7 years ago

Volume 6 Issue 3 - November 2000

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Choir
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  • Bloor


BEHIND THE SCENES, CONTINUED Ensemble they did more rehearsals, we toured it, we did four performances, ending up the Concertgebouw. Here, I just started as acting artistic director of Arraymusic, and getting people together for a rehearsal ... wow! The Ives Ensemble did not get paid specifically for rehearsal, they get one flat fee and they rehearse as much as they need. They did four rehearsals for my work, one is usual here. It forces a different kind of commitment from people, here they just have to run from gig to gig. Me: How does a composer make a living? Allison: Well, I don't expect to make a living "as a composer." Everybody who composes does it differently. How I do it - first, a lot of times I get asked to do something and I do it for free, although a commission is always nice. That's basically the boat everyone's in. Added to that there's acting director for Arraymusic and this year I'm teaching orchestration part-time at York. Two part-time jobs leaves me enough time to compose, unlike before. I used to be a record distribution rep, that was 60 hours a week for ,000/year. Me: You could learn a lot doing that. Allison nods: It tuned me in to the nature of the business, the amount of material released every day - it outweighs people's time to listen - it made me think about my place in the musical world. Me: Which is? Allison: Not classical. When my CD came out it's chamber music, a lot of people listened to it who never listen to classical music. The arts groups are being forced to run like businesses - and I think it's their fault for claiming they could. The idea of art as an economic activity - it's not about that. Me: Your first CD, that's "Raw Sangudo". What does it mean? Allison laughs: That's one of the pieces on the CD, and it's named after a town near Edmonton I've never been. I'd seen the name on maps and liked the way it sounded - San-GUUU-do - and I liked it even more with "raw", so there it was. I did this interview on the radio and afterward I got this phone call from these people and they said, "We're from Sangudo and all 2,500 of us want to know what the name of our town is doing on your CD." So I asked them what it 54 Wholenote NOVEMBER 1, 2000 - DECEMBER 7, 2000 meant, and they told me years ago the town decided they wanted their own post office, but Canada Post told them they had to have a different name than any other post office in Alberta, there was already an Orangeville or whatever, so they had to come up with a new name for the town in order to get the post office. So they had a town meeting and each of the principal families contributed a letter, the "S" is for Saines, the "A" is Ann, the "G" is Greaves - I forget the rest, I have a list of them all. I sent them copies of my CD, I don't know if anybody's listened to it, and they sent me these postcards. So I did get something back from my Alberta roots! Allison shoves two postcards across the desk. One shows an aerial view of a meandering river with a tiny town nestled in one loop. A railroad line crosses the postcard, connecting three grain elevators on the outskirts of town with the horizon. The other shows the town landmark, a sundial made in the shape of a grain elevator. Me: Organizing your time; keeping up your energy - what are the priorities? Allison: Time, yeah, but keeping your energy is the big thing. I come home and all I want to do is watch 1V. I have to relearn how to compose, every time. So you sit down and even if you don't feel like working, even if you throw it away the next day, you work. Me: Are you a successful composer? Allison thinks about it: Success, yeah. I go broke and I get ticked off, but ... (she shrugs) success for me is measured by the satisfaction of performing and PHOTO: DEN C!UL recording, that's why I keep doing it. I like my own music, I listen to my friends' music and to a lot of music, a lot of composers don't listen to music, they don't have time. I find that odd. I didn't get into this business to make a lot of money, but because I love it. Well, sometimes I hate it. People ask me, "Do you really want to do this? Are you still composing?" Yes! I'm going to be composing until I die. And here, just for kicks, is Allison's OFFICIAL biography as it appears on the ARRAYMUSJC website introducing her in her new job with them: ALLISON CAMERON, Acting Artistic Director, ARRA YMUSIC ENSEMBLE Originally from Vancouver, Allison Cameron studied in Victoria, The Hague, Amsterdam, Palcew, Utrecht, and Toronto with composers Michael Longton, Rudolf Komorous, Louis Andriessen, Gilius van Bergeijk, Henryk Gorecki, Per N°rg_rd, and James Tenney. Since 1989, she has been a freelance composer in Toronto where she co-founded the Drystone Orchestra (with composers John Abram, Martin Arnold, and Stephen Parkinson) and created the Arcana Ensemble ? two new music ensembles devoted to the performance and creation of experimental music. She has been a guest artist at many international festivals including New York City's Bang-on-a-Can festivals in 1991/92 and 1994, where her piece "November" was premiered at Lincoln Center. Her music has also been performed by Eve Egoyan, John Tilbury, Ronda Rindone, Veni Ensemble, Maarten Altena Ensemble, ARRA YMUSIC, Sabat/ Clarke Duo, The Burdocks, The Ives Ensemble, and MusikFabrik, among others. Recordings of her pieces have been released on CRI and Experimental lntermedia in New York City; Donemus, Amsterdam; Slovak Radio, Bratislava; and Musicworks Magazine in Toronto. She is currently working on a solo CD project for Spool Records, Ontario. In between, she has been a concert curator, freelance writer, radio producer, and gardener.

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