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Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Performing
  • Performances
  • Orchestra
  • Musicians
  • Jazz
  • Recording
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • Concerts
"COVID's Metamorphoses"? "There's Always Time (Until Suddenly There Isn't)"? "The Writing on the Wall"? It's hard to know WHAT to call this latest chapter in the extraordinary story we are all of a sudden characters in. By whatever name we call it, the MAY/JUNE combined issue of The WholeNote is now available, HERE in flip through format, in print commencing Wednesday May 6, and, in fully interactive form, online at thewholenote.com. Our 18th Annual Choral Canary Pages, scheduled for publication in print and flip through in September is already well underway with the first 50 choirs home to roost and more being added every week online. Community Voices, our cover story, brings to you the thoughts of 30 musical community members, all going through what we are going through (and with many more to come as the feature gets amplified online over the course of the coming months). And our regular writers bring their personal thoughts to the mix. Finally, a full-fledged DISCoveries review section offers cues and clues to recorded music for your solitary solace!

CEM ZAFIR I’m Cem

CEM ZAFIR I’m Cem Zafir, the founder, back in 2000, of Zula Presents, organizing concerts, series, tours and festivals for nearly a decade in Vancouver and the islands in BC. Since June 2014, Zula’s main project has been Hamilton’s Something Else! Festival of Creative Music, several back-to-back days of double-bills with contemporary jazz artists, improvisers, sound artists and avant-pop performers. This year Zula added an ongoing series “Watch It Burn,” pairing film, and live performance, to our planned activities, and a diversified June festival lineup. Since COVID-19 hit, we still haven’t officially postponed or cancelled the festival, but so far, the “Watch It Burn” series dates for March 15, April 24, and planned festival dates June 18-21, 2020 are the only things we had to let go, but just the dates, not the artists! Everything is postponed indefinitely. We hope to honour these agreements once on the other side, with 25-some acts, who were going to play our festival and series. We will postpone the festival indefinitely and hope to reschedule it for fall sometime. If the situation won’t allow by year end, then we would skip/ cancel 2020 festival. Hopefully we will follow through on all of them within a year or so. Not much else I can do! We are mostly focusing on going back to live, in-the-moment presentation. We will release some festival and series archival videos on our websites. We may have interviews streamed along with some solo performances to tide audiences over, but we’re not excited about such possibilities. As for how people reading this can stay in touch with what we are doing and planning, our websites and facebook page will be updated as things progress: somethingelsefestival.com, zulapresents.org and @zulapresents. CAROL KEHOE When we can, we’re absolutely going to find a way to present the new orchestral version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which we had planned for April. Speaking as executive director, Tafelmusik, since COVID-19 hit, I would say we have had to let go completely of any sense at all that we could plan for the immediate future! No, seriously: we were all looking forward to A Handel Celebration at the end of May, featuring the orchestra, choir and guest artists soprano Amanda Forsythe and tenor Thomas Hobbs. Choir director Ivars Taurins had completed so much work to curate a program of some of his favourite moments in Handel’s oratorios. We were also planning to record the program live in Koerner Hall to release later this year on our Tafelmusik Media label. It would have been the first recording featuring both music director Elisa Citterio and Ivars Taurins, with the Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Choir. Sadly, those plans have been shelved and we are all extremely disappointed about that. When we can, we’re absolutely going to find a way to present the new orchestral version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which we had planned for April. Bach’s timeless keyboard masterpiece had been arranged for orchestra by Elisa Citterio, who turned these keyboard miniature masterpieces into various combinations of solo players as well as the full orchestra. She had spent most of last summer working on the arrangement, and we had also commissioned a new piece from Canadian composer Grégoire Jeay to open this program. This perfect 90-minute concert was going to be a highlight of the season. A video recording of two variations (#1 and #30) from Elisa’s orchestral arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was posted online in late April and can still be seen as part of #TafelmusikTogether, a digital initiative we launched on March 17 on Tafelmusik’s Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels. It was one of the first performances Elisa suggested for our social media platforms and offers viewers a small taste of her arrangement. Elisa hopes our digital version will bring joy and help people feel less isolated. Also, instead of a live recording, in March we launched our first digital-only release Baroque for the Brain: Music to Study By, curated by Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon. Baroque for the Brain is available on digital platforms and features tracks from previous Tafelmusik recordings including music by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven. We are hopeful about sharing live music in the future, and subscriptions for Tafelmusik’s 2020/21 season, Passions of the Soul, are now available at tafelmusik.org. We also invite people to join us virtually for short performances and other artistic content being shared from musicians’ living rooms and kitchens through #TafelmusikTogether on Tafelmusik’s Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels. I would also like to mention that Tafelmusik has launched the Keep Tafelmusik Together campaign with the goal of raising $250,000 before June 30, 2020. This appeal will help Tafelmusik musicians and team members to continue to work on new initiatives, like #TafelmusikTogether, and prepare for the 2020/21 season. Donations can be made online at my.tafelmusik.org/together. JOHANNES DEBUS I am music director of the Canadian Opera Company. Since COVID-19 hit, as all performing artists I have had to let go the possibility of performing live. I miss this irreplaceable experience. I miss the magic when the lights go down and the curtain rises. I miss the symbiotical flow of energy between us performers and our audiences, and yes I even miss the stress of preparation before. Let’s hope sometime soon we will be able to open the doors to our performance venues again - to enjoy together the magic of sound embracing and surrounding us, evoking our deep emotions. In the 16 | May and June 2020 thewholenote.com

I miss the magic when the lights go down and the curtain rises. I miss the symbiotical flow of energy between us performers and our audiences, and yes I even miss the stress of preparation before. meanwhile, I study scores, play the piano, clean up the kitchen - in no particular order. People wanting to stay in touch with me can do so via Twitter @johannesdebus. You’ll also want to keep checking the COC’s various social platforms (@canadianopera on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). They’ve been showcasing a series of past COC productions and newly-taped at-home performances under the hashtag #OperaAtHome, but soon you’ll be seeing many new digital offerings and interactive opportunities, some of which I will be filming with the team. You’ll have to stay tuned to see more! SOPHIA PERLMAN Music is my compass. I am a freelance musician, educator and community artist. I would be scared to see how long this response would take if I was speaking for anyone else but myself (although, currently, I am at the helm of a wonderful thing called the Hornepayne Community Arts Project, and can’t pass up on the opportunity of wishing the brave music and theatre graduates from Mohawk and Centennial Colleges respectively huge congratulations and my support as they enter our community at this crazy time!) When COVID-19 hit, I watched most of my summer plans for performance, collaboration and travel crumble over the course of a week. A lot of festivals and venues are cancelling or suspending activities all the way through till September. As someone with a part-time contract at a post-secondary program, I was lucky to have a bit of an extra cushion. It has given me a (small) bit of breathing room to figure things out – but I am sending love and solidarity to my colleagues who, like me, are seeing a cancellation of the work that sustains them through the four otherwise lean months while we wait to find out if enrollment will allow our rehiring in the fall. The added uncertainty of what will happen next school year means that ultimately the thing I have had to let go of is any small bit of certainty I have found in my career as an artist. Of all the things I will want to pick up on once circumstances allow, one stands out. Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an Ontario Arts Council grant for a collaborative community arts project in the amazing township of Hornepayne, in Northern I have a whole bunch of incredible community partners up north and down here, and some of them are brilliantly and bravely reframing their work and pushing forward. It looks like students from southern and northern Ontario will come together for an online presentation as part of some kind of collective “Music Monday” celebration – even if we have to pick a Monday in June instead of the early May official day we had been working towards. Ontario. Our last community visit has been indefinitely suspended, and the summer arts employment strategy that we were working on is in suspended animation while we wait to see how granting bodies will respond, or whether we’ll be given the opportunity to re-imagine our project to respond to whatever restrictions are likely to be in place through the summer. But! I have a whole bunch of incredible community partners up north and down here, and some of them are brilliantly and bravely reframing their work and pushing forward. It looks like students from southern and northern Ontario will come together for an online presentation as part of some kind of collective “Music Monday” celebration – even if we have to pick a Monday in June instead of the early May official day we had been working towards. It’s nice to know that the collective will is to still celebrate what we’ve done. We’ve set our new goal as “The First Monday that we can all be together in the same place!” Meanwhile, it’s a bit like like safely navigating a long curve on a motorcycle – you have to look at where you want to end up. As an artist and musician, I’m giving myself time to incubate ideas, to create music for myself now that the college semester is over, and like anybody else, giving myself permission to feel whatever comes up during this strange time. Maybe by the time this is all over, I’ll have created something new that I feel like sharing. In my work as an educator and arts facilitator, I am trying to make frameworks for things, rather than concrete plans, so that I can stay as adaptable as I can to a situation that seems to be changing every minute. For people reading this who want to stay in touch with what I am doing and planning, I took myself off social media a while back, and my website is about as interesting as I am in maintaining it (which is to say, not so much right now). However, at the moment, I am the human engine behind the social media for the Hornepayne Community Arts Project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or at hornepaynecommunityarts@gmail.com so you can, as often as not, find me there. As for where to pin myself on the map, this is hard. Mostly, I’m in COVID land! One pin belongs in Hamilton Ontario – I am providing the postal code for Mohawk College rather than my home address. But another pin definitely belongs in Hornepayne, Ontario. (And there’s another heart-shaped pin that belongs at M5T 2N4 in Toronto. But that’s another story! MATTHEW WHITFIELD I am organist and director of music at St. Thomas’s Anglican Rather than performing live Church, Huron Street (and each week, I have instead in less disrupted times The been recording organ WholeNote’s usual Early repertoire and posting it on Music columnist). When COVID-19 hit, I had the St. Thomas website a number of choral and solo (www.stthomas.on.ca/) on concerts planned, as well as a weekly basis. the responsibilities associated with Holy Week and Easter. St. Thomas’s has one of the most renowned church music programs in the country, and to miss this highlight of the year is a profound loss for all who participate in, and listen to, our choral programs. While some of the concerts will not be rescheduled, I look forward to performing Louis Vierne’s Symphonie No. 2 as part of the RCCO Vierne birthday celebration, now in the fall (transferred from April), as well as a solo recital in Ottawa next season (transferred from May). With all church and choral gatherings put on hold, I have had to adapt accordingly. Rather than performing live each week, I have instead been recording organ repertoire and posting it on the St. Thomas website (www.stthomas.on.ca/) on a weekly basis. To date, I’ve worked through Brahms’s complete chorale preludes, and will be recording Bach’s Neumeister Chorale Preludes over the next few weeks. This preparation of material also helps me maintain thewholenote.com May and June 2020 | 17

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)