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Volume 8 Issue 8 - May 2003

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MAY2003

MAY2003 by Paul Steenhuisen I tend to meet up with other composers at their busiest, on the cusp of" large project~ and at the delicate point where their work makes the leap from imagination to realizption. These moments are special., and rich with potential. Such is currently the case with composer Peter Hatch. By press date, he will have jUst completed a portrait concert with Montreal, 's Ensemble Kore, and will be preparing for the May release oj"Gathered Evidence, his new CD on the AJtifact label. As well, he is

the second or third repetition that some·people even krew it was being repeated, that they figured it out ... It is intereSting what that says about our atteIKlance to things and assumptions we make. STEENHUISEN: Jung wrote that nightmares repeat unJil one recognizes their reason. HATCH: There's also a cubist in­ ,fluerx:e. ·I love the idea of multiple perceptions of the same object. People have said that about my music - it's like you hold 1his thirig up and slowly tum it. It was actually the English composer Christopher Fox who Said, "It's like the twisting and turning of gathered evidence." The only time maybe I consciously tried to do that was years ago in a piece -ca11ed Blunt Music. There were these unitS -six or seven of tµem - that simply get repeated over and over again, but each one is just in a slight variation. And sometimes, it goes back to the original one. So you get the idea of basic cells, but exactly what that cell is, is hard to define bec3use it's a combination of all the variations. All ofthem together produce what that thing is. lalsodon't think it's any coincidence that cubism arose at the saine time as psychology was more or less being invented. Freud was absolutely at the forefront, with the idea oflooking at more subconscious perceptions as being valid or very real. Picas.so wasn't m:essarily out studying Freud, but it was definitely in the air. . STEENHUISEN: You once quoted from Stein '.S' Lectures in America saying, "The business of art is to live in the actual. present, and to completely express that actual. present. " How would you define the concept of actual. present? HATCH: That's veiyhard. Whenl discovered Stein years ago, it came at the same time I had an incredible epiphany, something that is still working its way through me. One of the things I~ discovering was Joyce's coocept of the epiphany, but also tied into it was an interest in eastemphi• losophy and the idea of the present inoment and the eternal now. I had just studied the first part of Heidegger's Being and Tune, and the concept of Dasein (being there). I can almost picture the camping trip where they all came together at one point and hit me like a thwxlerbolt, in the way that Hollywood likes to depict the way these things hit us. Suddenly everything clicked and made sense. They all went together. The actual · present to me is reflected in all of those kinds of things - a detinite sense of the immediate and the present moment. Of course, Stein was after, · more than anything, what she called the continuous now. That's something that I, both in my music and my life, am trying to pursue, that sense of always being in the moment, being there. STEENHUISEN: lWU1I is the present tense of contemporary music today? HATCH: We're in a very interesting time, where things are shooting off in all directions at once. I think there's a sense of openness right now. Multi-directionality and pluralism, is really fascinating. I get the feeling that we're kind of between things right now, and I think it's a wonderful thing. There's nothing really settled about what's going onthere are things that are settled, but I'm not sure that they are the most interesting things going on. I align myself with the classical music tradition, as many of us do, and thinkthe whole position of the composer within the classical music tradition is really at a turning point right now- for the better. Right now living composers are more or less invisible to the general public and the classical music world. There is an increasing visibility going on, which is pretty interesting, because at the same time what's going on is affected by many influeoces outside that tradition. STEENHUISEN: Is that a spedfi- . cally Canadian situation issue, or North:American? HATCH: Obviously, all of this stuff is at some level, international, but there are differences. We feel the American influeoces obviously very strongly, but at the same time, there is more of a tie to European traditions, especially in Quebec, but also across the rest of Canada. I think it really does make a difference that our general approach is multi-cultural as opposed to melting pot.' We're a particularly interesting place in 1his whole spectrum. STEENHuISEN: You've got your eartothegrowui. You'reawareof the street-level music making, as well as the conventionally considered classical music. How does this broad knowledge base affect you as artistic di.rector of a major Canadian new music festival? HATCH: Hopefully it's good. With the Open E:ars festival, the basic idea is that anyone with open ears, with an . openness, from any kind of background, cap appreciate what's going on. As long as you 're open, you can come and appreciate it. We can all say that, but I think Open Ears tries to actually push that idea to the forefront. We have pretty eclectic mixes of things, andaren'tpigeonholed. There's quite a bit of crossover, but always in the sense of considered listening. It's not about making a conn::ction to a bigger audience, it's about looking at a wide spectrum of what's going, and playing what's interesting to listen to. I think the connecting thing is that they are considered listening. There are people coming from the bacl

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