended. While I don’t know what internal criteria are at play in the selection process, a typical BMiR cohort will consist of approximately 25 Canadian and international musicians who specialize in a wide variety of different practices; this residency included artists such as Corey Gulkin, a singer-songwriter from Montreal, Mark Taylor, a composer from New York, and Rosa Guitar Trio, a classical ensemble from Australia. Each week of a residency also features a guest faculty member, who hosts a master-class-style session in their studio, is available for oneon-one coachings, and who performs in the concert session that ends each residency week. These concerts tend to alternate between Rolston Recital Hall, a classical-style venue in which primarily acoustic music tends to be programmed, and The Club, the creatively named space in which jazz, pop, folk and other groove-oriented music tends to be programmed. (Blunt titular charms aside, one imagines that the Banff Centre must simply be waiting for the rightly named donor-partnership opportunity.) A BMiR session also sees the selection, through an application and interview process that takes place in advance of the residency, of an artistic associate, a resident who acts as concert curator, social convener and liaison between program participants and Banff Centre administrative staff. The artistic associate in my most recent session was Sophie Gledhill, an English cellist, who successfully wrangled our herd of a cohort with patience, humour and generosity. At its core, a BMiR works by giving its participants the space, time and resources they need in order to do their unique artistic work, free (to a certain extent) of the stress and responsibility of their ordinary routines. Physically, the Centre resembles a small college campus, and being there mimics a kind of post-secondary experience: participants stay in one of several residence buildings, they have access to the gym, and they receive a Banff Centre ID card, which is loaded with funds on their flex-meal plan; funds they are free to spend at any of the on-campus restaurants (though not, it should be noted, on alcohol). Musicians are assigned a studio space, either in the Music and Sound building, or in one of the 28 huts located in nearby clusters. Equipment requests are processed about a month before the start of a new session. The Banff Centre has a robust inventory of gear, and will help to accommodate any unusual items needed in a given artist’s studio. As drummer Mackenzie Longpré puts it: “One of the most unique aspects of the Banff Centre is the seemingly limitless access to a large array of facilities and musical equipment. During my residency, 20 UKRAINIAN ART SONG SUMMER INSTITUTE 2019 AUGUST 12- 1 8 The Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre For Performance and Learning 1 9 20 19 THE UKRAINIAN ART SONG SUMMER INSTITUTE RETURNS • 4 renowned faculty members • 8 emerging professional artists • 1 unique week of collaboration and intensive coaching The Summer Institute is a rare opportunity to develop your classical singing skills and explore a new repertoire of Ukrainian art songs redolent of poetry, history and love. Expression is key in this third annual week of training, as you gain a clearer understanding of how to convey the essence of an art song, no matter what form, no matter what language. The Summer Institute experience will culminate in your live performance in a public showcase at the TELUS Centre. “I highly recommend the Ukrainian Art Song Summer Institute to all singers. It provides an artistically enriching experience led by an inspiring and knowledgeable faculty. Emphasis is placed upon communicating with the audience.” Olenka Slywynska - 2018 Summer Institute participant “A week full of encouragement and passion that lit a fire in my heart for this repertoire.” Ariane Meredith - 2017 & 2018 Summer Institute participant FACULTY Pavlo Hunka - Artistic Director Albert Krywolt - Collaborative Pianist Robert Kortgaard - Collaborative Pianist Melanie Turgeon - Choral Director Professionals and emerging artists are invited to audition for the Ukrainian Art Song Summer Institute. For guidelines and online submission of your application form and supporting materials, please visit Imagine being part of this UKRAINIAN ART SONg project March 2019 | 65

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Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)