8 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 3 - November 2001

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Quartet
  • Wholenote
  • Glenn


•:• NEW MUSIC •:• HEAR & NOW New Music by Paul Steenhuisen I began this in early October, - sitting in a room ... in Yokohama, Japan, while attending rehearsals for-the performance · o~ my piece BREAD (for 13 instruments a_nd soundfiles) by the Tokyo Ensemble COmeT at the International Society for Contemporary Music's World Music Days. World Music Days (a festival which takes place in a different country each year) and the imminent arrival of NUMUFEST (the most recent incarnation of the Massey Hall New Music Festival) sparked the following thoughts: WHAT I 00 LIKE ABOUT FFSI1V ALS I app~eciate their concentration and density of activity, and the clear focus on new music, art, or film. They are rich with possibility and the potential to generate an inspiring cumulative energy. They convene and highlight a collection of active artists whose work can then be followed and sought in other venues. They reveal perspectives, they reveal new artists, and new pieces in a compressed time fr.ame, benefiting compari~on and initial analysis. For these reasons I always look forward to festivals, so I can seek out the action. OTHER ISSUES But there are issues to consider. From my position of self-appointed armchair artistic director, I raise the following questions (and am open to response!): What is the place of a festival in a town with a sophisticated listening audience and an already rich ongoing concert season? ls this context different from that ·of a festival in a city where it is the significant annual magnet (such as the Winnipeg festival)? Given the TSO's leadership in the festival and their current turmoil, how will this crisis (both as a 'danger and an opportunity) affect the festival, short-term and longterm1 And what, if anything, makes the NUMUFEST different from any other week in Toronto? OTHER ACTIVITY In the days immediately surrounding the festival there are: a Music Gallery concert on the 15th featuring soprano Janice Jackson's performance of Jean-Claude Risset 's vocal music; on the 17th, Critical Band performing Harry Partch, John Sherlock, and John Gzowski; the day after the festival, November 25, Amsterdam-based Misha Mengelberg in town with his "Instant Composers' Pool"; that same night, .at Trinity College Chapel, the vocal music of Galbraith, Togni, Raminsh, Daley, and Schafer, among others; on the 27th, soprano Stacie Robinson & friends at the Music Gallery to play the music of Fisher, Freedman, Steenhuisen, Berg & Poulenc; that' same night, the Jane Mallett Theatre hosting Toronto String Quartet performances of Webern and Sokolovic, alongside Kreisler and Mozart. Even on Festival days (Nov 18-24) the new music world doesn't stand still: for example, on the 21st, Ensemble Noir performs Takemitsu, Bouchard, Dun, Louie, and Tamusuza, while the Music Gallery presents David Toop & Sarah Peebles - Electroacoustics & spoken word. And throughout the rest of the month, there is a typical flurry of new music activity, as can be seen from the New Music Quick Picks at the foot of this page. I'm eagerly anticipating ERGO's November 7 concert "Mechanisms", at the Glenn Gould Studio, featuring six new works, from Chris Paul Harman, Michael Oesterle,_ Barbara Croan, Carl - Christian Bettendorf, Rudi Spring, and Andre Ristic. WHAT I'D LIKE EVEN MORE Based on the ongoing frequency and diversity of concerts in Toronto, I've always felt that we have the opportunity for a festival that is more than a collection of eclectic concerts from different groups presented under the umbrella of a large organization. To that end (and to stir the pot a little!), I offer the following observations on some of the other festivals where I've been a guest composer, with their varying degrees of curation, jury selection, eclecticism, focus, etc. The BONK Festival, Tampa, Florida, is a collective that seeks 14 wholenote , NOVEMBER 1, 2001 - DECEMBER 7, 2001 musical outsiders, renegades, and quirks from around the world, functioning on a budget of nil, promising only interesting concerts and long after-parties. Their clearly articulated goal is to present and support a core group of composers,. with a satellite group of similar-intending others, often performing 3 or 4 works by each composer throughout the week. Their friends-doing-friends approach looks good on them, as do their dedication and economy, which have gained them a faithful following. Some of BONK's composer-base overlaps with that of the much larger, Austrian Radio funded MUSIKPROTOKOLL, which successfully joins well-attended concerts (by ensembles such as Khmgforum Wien, and the Austrian Radio Philharmonic) with late-night, alternative-venue events by new music dj's and electronic music performers. MUSIKPROTOKOLL is also linked to a visual arts festival and the two arts take over the town of Graz for one week each fall . Amsterdam's· annual Gamleamus Music Week centres on an international competition for young composers. Approximately 20 works written for 4 different , types of instrumentations are selected by. an esteemed jury, after which composers and others meet for a week to hear their music sprinkled throughout a series of concerts including various other Dutch and international pieces. Concerts are formed around the pieces competing for a single award (cash and a commission). The presence of all of the composers, and the fact that being selected .at Gaudeamus is a virtual guarantee of quality, creates a tangible buzz throughout this great music city each September. - Similarly, in Winnipeg, the new music competition provides a focal point to the festival, along with the featured guest composers. attracts students, professionals, audience, and musicologists. Within the relentless chaos of the scheduled events, ensembles emerge within the ranks of festival guests, and impromptu concerts emerge on a day's noti~e. Varying (and valid) views on the aesthetic bent at Darmstadt _aside; one of its beauties is that ~nything ,can happen there. It is a great opportunity for discussion, camaraderie, and creation Jn my never particularly humble opinion, with its knowledgeable audiences, plethora of media · outlets, and proximity to other major centres, Toronto is pe~fectly suited to a grand, -biennial, directed festival. A guest curator from here or elsewhere could · propose a theme and/or list of composers; artistic directors of the various ensembles involved could respond with their interpretations.­ their own responses to the artistic challenge. It could be a place to take risks, to bring together, and to invite musicologists and documentarians to provide insight.· A pipe dream? Given the increasing communication between music organizations in the area, I think not. In the meantime, I'll be out at this edition of the festival and other events, with open ears. •:• NEw Music •:• QUICK PICKS These New Music Quick Picks are a pointer to new rrusic i1 our COf1111'8hensive concert istings (conmincilg page 24). N= at least some modem or c0nt001J0rary repertoi'e i1 the isling; NN= some serious conle1!1JOrary repertoire; NNN= thoroughly cont~rary; ? l1l!lll1S not enough ilfonnation to be sure. OavidOkls THURSDAY NOVEMBER 01 NNN 12 noon: CBC • Rothko Trio. NNN 12: 10: U ofT Faculty of Music. Faaity WrxxJwnf flliltet. N 12:30: Christ Church. Rooakl Gn!iJarrJs N 8pn: Living Arts Centre. /ixJa 8oyrJ NNN 8pn: Music Gallery. Cat EnserWie. NN Bim Music Toronto. PetetY1J11 Ouwtet. FRIDAY NOVEMBER 02 N . 7:30: Music at Metropolitan. Malie- Darmstadt, while officially a l.aiseJacquet i.arfjlais, orgalist summer course for new music, is N 7:30:YorkUDept ofMusic./llJ.VllV.s'ant>. SATURDAY NOVEMBER 03 really a conference, with an NNN ll?n Music Gallery.JallP'JPet!i: attached festival for composers N B?nilofTFacultyofMusic. - and performers. Every two years, SUNDAYNOVEMBER04 it begins will\ scheduled concerts N 2im Elizabeth Macmillan. violin featuring prominent composers, & Mildred Bennett. piano. and throws in an impossible bunch NNN 2pn RCM Conmunity Schoo1Pa'l11m'I. of lectures and panel discussions-- ' NNN ~UofT Faculty.£~; an exciting random element that NN 3pn: Hart House. f#Jather SdmiJt, fB10. · CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

Since being awarded the Grand Prize at the CBC Young Composers Competition 11 years ago, Chris Paul 11,arman, now 31, has maintained a high profile in Canadian Music. ·This month marks two significant signposts in his compostional career: the release of the first CD dedicated to his music (on the CMC's Centrediscs label), and the Jules Leger Prize for Chamber Music for his piece AMERIKA (to be awarded at the work's performance at NuMuFest Nov 19). Since we first met in 1995, in the heyday of the Winnipeg New Music Festival, Chris Paul Harman and 1 have maintained contact, sharing ideas and sparring on many musical issues, both privately and publicly. The month's events made this an opportune time to interview him about his music and its complex array of inspirations. STEENHUISEN: To my ears, the past two years have been critical for the development of your music. What would you identify as primary areas of change? HARMAN: Most recently, the nature of the materials that I use is opening up and changing quite a bit. _For example, in Catacombs (for flute and orchestra), the source material is a large number .of orchestral and solo pieces for the flute. By using an evergrowing amount of source ' •:• NEW MUSIC •:• HEAR & NOW, COMPOSER TO 'C:oMPOS~R . gn i)J •X•A.191

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