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Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020

  • Text
  • Ensemble
  • Classical
  • Concerts
  • Singers
  • Choral
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • September
  • Choir
Choral Scene: Uncharted territory: three choirs finding paths forward; Music Theatre: Loose Tea on the boil with Alaina Viau’s Dead Reckoning; In with the New: what happens to soundart when climate change meets COVID-19; Call to action: diversity, accountability, and reform in post-secondary jazz studies; 9th Annual TIFF Tips: a filmfest like no other; Remembering: Leon Fleisher; DISCoveries: a NY state of mind; 25th anniversary stroll-through; and more. Online in flip through here, and on stands commencing Tues SEP 1.


TAFELMUSIK The Goldberg Variations in an original orchestral arrangement by music director Elisa Citterio was originally scheduled for a world premiere earlier this spring – a major highlight of their season – before the pandemic shut everything down. In their own homes, Tafelmusik musicians recorded the first and final variations (no. 1 and no. 30), which Citterio scored for strings, winds, and continuo, and presented it online internal protocols that will guide the orchestra through its stages of reopening. According to Kehoe, “Our mainstage series programs between February and May 2021 as originally announced in March remain largely unchanged, although we are looking into back-up concerts for filming/ recording should live concerts still not be prudent and given challenges of working with larger ensembles or non-local artists… Our goal is to be as flexible as possible. When we made the decision to reimagine the 20/21 season, we based our discussions on three key criteria: [that] whatever we did would protect the health and safety of our musicians, staff and patrons; [that] we would comply with government public health and safety regulations; [and that] we would respect our patrons and community by providing them with access to the beauty and joy of music, even when in-person concerts aren’t possible. We’ll adapt as we can to ensure our artists can work and our art endures.” Perusing Tafelmusik’s fall brochure, one may be forgiven for believing that circumstances have already returned to the way they were last season, for the programming is as characteristically vibrant and enticing as any other year. Mozart Together, scheduled to be streamed on October 1, will be the first time that the orchestra’s musicians perform on stage together since March and will undoubtedly be an emotional and stirring season debut. Shortly after, on October 22, Passions of the Soul explores the heights and depths of the early music canon through works by Bach, Locatelli, Lalande and Telemann, while A Tafelmusik Christmas, on December 10, promises choruses and chorales from seasonal favourites, including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah. TAFELMUSIK Carol Kehoe As for patrons … At this point in the column I usually insert a paragraph encouraging you, the reader and audience member, to consider attending some of the concerts contained in this issue of The WholeNote, and this month is no different. With so much incredible programming more readily accessible than ever before, you can enjoy world-class live music from the comfort of your home and every ticket, currently virtual but eventually in-person, makes a concrete and profound difference to the stability of arts organizations and those who work within them. Reviewing Tafelmusik’s schedule over the next three months, it appears that the orchestra is capable of handling the pandemic’s challenges quickly, effectively and efficiently – but such drastic adaptation is not without some difficulties. “While it may appear that Tafelmusik has escaped the current situation relatively unscathed, it is far from business as usual within our organization,” said Kehoe. “Layoffs, reduced work schedules and other sacrifices have been made by artists and staff alike so that we may remain stable for the next 12 months.” “Patrons who participate during this crucial season will be supporting the welfare of our artists and staff, ensure wider community access to the comfort of music in these deeply unsettling times, and help to ensure Tafelmusik’s survival into the future. We want to take a moment to recognize the support of our subscribers and donors, who are the foundation upon which we are building this new future. In a time of great challenge, they have chosen to put their faith in us, our team, our artists, and our music. We are deeply grateful for their support.” Matthew Whitfield is a Toronto-based harpsichordist and organist. 26 | September 2020

Live Electronics CEE and Exploded Ensemble in the studio, preparing for their collaborative concert at Carnegie Mellon University Feb 2020. Lessons Learned from the CEE’s COVID-Era Experiences DAVID JAEGER PAUL STILLWELL @LEXI_LOUW/TWITTER A significant event in the history of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE) took place during the last week of February, 2020: the nearly 50-year-old ensemble was engaged by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) School of Music for a four-day residency at their Pittsburgh campus. It was one of the most ambitious and impactful tours in the long history of the CEE, a liveelectronic music group that Jim Montgomery and I co-founded in 1971, together with David Grimes, who left in 1986, and the late Larry Lake (1943 – 2013) The current membership includes violinist, synthesist, composer Rose Bolton; pianist, synthesist, composer John Kameel Farah; synthesist and composer Paul Stillwell; synthesist and composer David Sutherland, as well as Jim and me. The significance of the residency, which felt at the time like it was opening up new audiences, soon revealed itself as having prepared the CEE members for a creative path through a pandemic. The residency was organized by CMU assistant professor of Musicology, Alexa Woloshyn, who is Canadian. She created a plan that had CEE members working closely with CMU students in masterclasses, lecture demonstrations, composition workshops, and of course, live performance. “Pittsburgh and CMU have vibrant electronic music communities,” said Woloshyn. “I thought it would be great to learn from the CEE’s almost 50 years of experience in electronic sound-making and collective improvisation. The week was energizing for the students. I witnessed new and Dr. Alexa Woloshyn renewed interest in improvisation, modular synthesis, electronic composition and collaboration.” Woloshyn partnered with several of her CMU colleagues, including composer Jesse Stiles, professor of Sound Media, who directs an innovative student performance group known as the Exploded Ensemble that also works in the live-electronic music medium. The two ensembles rehearsed together and it became clear from the outset that both groups operated with similar and compatible procedures and musical languages. Stiles and Woloshyn had the idea to invite the extraordinary violinist and composer Pauline Kim Harris to join in the sessions. Stiles wrote, “CEE visited Exploded Ensemble rehearsals several times to share their methodologies for electronic sound-making as well as their approach to improvised performance. They would set up their various mountains of rigs beside those of Exploded Ensemble and very quickly a vast neural network of audio and control cables sprawled across our rehearsal space. With roughly 20 musicians blasting out electronic sound it would be easy for matters to devolve into sonic chaos – but the Canadians were able to guide the students that comprise Exploded Ensemble through a thoughtful approach to performance that balanced listening and responding. This yielded Shape the future of Soundstreams as an NEW DIRECTIONS IN MUSIC INSI NEW DIRECTIONS MUSIC DER YOUR FREE INSIDER MEMBERSHIP INCLUDES: INSI DER • Access to tickets for any future in-person shows before the general public • Invites to staff-led digital town halls • Sneak Peeks into future shows from Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney Sign up for free today at September 2020 | 27

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