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Volume 28 Issue 3 | December 2022 - January 2023

  • Text
  • Thewholenotecom
  • Faculty
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Jazz
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • January
  • December
  • Toronto
Creative Collisions offer land-use hope for community and arts space; "Take Dec 10 for Example" -- Orchestral Explosion; Landmark novel finds music theatre form; Behind the scenes at Salute to Vienna; Collaborative serendipity on the joint-concert front; Amnesia and the alternative: QSYO's take on "Comfort and Joy". A bumber crop of record reviews (and not a Holiday compilation among them)! All this and more...

and it was at this point

and it was at this point he became part of the ensemble. “It felt like getting called up to the big leagues to play with all my teachers,” he told me during our conversation. In 2020, the original members of ECCG began thinking about the future of the ensemble and the passing of the torch to a younger generation of players. Hull was approached as one person to be part of this transition team, a process that would take place over five years; one of the team’s tasks in this new role was to come up with their own project ideas. The idea of collaborating with another ensemble came while Hull was driving home after a rewarding ECCG joint concert in Montreal with Sixtrum Percussion. “I was thinking how the best music is based on good interpersonal relationships,” Hull said. It was a proverbial lightbulb moment: Hull thought of Riley and the Spindle Ensemble. Hull was already a fan of their music; the fact that their album Inkling had made The Guardian’s list of ten best contemporary albums of 2021 made the idea even more enticing. The invitation was extended and grants were sought and received to make it all happen. Once Spindle arrived in Toronto, the two ensembles spent a week together, rehearsing essentially all new repertoire. Some pieces were already fully written, while others required collaborative workshopping. During their time together, they also recorded the repertoire for potential release in the future. The concert began by featuring each of the two ensembles performing their own repertoire. The ECCG performed their arrangement of Samagaha by composer and suling master Burhan Sukarma, the group’s artist in residence in 1993. Samagaha features extensive solos for suling (played by Andrew Timar), and the kecapi (Sundanese zither) played by Bill Parsons. The Spindle Ensemble performed two of their pieces, from the Inkling album, that were created by the ensemble, which, in addition to Riley on marimba and vibraphone, features Daniel Inzani (piano), Caelia Lunniss (violin), and Jo Silverston (cello). The rest of the evening combined compositions by Andrew Timar, Daniel Inzani, Daniel Morphy (ECCG) and Harriet Riley. From Riley’s perspective, the collaboration was “a fantastic opportunity, as both Spindle Ensemble and Evergreen are groups which take influence from a wide range of musical traditions and involve them in a contemporary classical context. Evergreen also has the improvisational capacity we have, as well as having an unusual combination of instruments.” One of the overall impressions I had of these various compositions was how each composer played with the different sonorities of the two groups as well as the different tuning systems. One example of this occurred when similar material would be played by one group, followed by a repetition of the material in the other group. Overall, the music was lively, energetic and vibrant, bringing a youthful pulsation and spirited tone to the evening. QUICK PICKS 21C Festival: In the November issue, I wrote about the Kronos Quartet returning to Toronto from December 6 to 9 to present a series of performances originally scheduled for January of 2022. In fact, this concert is an early kickoff to the tenth anniversary edition of the 21C festival that runs primarily in January, Jean-Michel Blais from January 20 to 29, commencing with a concert by Montreal’s post-classical pianist and composer Jean-Michel Blais. As in the past, the festival features numerous premiere performances – at least 18 – including world premieres by James O’Callaghan, Ian Cusson, Stewart Goodyear, Alice Ho and Andrew McAnsh. WILLIAM ARCAND In the spirit of Kronos’ Fifty for the Future project – a series of 50 commissioned works designed to introduce young string players to various contemporary music – which I have written about before, American classical cellist Alisa Weilerstein will give the world premiere of the first two instalments from her Fragments project. The overall vision is to weave the 36 movements of Bach’s solo cello suites with 27 new commissions to make six programs, each an hour long, for solo cello. The idea to do the project came to her during the COVID-19 lockdown when she was considering how we connect and reconnect with each other. The composers she has chosen to commission range in age from 26 to 83 and represent a range of diversity of gender, race, geography and compositional approach. Contemporary Orchestral Works: The coming winter’s orchestral programming includes a number of contemporary compositions in programs mixed with classical repertoire. I’ve made a list here for easy access: JAN 20, 7:30PM: Toronto Symphony Orchestra: A world premiere by Gary Kulesha titled Fourth Symphony. JAN 20, 8PM: Sinfonia Toronto: Marjan Mozetich’s Concerto for Bassoon & Strings with Marimba JAN 21, 8PM: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony: A composition by UK composer Thomas Adès (UK) titled Three Studies from Couperin. JAN 22, 2:30PM: Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Two contemporary works on the program: Pizzicato by Vivan Fung and Viola Concerto by Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks. FEB 11, 8PM: National Arts Centre Orchestra presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra: A song cycle composed by Jake Heggie based on original poetry by Margaret Atwood, this NACO collaboration with Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins presents the emotionally intense work, Songs for Murdered Sisters. The program will also include a new concerto grosso by Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Assiginaak. My wife Zoe took this photo when Jake Heggie (L) & I got together at Skywalker Sound (Marin County, CA) to record his powerful cycle - Songs for Murdered Sisters - in the thick of the fall 2020 pandemic shutdowns. My sister, Nathalie Warmerdam, is pictured with her two children on the big screen. I wanted the image of her smile looking down on me as I recorded such a personal tribute to her. — Joshua Hopkins Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electro-vocal sound artist. sounddreaming!@gmail.com. ZOE TARSHIS 28 | December 2022 - January 2023 thewholenote.com

MAINLY CLUBS, MOSTLY JAZZ A Toast to Amnesia as the Music Goes Live (Again)! Queer Songbook Orchestra COLIN STORY ROTA DELSOL In case you’ve forgotten, at the beginning of December of last year, as a tumultuous 2021 came to a close, the season was looking tentatively merry and bright: indoor gatherings were once again possible, venues seemed to have definitively reopened, and life was returning to, dare we say it, some semblance of normalcy. And then, of course, we were back in lockdown, first in the ten-people-or-fewer, please-don’t-sneeze-on-Santa version of mid-to-late December, and then, come January, in the full dress-shirt-and-sweatpants version. A year later, and it seems that music as an industry is ready for the season. Holiday shows are proliferating at a rapid rate; Christmas music can be heard on the radio and on streaming-service playlists, from jazz musicians to pop acts to charmingly reedy youth choirs; the sound of sleigh bells lurks menacingly around every corner. Just as important, collective and communal live music-making are steadily on the rise again, offering a kind of comfort and joy too long absent. Queer Songbook Orchestra: On December 20 at The Opera House, the Queer Songbook Orchestra is hosting its seventh Annual “Roasted Chestnuts” holiday show, which serves two important purposes. The first: to present a vision of the holidays focused on “chosen family,” “queer joy,” and “intergenerational connection,” in keeping with the QSO’s mission to “increase awareness and understanding through the scope of 2SLGBTQ+ experience, thereby fostering dialogue and nurturing deeper community.” The second: to raise funds for the Queer Songbook Youth Orchestra, the QSO’s recently formed youthcentred pop orchestra initiative. Still a relatively new venture, the QSYO had its debut performance at Yonge and Dundas Square in June 2022, as part of the Luminato Festival, featuring special guests Elizabeth and Beverly Glenn- Copeland. An ensemble of approximately 50 members, the QSYO is made up of 2SLGBTQ+, questioning and allied youth, aged 14-21, from across the GTA. The QSYO aims to give its members the opportunity to “further their musical training while actively engaging in 2SLGBTQ+ community building,” through mentorship, performance opportunities, and a collaborative approach to repertoire selection. Generally, repertoire consists of pop songs, old and new, with a 2SLGBTQ+ connection, from artists as stylistically diverse as Tracy Chapman, Billy Strayhorn and Frank Ocean, arranged specifically for the ensemble. Anyone who has participated in typical audition-only youth ensembles – in high school, in student music festivals, or even in undergraduate music programs – will likely have had experience with the kinds of competitive, hierarchical proficiency-measuring contests that can lead, sooner or later, to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. The QSYO’s approach, however – an approach based on self-love, connection and community-building – serves an important pedagogical purpose, as it allows young musicians of all backgrounds to experience a training program based in joy, rather than in competition with one another. MAINLY CLUBS, MOSTLY JAZZ continues on page 41 thewholenote.com December 2022 - January 2023 | 29

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