7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 3 - November 2003

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Composer
  • Choir

SNAP SHOTS compiled and

SNAP SHOTS compiled and edited by David Perlman Two "snaps" this month, both of people with a personal take on the contemporary music scene. As usual the first three questions were "Say who you are, what you 're doing right rww, and something you 're i1Jvolved in in the ionger tenn. " And the follow-up questions were by e­ mail. I'm Teri Dunn, . an Ottawa native who came to Toronto at age 18 to go to University. I've been here ever since. Depending on which day you ask, I. would say f'm a soprano, or.a choral conductor. My formal training was all as a singer. I hold Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto where I had the good fortune of studying with the incredible Mary Morrison. I'm probably best known for my . performances of baroque and contemporary repertoire and I've worked with many local groups including the TSO, the Bach Consort, Aradia, New Music Concerts, and the-Mendelssohn Choir. The conducting is something that I've fallen into instinctively, but occupies an important and special part of my career. It's challenging in a whole other way and being with kids and helping them navigate their ways through their early musical training is tremendously rewarding. I'm on the Faculty at the Royal Conservatory as a Choral Conductor, spent several years on the staff of the Canadian Children's Opera Company, and am also on the Artistic Staff of the Toronto Children's Chorus. way that the humanity of the characters shines through. For me personally, this production has several connections. It's been an opportunity to work again with several people with whom 1 haven't worked in years: John Hess (he played for one of my graduate recitals · in University!), Bill Silva (I sang in his Summer Opera Lyric Theatre programme several years ago), and Virginia Reh (with whom I worked for several years at the Canadian Children's Qpera Chorus). And of course, there's the family connection - John Beckwith is my father-inlaw! The next thing on my plate is a chamber music concert with the Talisker Players. The programme is incredible! It's all music for voice and instruments based on the native people~ of various cultures. I'm working on pieces in Cree, Saami, lnuktituk, and from the Brazil. interi­ ' or. Mezzo soprano Marion Newman is also singing several works on the programme. It's a very challenging programme, but I love sinking my teeth into difficult repertoire. Getting . some gilldance on some of the texts has proved to be even trickier. After Right at the moment I'm working on searching the continent really, Mary Opera in Concert's production of McGeer (manager & co-director of Night Blooming 'Cereus, by John the Talisker Players) was able to Beckwith - libretto by James Re- find a Saami speaker. I spent a aney. (Also on !he programme is whole very interesting morning on The Fool by Harry Somers.) I'm the phone with her! Besides reading singing the role of Alice in Cereus. through the text with me, she gave · It's a one act opera set in a small me a history of the Saami people and Ontario town, on the night the cereus their challenges in today's Finnish flower will bloom. (The opera states society, giving me a great sense of that it happens "once in a hundred the context of the piece. The parallels years" - in reality, I understand ~t with the stories of Native people in it blooms one night each year ....) North America are striking. It's a Mrs. Brown who owns the plant is daring program.for the Talisker an old lonely woman whose daughter Players. I'm very impressed that had run away several years back, they're undertaking it. never to be heard from again. Alice . FOLLOW-UP: I'm intrigued by is revealed to be the granddaughter of perfonners - Barbara Hannigan Mrs. Brown. Musically I love the (another Mary Morrison protege?) 8 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM comes to mind from an earlier interview, and I run across others all the time -- who particularly enjoy flipping between baroque and contemporary repertoire. VWiat 's the link for you? That's a tough question! A few things come to mind. Perhaps it's because both genres seem to feature so much chamber music. I love the intricacies of fitting into an ensemble, reading a full score and 'playing' with the other lines. I also would say · that in much Baroque music, particularly Bach, and in many coritemporary scores the vocal part is very 'instrumental' in nature- that's not to say the text isn't fascinating or seminal, but the vocal lines feature unusual intervals more than in, say, Schubert or Bellini. There's also something appealing about working on music that isn't very well known This certainly happens more in contemporary repertoire, but-even in baroque music there seem to be countless ·'unknown gems' being performed. · iwiat, for you, makes silch widely different material equally musical.? Gayle Young. I'm editor of Musicworks Magazine, composer and writer. Now: I believe it is important to write about unfamiliar music, so that a listener can more easily grasp the inte'ntions of composers, sound artists and others involved in sound exploration. The subtitle of Musicworks, explorations in sound, indi- · cates that it includes discussion of the cultural roles of sound in a broad sense, not only in concert music but also in film, theatre, dance and visual arts. Near future: Our winter 04 issue, which we are currently preparing, features articles on Victoria composer Rudolf Komorous and Montreal sound designer Nancy Tobin. These two articles can be seen as a snapshot of the magazine, juxtaposing a well-known composer and a young sound designer, Vancouver and Montreal, concert music and sound in theatre. Long tenn: This year we are even more busy than usual because we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. Earlier in the year we created a sound art installation presenting twenty-five artists, each with a CD player, headphones and poster - one for each of our first twenty-five What makes any material musical? Music is about speaking to the soul, about sparking ideas, about inspiring emotions through sound, and with vocal musiC through sound and text. There are so many different ways to accomplish any of these goals; the language of music is so broad, and each composer uses it differently. As a conductor/teacher, especially of children, do you think there's a way to encourage this kind of broadminded musicality? Much can be said for leading. by example! I'try to teach & programme music that is effective in performance or has pedagogical value regardless of its style. I find again and again that children don't really have preconceived notions of what vocal music is supposed to be like, so they're very open minded.They enjoy using their voices in a variety of ways and they recogniz.e if an idea is effective. If I'm teaching a contemporary score, I approach it with the same goals: try to make the music communicate what I think the composer's intentions are, try to be musical no matter what the line looks like years. We're producing a set of twenty-five post card pieces by Canadian artists, and releasing a CD of some early Musicworks cassettes by John Oswald. And on Nov 28th we're having a benefit at the Gladstone House with an evening of-­ performances curated by John Oswald. The last project in our anniversary year is a book to be co-authored by me and Ellen Waterman: a listen-· er's guide to new music in Canada. When you produce a magazine and CD every four months you stay pretty closely involved in the present. Future plans, more than a year away? We are planning a travelling CONTINUES ON PAGE 11 NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2003

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