Showcasing Canadian New Music to the World
Musicians, delegates, audience and more share their thoughts about the Canadian New Music at IAMA Montreal 2013 project, held in early November, 2013. Visit online for full programme, biographies and more. Thank you to everyone who shared this experience with us!
Sometimes, the best things in life are unplanned! In late August 2013 CNMN was contacted by Barbara Scales, chair of the prestigious International Arts Managers Association (IAMA) conference, planned for November 2013 in Montreal. She said this was going to be an amazing opportunity to put Canadian music on the international stage, but that nobody had thought to include Canadian music in this international event. Did CNMN want to organise some showcases, to be presented to some of the most important arts managers in the world? We said YES.
So – in a period of 3 weeks we put together a partnership with Le Vivier and the CMC-QC, found funding for the project from the Canada Council (thanks!), organised a call for proposals, held a jury, and put together 4 events that presented 9 Canadian artists and over 20 composers. We had over 50 applications, and the decisions were difficult. But the final project at IAMA showcased an amazing scope of performers and composers from across Canada, and across a wide stylistic range.
The reaction by the IAMA delegates was very strong and very positive. They loved the idea of new music at the event (this does not happen in Europe, it seems), and were very impressed by the work of Canadian artists. This project has lead to many new contacts, projects and ideas for the development of the CNMN and Canadian New Music.
It was quite insane, organising a major production in less than 3 months, including fundraising, selection and production. But the opportunity was too important to miss. Kudos to the entire team, especially our administrative director (Emily Hall), for pulling this off.
President of the Canadian New Music Network
The CNMN / IAMA concerts were a great opportunity to present something beyond one’s local environment, and the event offered a snapshot of Canadian performers performing Canadian music.
Roger Admiral, pianist
This was a truly palpable celebration of the rich artistic diversity we have here in Canada. The concept might have risked feeling fragmented as each unique set took to the stage, but no. It was as if all these remarkable performers and composers had all grown up together in the same place rather than spanning a country that’s close to ten million square kilometres in size.
How? Perhaps it was the immense talent and depth of individual identity that was shared by everyone. In all that the artists were showing us, it was apparent at every turn that we aren’t, in fact, a frontier to be settled. Canadian artists have a fully-explored voice and an established new music community.
Taking it all in, I was proud to be a Canadian, proud to call these amazingly gifted artists Canadian, and proud to be part of a community so vibrant and diverse, worthy and ready for any world stage.
Canadian New Music Network
As an artist representative and former head of international marketing at Sony Classical, I am extremely pleased with the mandate of the Canadian New Music Network. The Canadian New Music Showcases at IAMA Montréal exemplified our artists’ extremely high performance level and further proved that our composers can become more widely known. While the new music world is often criticized for acting competitively, the performers collaborated in their usual fashion and proved that this is an open community which welcomes others. I look forward to our ongoing collaboration with the Canadian New Music Network as it helps to build opportunities for our performers and creators.
Real World Artist Management
Only Janice Jackson could make such a magnificent hall feel so intimate and special. Her showcase performance at the Maison Symphonique on November 8, 2013 was both chilling and electrifying, and her solo voice effortlessly filled the hall with sound and emotion.
Beginning with Marie Pelletier’s Han No.3, the audience was invited into a twisting world of vocal techniques and styles borrowed from different cultures. I found myself pleasantly lost in the textures of sound! Although neither piece had intelligible text or direct story, I was always interested and always had the sense that I was watching a real human event or experience far above a simple collection of sounds.
Her delivery of Alice Ping Yee Ho’s Angst, seated on the floor and carried out while ritualistically ripping apart a red-streaked newspaper, was equal parts performance art and music theatre, equal parts poised and bizarre. The hall was the perfect space for her powerful and versatile voice, and I was awestruck at the different effects that emerged as she turned her body to face other parts of the hall. At one point as she faced away from the audience, she muttered some percussive strings of consonants and I was sure I heard two voices as the echo ricocheted off the back wall. Janice stayed true to the essence of the piece until the very end– when she crawled offstage on her hands and knees!
Sarah Albu, audience member
No microphone amplification, just one woman, alone on the vast stage of the Maison Symphonique, I was fascinated by Janice Jackson’s fearlessness, the trust and the symbiosis she formed between herself and the hall at her solo showcase, Spotlight on Canadian Composers. From the softest murmur to the most intense outcry, the hall responded to every detail, transmitting her mesmerizing and transcendental vocals as if she was singing up close, to each and every one of us.
Emily Hall, audience member
Alasdair Money, cellist – Emily Carr String Quartet
ofNOW, orkestra futura performed .. on November 8, 2013 at the [showcase] at the Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Montreal. [It was] a wonderful opportunity to introduce Canadian new music to international programmers, producers and managers. There is a rich and varied new music scene in Canada and I am pleased that this Canadian music was introduced in an international conference of such high stature. [We were] proud to introduce portions of three new graphic scores: Onomatopoeia by Gary Wildeman, wise as serpents by Lisa Cay Miller and hhhmmm by Coat Cooke. I applaud the Canadian New Music Network in a well run, efficient showcase.
Lisa Cay Miller – Managing Artistic Director, ofNOW, orkestra futura
Taking-Off with Aplomb: Canadian New Music at IAMA-Montréal
“Aplomb” is the right descriptor for the opening Off-IAMA concert presented in the early evening of November 7, 2013– one of two Canadian New Music concerts presented at the “Red Roof Church,” a venue whose excellent acoustics serves New Chamber Music as well as it does Bach’s cantatas.
The concert included two ensembles – Fiolûtröniq from Montréal and the Emily Carr String Quartet from Victoria – plus the virtuoso flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor from Vanocuver, in a solo performance.
The members of Fiolûtröniq include the composer-performer Cléo Palacio-Quintin on flutes, Elin Söderström on viol de gamba, and Katelyn Clark on harpsichord. Parallel to the string quartet, this combination of instruments has been with us for several centuries, and is entirely appropriate to highlight what is new in New Music. When the last movement of a composition [by Stacey Brown] is entitled Stark Raving Lunatic Bitch, the listener has the right to expect sounds quite different from what one usually hears in chamber music. And that’s definitely the case, even if the piece finishes with a certain grace, rather than the frenetic madness implied by the term “stark raving.”
The four musicians from the Victoria Symphony Orchestra who make up the Emily Carr String Quartet devoted the core of their stage time to Ana Sokolovic’s Commedia dell’arte I, the commissioned test piece for the 2010 edition of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. Like all creations of this genre, composing this quartet is as much a challenge for the composer as for the musicians. Above and beyond the high technical demands imposed on the performers, there is also the composer’s goal of creating music that will last. After the smashing conclusion of Commedia dell’arte I, the applause was just as intense as one hears on the original 2010 performances. Both Sokolovic and the Emily Carr String Quartet deserve no less.
After the intensity of the first two parts of the concert, I had my doubts as to the audience’s capacity to devote the requisite attention to the third component of the program: compositions for solo flute. Those doubts disappeared the instant that flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor began the first work: Foundry by Paul Steenhuisen. We see a virtuoso whose movements during performances can almost be characterized as dance. This is not an artifice for the stage, but very evidently the way that McGregor lives his music.
-Full concert programme online.
-Watch a video sampling of Fiolûtröniq’s repertoire on Vimeo.
-Stacey Brown’s composition Five Stages of Insanity According to bzh April 10, 2008.
-Thanks to the generosity of the Banff Competition and CBC, we can hear the lasting qualities of Commedia dell’arte Ihere.
-Watch a video performance of Steenhuisen’s Foundry on McGregor’s web site.
Phil Ehrensaft, audience member