Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Music Edmonton: Now Hear This Festival


The Quatuor MolinariPro Coro Canada, Strathcona String Quartet, WindRose Trio, and the Violet Collective are some of the headlining Artists performing at the third annual festival of New Music Edmonton, Now Hear This. The prospect of New Music may be daunting for unfamiliar audience members; however, NME resolves to reverse such perceptions by programming a diverse array of New Music offerings that allows audience members to sample a full spectrum. The festival focuses on the works of R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer considered to have coined the term “soundscape.”

Juno award-winning, Quatuor Molinari, travels to Edmonton to perform Schafer’s quartets, which won them the 2014 Opus Prize for Concert of the Year.

Many professional Edmonton musicians are on the festival roster, such as the Strathcona String Quartet and Windrose Trio. This NME festival will also be the debut of the Violet Collective, named after the founder of NME, Violet Archer. Archer was a formative figure in Canadian music history as a composer, pedagogue, organist and pianist which led her receiving the Order of Canada in 1984. She had strong ties to our Edmonton music community since she held a Faculty position at the University of Alberta in the Department of Theory and Composition until her retirement.

In addition, Pro Coro Canada, performs the works of R. Murray Schafer. Schafer's Hear the Sounds Go Round had its Canadian premiere at the Soundstreams Choral Celebration concert back in February 2, 2014. Pro Coro Canada joined the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Elmer Iseler Singers in Toronto to celebrate over 60 years of professional choral singing in Canada. Pro Coro Canada brings Schafer's newest piece to NME to share the whimsical text and twisting melodies of Schafer. Pro Coro will also sing Missa Brevis selections by Mathew Emery, an undergraduate composition student at the University of British Columbia. Emery already has numerous compositional accolades and is a name that has the world of Canadian choral music buzzing.

Q&A with festival organizer, Roger Admiral:

The New Music Festival is now celebrating it's third anniversary, what do you feel is the current state of new music in Edmonton and what hopes do you have for the festival to increase new music awareness in our community?

There has been some level of new music activity in Edmonton since the 1970s, mostly organized by composers. Only in the last 10 years or so has it been consistently performer-driven. A festival allows one to be immersed for a prolonged period.

Audiences often are looking for musical accessibility and new music may have the reputation to be more abstract for mainstream audiences, what thoughts could you provide in order to encourage unfamiliar new music audience members? 

New music has a different approach to familiar concepts of melody, harmony and rhythm. Even though many new pieces do not follow a narrative kind of structure, one can still have a sense of drama (you never know what will happen next and you must give yourself entirely to being in the moment.) In addition to those underlying features there are surface attractions of new sounds and textural combinations of different instruments.

New music artists and composers all fall within a diverse range of styles and works. What does NME look for when they are designing and programming the festival?

We have a jury made up of diverse personalities, but all are looking for quality. Having some theme (i.e. Murray Schafer ) is also good for focus.

What inspired the festival to focus on works by R. Murray Schafer?

A concert proposal for Molinari Quartet to play four recent quartets by him.

New Music Edmonton invites professional level musicians to perform new music works, what motivated the NME to invite Pro Coro Canada, The Strathcona String Quartet and WindRose Trio this time for the festival?

We want New Music Edmonton to be a hub and a community member.

What performances are you personally looking forward to and why?

I am looking forward to the Violet Collective, because this will be their first performance, and I have good feeling about it.

What would be some of your future hopes for the Society of New Music or the New Music Festival in general?

More concerts, more listeners, working with more interesting composers. Unfortunately life is too short to hear everything, but let's try.

This post is cross-posted on The Sound + Noise

All tickets are available at Tix on the Square or at the door

Festival passes General Admission $50 / $40 students / $30 NME members available at Tix or at the door

More information:

Friday March 21, 2014
5:30pm – Contempo Ensemble concert at Convocation Hall, University of Alberta*
7:30pm – Molinari Quartet performs works by R. Murray Schafer
$20 General / $15 Students / $10 NME members
String Quartets Nos. 9-12
9:30pm – Semi/Conductor - a concert of electronic works
$15 General / $10 Students / $5 NME members
Would You Like Fries With That? – Brian Garbet
Untangle My Tongue – Robert McClure
Luna – Mike Lukaszuk
De la Fenêtre – Roxanne Turcotte
Post Concert: Opening Night Reception featuring John Huck (aka DJ Wijit)

Saturday March 22, 2014
1:00pm – Soundwalk*, exploring the soundscape of our city
2:00pm – WindRose Trio concert
$20 General / $15 Students / $10 NME members
Leviathan – Thom Golub
It’s a Crowd – George Andrix
Reeds – Emily Doolittle, with dancer Gerry Morita
3:30pm – Violet Collective debut, performing electro-acoustic works
$15 General / $10 Students / $5 NME members
The Sorrowful Mysteries – André Mestre
Strata – Colin Labadie
Jeu de Téléphone – Paul Steenhuisen
Ghost - Raimundo Gonzalez
4:45pm – The Canadian League of Composers round table discussion with Ian Crutchley, Heather Hindman, John Estacio, Gary James Joynes, and Michael Frishkopf*
7:00pm – Violet Collective, the unplugged concert
Rebirth - Bob Pritchard
À propos du concert de la semaine dernière - Samuel Andreyev
Year Without Summer (Daumernkino) - Jacob Gotlib
Twelve Ball-bearings - Kerrith Livengood
Follow Me – John Beckwith
Refraction – Keith Hamel
8:30pm – Pro Coro Canada, conducted by Michael Zaugg
Here the Sounds Go Round – R. Murray Schafer
Magic Songs – R. Murray Schafer
Missa Brevis (selections) – Mathew Emery
9:30pm – Astral Ghosts – a concert of electro-acoustic works
All three evening concerts for one price! $20 General / $15 Students / $10 NME members
Improvisation by Thom Golub (bass) and Kate Stashko (dance)
The Ghosts that Guard the Gateway – Gene Kosowan and Marion Garver Fredrickson
Weld – Tony Marasco
Astral Migration – Pigeon Breeders featuring visuals by Lindsay McIntyre
Meshes of the Afternoon – Greg Samek

Sunday March 23, 2014
11:00am – Deep Listening Workshop*
2:00pm – Strathcona String Quartet
String Quartet No. 2 - George Andrix
String Quartet No. 1 - Jan Jarvlepp
String Quartet No. 2 (Looking Back) – Alfred Kunz
Elusions – Colin Labadie
Mobius Train – Ken Read
Affinity – Matthew Tozer
Lake Manitoulin – Kent Williams
5:30pm – Violet Collective
Two afternoon concerts for one price! $20 General / $15 Students / $10 Students
Matemalista - Nico Arnáez
Epanoui – James Harely
LYS – Ron Hannah
Elea - Gordon Fitzell
*all concerts marked with an asterisk are free admission
All events are at Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84th ave.) unless otherwise noted

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very well written. I like the part about the approach of new music - yes, just give yourself entirely in, let it happen. georgette