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notations Fa l l 2 0 1 5

Cinepoeme Symphonique An approach to composition and audience Amice Calverley The music that remains Generations/Conversations Features Elma Miller & W. Mark Sutherland As well as CMC project updates, composer news and more


in this issue

photo Opus Testing project with Jumblies and Musica Reflecta inside the CMC boardroom. credit Liam Coo

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Amice Calverley

Cinepoeme Symphonique

For an organization like the CMC that is interested in documenting and preserving Canadian composition, this was an impressive find!

32 Generations/ Conversations: Elma Miller “...I predicted composers would write graphic scores up to a certain point. You know when composers got their computer. After that, it’s all standard notation! It’s like a wall—1988.” 2 | musiccentre.ca

Mixed media creations can play a crucial role in attracting the attention of a larger audience

40 Ensemble Made in Canada ...the album seems effortless in its ability to draw in the listener, and yet reveals new layers of melodic detail, textural variety, and expressive depth upon repeated listening.


table of contents

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Letter from the Editors

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 message from the A Regional Council Chair

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Ontario Project Updates

19 New Associate Composers 23  The Music We Have Tucked Away: Amice Calverley, Composer 28 Cinepoeme Symphonique 38 Generations/Conversations: Elma Miller, W. Mark Sutherland 42 Album Reviews 44 Noteworthy

fall 2015, VOL. 22, NO. 3 The Canadian Music Centre, Ontario Region. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Canadian Music Centre.

Editorial Collective Matthew Fava, Jeremy Strachan, Alexa Woloshyn

Design Jennifer Chan

Contributors Giacomo Cataldo, Jason Doell, Matthew Fava, Victor Herbiet, Juliet Palmer, Egor Sanin, Jeremy Strachan, Ananda X Suddath, Alexa Woloshyn

CANADIAN MUSIC CENTRE --ONTARIO REGION 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto ON, M4Y 1J9 416.961.6601 x 207 ontario@musiccentre.ca www.musiccentre.ca

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Letter from the Editors

Letter from the Editors

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t is safe to say that audiences have a panoply of options when it comes to accessing music and other media. Within the contemporary music scene, a particular tradition of Western European concert presenting prevails along with all of the implications for the confined interactions of composer, performer, and audience. The economic model for concert music also results in a common and lamentable situation of having a major performance, but no documentation that we are permitted to share online afterwards. How might we adapt the creative process in composition to share and experience music differently online? In our main article, composer Giacomo Cataldo discusses his inspiration and approach to recontextualizing his compositions to appeal to a different audience, one that does not readily attend the concert hall. While disseminating music online has exponentially greater potential, Cataldo notes that the notion of Internet-as-equitable-playing-field heralded by early observers has been completely discredited. Regardless of the economic outlook, the Internet can be a viable platform that can inform the creative process, as much as it shapes the sharing of a creative product. Among recent CMC activity, the summer and fall months have featured the introduction of two new projects in the Ontario region: our library residency program and our composer mentorship network. You will learn more about these initiatives, as well several exciting projects

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that have taken place in our region, including the Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium and the launch of Norma Beecroft’s ebook, Conversations with Post-World War II Pioneers of Electronic Music. We also offer a sneak peak of a mentorship program for young women interested in electronics that is being developed by Associate Composer Rose Bolton. Our Noteworthy section highlights recent and upcoming activity from Ontario composers, and includes two extended contributions from Associate Composers Juliet Palmer and Victor Herbiet, regarding projects from this past year. This issue also includes profiles of new Associate Composers who joined the CMC and another instalment of our Generations/Conversations project, this time featuring composer-engraver Elma Miller and multi-media artist W. Mark Sutherland. Lastly, in our reviews section we hear about recent recording projects that feature the music of Allison Cameron and John Burge. We hope that you enjoy and share the current issue! You can offer feedback, or inquire about contributing to future issues, by contacting ontario@musiccentre.ca! Notations Editorial Collective

Matthew Fava Jeremy Strachan Alexa Woloshyn


A Message from Regional Council

Our Musical Legacy! O n November 9, 2015, the CMC was delighted to host a unique fundraising event to honour the legacy of Associate Composer Harry Freedman and the Freedman family. Harry, along with his wife Mary Morrison was part of a generation of artists that built a contemporary music scene in Canada. This generation established many of the institutions that support composers today. The fundraiser was our opportunity to recognize this history through an evening of music and stories. We also celebrated the ongoing legacy of the Freedman family by acknowledging the impact of the Harry Freedman Award for Recording. The Freedman family established the Harry Freedman Fund after Harry passed away in 2005. The Fund supports the bi-annual award for recording, which has supported commercial releases of electroacoustic and chamber music. As part of the fundraising event, we celebrated the first three winners of the award: Constantine Caravassilis (2010), Darren Copeland (2012), and Andrew Staniland (2014). In this way, the event captured two of the primary objectives of the CMC: the preservation and celebration of our musical history, and the support we provide to working artists today. As this is the final issue of Notations for 2015, we want to encourage our readers to support the CMC by making a donation. As a not-forprofit, charitable organization, sustaining and growing CMC programming and services depends on the generosity of our donors. You can find out more about our exciting programs in this magazine, and you can learn about our donor program and make a donation by visiting the Canadian Music Centre website.

We also want to encourage CMC Associate Composers from across the country to apply for the fourth round of the Harry Freedman Award for Recording, underway now! Details for the award are available on the CMC website. Our very best, Andrea Warren Chair, Ontario Regional Council ontariochair@musiccentre.ca & Matthew Fava Director - Ontario Region ontario@musiccentre.ca

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Ontario Project Updates Ontario Project Updates Ontario Project Updates Ontario Project Updates Ontario Project Updates

Nothing slowed down in the summer at CMC Ontario! Here are recent activities, along with early activities from the fall at CMC Ontario.


ontario project updates

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Opus: Testing, One Year and Counting

The first year of the Opus: Testing workshop wrapped up in June with NASA: Remixed, an electronic music workshop that invited artists to use material from the NASA audio archive to create new pieces. A variety of composers submitted pieces that were mixed by SlowPitchSound and accompanied by live improvised projections from Damian Lebiedzinski of the Analog Preservation Society. CMC Associate Composer Rose Bolton facilitated a discussion with the participating composers, while Astrophysicist Duy Cuong Nguyen

helped to contextualize the otherworldly source material. You can listen to SlowPitchSound’s set by clicking here, and you can listen the mix of submissions here!

miniature pieces and installations that were presented at the end of the day as a multi-room, immersive experience for visitors to the CMC.

The second year of the workshop got underway with another unique assignment for workshop participants. The CMC and Musica Reflecta collaborated with Jumblies Theatre and Artistic Director Ruth Howard to present Ignite, a full-day workshop that allowed composers to develop

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2 1 Some of the organizers and participants

from the NASA remix workshop posing with colour bars. 2 CMC Associate Composer Rose Bolton leading discussion with the audience and participants. Photo credit: Amy Gottung

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ontario project updates

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Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop

Kaajia Saariaho and Jean Baptiste Barriere were special guests of Soundstreams this past spring, taking part in the annual Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop as visiting mentors. Six early career composers took part in the weeklong workshop, developing chamber pieces featuring live electronics. The participants included Helga Arias, Núria Giménez-Comas, Oren Boneh, and Santa Bušs, along with

CMC Associate Composers James O’Callaghan and Tawnie Olsen. The CMC hosted workshops, rehearsals, and professional development activities in our performance space in Toronto. The participating composers collaborated with workshop facilitator Adam Scime, Carla Huhtanen (soprano), Leslie Newman (flute), and Stephen Sitarski (violin) to develop new pieces that were premiered at the 21C Festival at the Royal Conservatory.

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Readers can learn more about the workshop by clicking here! 1 ECW participants pose outside of the CMC. From L to R: Jean Baptiste Barriere, Kaajia Saariaho, James O’Callaghan, Leslie Newman, Ben Dietschi, Santa Bušs, Tawnie Olsen, Stephen Sitarski, Núria Giménez-Comas, Helga Arias, Oren Boneh, Carla Huhtanen, and Adam Scime. 2 Kaajia Saariaho discusses her music with the ECW participants. 3 Troubleshooting! 4 Barriere leads a rehearsal with Carla Huhtanen.

Photo Credit: Ben Dietschi & Matthew Fava

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ontario project updates

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Inter-Arts Dialogue with the CLC

The CMC was pleased to host the Canadian League of Composers in June for their annual meeting, which included an exciting discussion regarding the status of contemporary composition in relation to other artistic

disciplines. The panel discussion included CMC Associate Composer Linda C. Smith, visual artist Juliana Pivato, dancer Laurence Lemieux, filmmaker Andrew Cividino, and Miles Baker (managing director of

the Toronto Comic Arts Festival). The panel and audience explored the opportunities that exist for collaboration across disciplines, while increasing awareness among artists of new activities in various art forms.

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1 (L to R) Christien Ledroit, Juliana Pivato, Andrew Cividino, Laurence Lemieux, Linda C. Smith, and Miles Baker take part in the CLC panel. 2 Laurence Lemieux. 3 Linda C. Smith taking part in the CLC Inter-Arts panel at the CMC.

Photo Credit: Matthew Fava

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ontario project updates

Summer Education Initiatives During the summer months, the CMC collaborated on three programs that connected young musicians with contemporary music. 4

Music From Scratch Contact Contemporary Music, along with the Contact ensemble, spent a week at the CMC in July presenting their Music From Scratch workshop, which introduces young participants to alternative composition strategies such as graphic and instructional scores. Apart from creating new pieces, the participants were performers. Music From Scratch offers an open space for experimentation making for a rich sonic experience that encourages playful and improvisatory approaches to chamber music.

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1 Contact and the Music From Scratch participants playing through workshop material together.


ontario project updates

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1 Break-out groups work through a group-composed graphic score. 2 Guitarist Rob MacDonald 3 MFS participant Johan Seaton brought his synthesizer. Droney times were had! 4 MFS participant Danella Ahlberg leads the group through her piece.

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ontario project updates

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Creative Music Lab

In July, CMC Associate Composer Jason Doell launched the inaugural edition of the Creative Music Lab— a music creation workshop for high school age music students with an interest in composition. Jason assembled a variety of music from Canadian composers such as Germaine Liu, Nicolas Hyatt, Linda C. Smith, and Nick Storring for the participants to interpret. Composerpianist Anna HÜstman joined the workshop to present Moment Variations,

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a piece that involves audience members adding and subtracting musical fragments on individual cards scattered in the room. When they were not studying and performing a variety of Canadian pieces, the participants developed collaborative compositions that were presented on the final day of the lab. You can see more images from all of the activities online here!

1 1 Break-out groups develop their pieces.

Photo Credits: Jason Doell & Matthew Fava

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2 Anna HĂśstman performs while students rearrange fragments of her solo piano piece. 3 Talking about sounds, having recently made sounds

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ontario project updates

4 + 5 Groups assemble to share their compositions and disucss their experiences.

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ontario project updates

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The Park Songbook Volume 2

The annual song interpretation summer program took place at the Regent Park School of Music, introducing young musicians to contemporary vocal music. For the second year in a row, RPSM faculty collaborated with the CMC to involve composers in the program. CMC Associate Composers Omar Daniel, Aaron Gervais, Pouya Hamidi, and Emilie Cecilia LeBel were given texts written by RPSM students that would be set to music. Each composer wrote three new pieces for young musicians that were workshopped In a masterclass setting and premiered at the CMC in late July to a packed crowd, along with viewers online!

Faculty and students from the 2015 RPSM song interpretation program

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Intersection reaches critical mass

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CMC Ontario took part in Intersection, an annual festival of experimental musicmaking that took over Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto in early September. Contact Contemporary Music collaborated with Burn Down the Capital to bring a raucous approach to the programming, which featured a wide spectrum of music including TAKTUS performing arrangements of Ann Southam’s Glass Houses for two marimbas, and Christine Duncan conducting the Element Choir, all within the mix of audience (engaged and unsuspecting) at the square.

#1000strings

A centerpiece of the marathon in YongeDundas Square was the performance of CMC Associate Composer John Oswald’s Spectre. Mounted by Music in the Barns, Artistic Director Carol Gimbel decided that Intersection would be the ideal occasion to organize a mass performance of this unique piece that is normally performed by a live string quartet with a multitrack recording to simulate an ensemble with 1000 players.


ontario project updates

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1 Knurl performs on a less conventional string instrument. 2 Paul Dutton (left) performing alongside Christine Duncan (centre), as she conducts the Element Choir. 3 Rob Grieve (left) and Cory Latkovich open Intersection with a delightfully abrasive improvisation. 4 Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith of TAKTUS unleash minimalist waves upon the crowds at YDS. 5 String players assemble! Rehearsals begin for John Oswald’s Spectre as part of #1000strings. 6 Passers-by listen closely to the sounds of Christof Migone. 7 Colin Fisher and Brandon Valdivia of Not the Wind Not the Flag tear things apart at YDS.Credit: Matthew Fava

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ontario project updates

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Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium (TIES)

The Canadian Electroacoustic Community, New Adventures in Sound Art, and the CMC collaborated to present the annual multi-day symposium devoted to the wide world of electroacoustics. Through lectures and performances, delegates from around the world shared their research, exciting new software, and

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insights into analysis, pedagogy, and biofeedback. Throughout the Symposium, participants were invited to visit Mirlitones, a sound installation created by artist duo Bosch & Simons. The swinging PVC pipes create low buzzing tones whose nuances are best perceived in a supine position below them. Attendees of the Symposium’s

numerous concerts were treated variously to improvised and fixed works, acousmatic works and those accompanied by visuals, live acoustic instruments and electronic interfaces.

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1 Keynote speaker Nicolas Collins performs with fishing weights and random circuitry as part of the Sound Travels concert during TIES. 2 A panel on electroacoustics and pedagogy featuring (L to R) Alexa Woloshyn, Louise Harris, Nick Fells, and Kevin Austin. 3 Richard Windeyer (left) and Adam Tindale preparing to present on their adaptation of Udo Kasemets’ TT (Tribute), a cybernetic audience-controlled, audio-visual performance piece. 4 Wendalyn Bartley (left) introduced by Alexa Woloshyn at TIES during paper sessions at the CMC

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ontario project updates

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Norma Beecroft Launches her eBook

A project that has been decades in the making has finally been realized! CMC Associate Composer Norma Beecroft has launched her ebook, Conversations with Post-World War II Pioneers of Electronic Music. Through twenty-three transcribed interviews with towering figures of 20th-century music, the book offers a rare glimpse into the cultural and technological climate surrounding technologies such as magnetic tape, the computer, and the arrival of the electronic music studio itself. Beecroft conducted each interview over several years, and through various discussions she also offers the reader a sense of the place of Canadian composition within the wider world of electronics during the post-war era. Musician, journalist, and radio broadcaster Kristel Jax conducted an interview with Beecroft as part of the launch which was copresented with the Music Gallery. The event also featured a special performance by the Canadian Electronic Ensemble of a piece they called Incipit Norma – Variations on Beecroft’s “Piece for Bob.” The ebook is available for sale through the Canadian Music Centre where you can also access a series of podcasts featuring the interview audio that has been preserved as part of the project.

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1 Kristel Jax (left) interviewing Norma Beecroft at the launch of her ebook. 2 Bill Buxton (left) and Norma Beecroft. Buxton is one of twenty-three composers featured in Beecroft’s ebook. 3 L to R, David Jaeger, Jim Montgomery, and Paul Stillwell of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble pictured with Norma Beecroft at the Canadian Music Centre following the CEE performance. Photo credit: Matthew Fava

10 CMC Ontario Library Residency In September, CMC Ontario launched a library residency program. Over the coming year, three artists will be involved in celebrating unique pieces and composers in the CMC collection through a series of blog posts and rotating archival exhibits on display in the CMC building in Toronto. The library

residency artists are Christopher Mayo, Nick Storring, and Gloria Lipski. With roughly 25,000 pieces in the CMC archive, we often overlook the history surrounding an individual piece. The library residency program is a rare opportunity for artists to share their insights while exploring the social and

cultural context of a composition and the story that composition can tell us about music-making in this country. You can check out the early posts from our first resident artist by clicking here. For more information about the library residency program, click here!

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ontario project updates

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Regional Mentorship Network

This September, CMC Ontario launched a volunteer-based mentorship network connecting early and mid-career composers to support professional development, skill-sharing, and community building. Five pairs of composers are engaged in monthly

one-on-one meetings to discuss career goals and share experiences from their work in the field of composition. After a period of four months, the mentorship program will host a sharing session with project participants, and based on feedback we will be modifying the

program and welcoming additional participants for future rounds. Are you pursuing a career in music and composition? You can check out the mentorship program by clicking here!

Upcoming Projects Opus Testing: (De)Collage featuring the Hybridity Ensemble The next installment of Musica Reflecta’s Opus: Testing project features Hybridity, a newly formed ensemble of multi-instrumentalists wanting to combine their various performance practices into single pieces. Join the open workshop-concert at the Canadian Music Centre on Sunday, November 29, at 3pm. Visit musicareflecta.ca for more details.

Class Axe Guitar Workshop In collaboration with the Guitar Society of Toronto, the CMC will be hosting a concert of new music written for classical guitar. Seven composers are involved in Class Axe, a multi-part workshop that began in August exploring technique and notation for the instrument. Guitarists Rob MacDonald, Adam Batstone, and Graham Banfield will premier each piece at a special concert presentation at the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph Street, in Toronto on Thursday December 17. The event begins with a pre-concert chat at 7pm. Admission is free! Click here for more information!

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EQ: Women in Electronic Music Established by CMC Associate Composer Rose Bolton, EQ is focused on education and community building among women (trans/cis/non-binary) who create electronic music. Through mentoring, technical instruction, and sharing of music and ideas, EQ fosters mutual support and camaraderie among those who present or identify as women. Folks can participate in various ways! Bolton will provide private instruction to a group of three to four participants, and she will collaborate with the CMC to host an electronic music get together for the wider community. The online registration form allows you to share your thoughts about how the program can be structured to support a wider community of women in electronic music. Click here to learn more about the program, and to fill in the EQ registration form!


ontario project updates

Surplus picture zone

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1 Projections accompanying the Nasa Remix project courtesy of Damian Lebiedzinski 2 One of the Ignite groups developing their piece in the CMC performance space. We don’t always store mallets in the piano. 3 Sharing ideas! Another Ignite group tasked with creating a mini-performance in the CMC library. 4 Wherever Jumblies goes, art supplies will follow!

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new associate composers

Here is a quick profile of new Associate Composers joining the CMC in Ontario Region.


new associate composers

Richard Marsella

Click here to learn about Richard!

What got you excited about music at a young age?

Hearing Frank Zappa's “Billy the Mountain” and Korsakov's Scheherazade changed my life. Also, the continued support of Murray Schafer made me realize that I'm not alone, that there are other oddballs doing similar work in our very country! What was the most important music concert/event you attended?

I'm still trying to digest when I caught Shockheaded Peter in NYC.

What is on your personal playlist?

Woodshed Orchestra, both live and on recording (Brass Bandits and their new disc came out at the end of October). How is the field of composition changing, and how do you fit in?

Composers are fighting the same fight they've always had to fight, to both survive and remain relevant. It's not different now than when Tchaikovsky was suicidal—he bowed to his king, and we all bow to ours.

Daniel Mehdizadeh

Click here to learn about Daniel!

What got you excited about music at a young age?

As a young boy, music was the only force that truly moved me, and I always seemed to surrender myself to it. It allowed me to express words which no other language possessed. What was the most important music concert/event you attended?

I honestly can’t remember. There have been and continue to be quite a few concerts/moments where I come to a realization or inspiration of some sort. What is on your personal playlist?

My playlist constantly changes. From CMC Ontario would like to welcome all new Associate Composers from each region:

I'm not sure if I do fit in. Part of what defines me as a composer, and a human, is not fitting in.

orchestral works, to poetries of Hafez, to white noise. But I can certainly say I always carry with me the Art of Fugue (orchestrated). It’s truly a gem and every musician, every human nevertheless, should at some point in their lives discover the beauty of this masterwork.

have chosen to lean toward pop. I try to stay away from either side; I’m still not sure how I quite fit in, but that does not concern me.

How is the field of composition changing, and how do you fit in?

I’m not so sure as I tend to distance myself from trends and politics. But from what I notice there seems to be two main branches, those who tend to lean toward avant-garde and experimental nuances and those who

CMC B.C. Dubravko Pajalic CMC Ontario William Rowson

CMC Prairie Richard Gillis

CMC Quebec Marie-Pierre Brasset Jason Noble Mirko Sablich Harry Stafylakis ontario notations – fall 2015 | 21


new associate composers

Matthew Tozer What got you excited about music at a young age?

I don’t remember what exactly got me excited about music but for some reason when I was four I desperately wanted to learn how to play the piano. At first I didn’t even have a keyboard so we used a cardboard cutout for the first few months. I think playing the piano led to me eventually composing short pieces on the piano. What was the most important music concert/event you attended?

The most important concert I attended was seeing the TSO perform Mahler’s Second Symphony. I had never been to an orchestra concert before and it

Click here to learn about Matthew! really intrigued me. Although I’d heard classical music before, hearing it live and watching the musicians work together was amazing. What is on your personal playlist

My playlist is quite varied. The last five pieces that came up on my iTunes shuffle were: Sieben Worte by Sofia Gubaidulina, All the Trees are Hers by Hawksley Workman, Philosophy by Ben Folds Five, JFK’s LSD by Hot Hot Heat, and Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 2. How is the field of composition changing, and how do you fit in?

The field of composition is so varied now; there’s no exact prevailing style.

Hiroki Tsurumoto What got you excited about music at a young age?

I used to enjoy playing the recorder and melodica, but it was part of the music class in school. Everybody had to do it. I was just a regular child, and I was not particularly interested in music. The only thing I remember is that I always liked creating things by myself more than anything. What was the most important music concert/event you attended?

When I was studying music as an undergraduate student, there was a contemporary music concert called conTEMPO in school at the end of every semester. I remember I used to look forward to it. I always felt there

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With the global culture letting us access music all over the world there is almost always a market for your particular artistic creation.

Click here to learn about Hiroki! was a positive attitude in it and knew that students involved were enjoying it. That is how I started learning about new music and listening to more of it. What is on your personal playlist?

To be honest, I don’t often listen to music, although I seem to pay attention to sound in general all the time. I sometimes go to other composers’ websites to listen to their new pieces, which I enjoy the most. In the past few years, I also started enjoying more traditional classical music again. Some of my composer friends outside Canada organise workshops, concert series, and so on, and I like finding out about their programming and listening to the pieces they perform.

How is the field of composition changing, and how do you fit in?

I have never really thought about it. I am not sure if I am fitting into anything in any field, but I think I am happy where I am.


-- New Associates --

The Music We Have Tucked Away: Amice Calverley, Composer M a t t h ew F ava


new associate composers

In January, I found myself, along with two of my CMC coworkers, visiting the Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre. Joshua Creek is nestled in amongst the vast open fields outside of downtown Oakville, Ontario—the stark snow drifts and a horizon of barren branches made the distance travelled from downtown Toronto seem that much greater.

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y colleagues and I were meeting with Joshua Creek founder Sybil Rampen to discuss the musical works of her aunt, Amice Mary Calverley (1896-1959). Sybil wanted us to assess Amice’s work to determine if she could become an Associate Composer, and therefore have her music added to our collection. A rather industrious and remarkably generous person, Sybil welcomed us into her home, offered us a hearty lunch, and then walked us into the refurbished barn that housed (among many other things) a variety of Amice’s artifacts and belongings. Before seeing a single sheet of manuscript, we were confronted by the stories and documents reflecting the breadth of Amice’s work as an Egyptologist—Amice’s work illustrating the murals from the temple in Abydos is widely celebrated, and her work in the field of Egyptology represents a significant portion of her professional achievements. Some of Calverley’s artifacts are on loan to the Oakville museum as part of a recent exhibit.

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Inside the barn we also found her pilot’s cap and a century-old publication on the rudiments of flying. On a shelf in the corner we looked at the spines of reel-toreel recordings she made of folk songs during her travels in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Calverley also engaged in documentary filmmaking during her travels in the Balkans, Greece and Egypt. Indeed, the visit offered an endless stream of treasures.

Having walked about and chatted at length, we finally looked over the assembled manuscripts of Amice Calverley. Included in Sybil’s collection were many hand-written sketches, a couple of chamber and orchestral pieces, as well as published pieces (primarily songs). We found documentation regarding Calverley’s String Quartet in F minor having performances in Vienna, London, and


new associate composers

in Toronto at Hart House. We also poured over an unperformed opera that had been workshopped in Europe. For an organization like the CMC that is interested in documenting and preserving Canadian composition, this was an impressive find! Born in London, England, Calverley had studied piano before moving with her family to Oakville, Ontario in 1912. She began studies at the Toronto Conservatory and counted Healey Willan among her teachers. Calverley would go on to receive a scholarship and study composition with George Dyson and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Although her aspirations would lead her in various directions, composition was ever-present in her life. While tracking the performance history of Calverley’s music, we found that her Theme and Variations for

Orchestra was read in London in the 1920s and was also performed at Massey Hall in Toronto in the spring of 1935 under the baton of Ettore Mazzoleni. In a sad indication of the time period, a review of the concert managed to refer to every featured composer by name except Calverley, who is referred to only as “a former student of the Conservatory.” The reviewer’s efforts to avoid even acknowledging Calverley’s gender remind us how remarkable it is that she engaged in composition in this era at all, and likely points to the barriers that she faced, which would serve as a limiting factor for her musical output. However, this clearly did not deter her from living an expansive and creative life, or engaging with the music community. For example, her Oakville home would become an

active destination for chamber music concerts outside of Toronto in the 50s and 60s. In a short biography of Calverley by Barbara S. Lesko, there is a quote from a cousin of Calverley commenting generally on the composer’s approach to life: “Health and energy she expended recklessly, lavishing her resources on often thankless causes.… [Her] powers of deep affection and faithfulness, her absolute integrity, and almost overwhelming generosity will not be forgotten by those who knew her well.” The CMC is thrilled to welcome Amice Calverley as an Associate Composer. We look forward to integrating some of her pieces into our catalogue and sharing her story.

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1 A glamorous photo of Amice Calverely 2 A stack of manuscripts, nearly 100 years old. 3 Recordings made by Amice Calverley 4 A copy of Abydos Air, a melody by Calverley that was arranged by Healey Willan. 5 An image of the gallery space at Joshua Creek.


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feature article

Cine poeme Sympho- nique Giacomo Cataldo


feature article

Concert going—and live music in general—seems less central to most people’s lives than it was a few generations ago. The availability of music through technology has changed the landscape, and with it the demand for how music is consumed. Today the primary mode for disseminating new music is the online world. This has both positives and negatives, in particular for artists pursuing a career in music, but it presents new challenges and opportunities that cannot be ignored.

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t the same time, the commodification and ubiquity of background music in public places and private life mean that it is less common for people to devote their time to listen to music as a primary pursuit rather than as a background to their daily activities (running, driving, cooking, and so on). Many people also seem to appreciate when music and visuals combine, witnessed in the abundance and popularity of film music or the trend of finding music on YouTube or Vimeo, which necessarily has a visual component, albeit not always in equal quality. Therefore, any sort of extended purely musical work that might require sustained focus from the listener, or the expectation of buying a ticket and visiting an unfamiliar venue, can introduce barriers to connecting with new audiences. In light of these circumstances, mixed media creations can play a crucial role in attracting the attention of a larger audience. New works performed in traditional venues can

be tailored to appeal to and hold the attention of an Internet-saturated audience. A composer who values live performance might call this a form of pandering that only hurts the cause of “serious” music and how it ought to be consumed, putting it further in the thrall of the visual. Alternatively, it is an opportunity to build a broader audience and perhaps, most ambitiously, to draw people to the concert hall to experience live what they had previously only heard through the isolation of their headphones. I would argue for the optimistic perspective, as any form of outreach must, in actuality, reach out and consider the needs of its audience. I argue that a new musical work disseminated online purely as audio has nearly no chance of successful discovery. Both the broader audience and the niche audience—the latter being naturally inclined to this type of work—are often unaware of the existence of newly available music content as everything is instantly buried in the endless flow of newly uploaded material. Loyalty is bred

by familiarity. In order to reach the point where a person will seek out the music in and of itself they must first know it. Extramusical intelligibility is an opportunity to engage the greater audience and create this sense of familiarity. In this context we are talking about “gateway” compositions that not only have intrinsic value, but that also pique interest sufficiently to lead people back to the source. It is not as simple as adding a video to an audio recording of a standalone work of course: YouTube is filled with these, and they aren’t terribly effective. While a well-conceived “music video” can be both artistically valid and useful within the scope of this discussion, I would suggest there is room for new forms conceived specifically for online dissemination in which the visual is integral to the work rather than an afterthought, much in the way that the drama is integral to an opera (and isn’t merely a staged symphony with solo singers), or how dance and music are equal partners in ballet. Such new

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feature article

photo A screen shot from L’etoile de mer

forms could draw on many disciplines for their content but I would argue that a piece would be most successful if conceived cinematically. The strengths of the medium must be employed, taking advantage of what cannot easily be done live, just as the audio recording medium can create works that can not easily be reproduced in performance. This is no easy task: a superficial attempt or something done by rote is unlikely to be successful, artistically or otherwise. Take Alexina Louie’s “domestic opera” Toothpaste as an example. Created for television, its content and length translate well to online dissemination. Toothpaste is an example of an operatic subject that works better as film rather than in a live setting—the visual perspectives of the camera work, along with the realistic setting, adds to its intimacy

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and allows us to live the emotion of the piece in a way that would be lost on an audience sitting at a distance in a theatre. As a more traditional type of music video, Laura Taylor’s short film adaptation of Hugo Wolf’s Forsaken is a good example of adapting a preexisting standalone piece. The surreal style of the visuals imaginatively lends its own layer of interpretation to the meaning of the lied, highlighting the sparse textures of the music and its impact. Any such creation must make a meaningful effort to interact with the music, and vice versa. Simply creating such pieces does

not, of course, solve the problem of diffusion and building an audience, but the collaborative process implied by such endeavours will inevitably build interdisciplinary bridges that link different niches together. Such creations can act as a visible beacon. The collaborative process involved will be familiar to anyone who has already contributed to such fields as opera or dance, among others. Mixed media really isn’t a new concept, but technology has expanded its potential scope. I have found the medium to be a source of inspiration: as a composer I often begin more traditionally, but as

“...as a composer I often begin more traditionally, but as I explore the possibilities, I am led into more ambitious territory.”


feature article

I explore the possibilities, I am led into more ambitious territory. One of my recent works in this vein is L’etoile de mer, in which I engaged with a preexisting work. The inspiration behind my work is the eponymous experimental short film from 1928 by Man Ray, which itself was inspired by a poem by surrealist poet Robert Desnos. The film describes itself as a visualization of Desnos’ poem, as seen by Man Ray, who described his creation as a cinepoeme. I extended that concept to be a cinepoeme symphonique, set as a sort of duo concertante for violin and soprano voice with orchestra. As the film’s intertitles are verses drawn from the poem (the original of which is now lost), it was a natural extension to include a voice to set this text, thus further tying together the different elements. I aimed to compose a piece that fit both the content and timings of the film but also stood on its own, without falling into the trap

of becoming a mere background underscore. The result is easily disseminated online, but can be performed as a straight concert piece, or even accompanied by a projection of the film. The online digital world presents an opportunity for composers to reach new audiences. This is an opportunity to collaborate with other creative individuals to unite audio and visuals that will draw people in from the plethora of online materials. The positive results of such collaboration will be felt not only by the audience but also by the collaborators themselves. Attempting to stand out against the dense sea of the digital world may seem overwhelming, but the hope for new audiences and the satisfaction of collaborating to create compelling new mixed media is what keeps me motivated.

photo Composer Giacomo Cataldo

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Generations Conversations An inter-generational interview series that connects young composers and performers with senior and established CMC Associate Composers in Ontario. Participants are paired up to share their histories, and contrast their experiences in the field of music and the arts. In this issue we learn more about two composers: Elma Miller and W. Mark Sutherland.

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a conversation with

Elma Miller By Ananda X. Suddath

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generations/conversations e

Award-winning CMC Associate Composer Elma Miller is also a veteran contemporary music engraver. She has worked internationally for an extensive list of composers, performers and major music publishers including K.S. Sorabji, Nancy Van de Vate, Paul Brodie, Elaine Keillor, Oxford University Press, Scarecrow Press, and Lyon & Healy Publications.

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e met with Miller last February to discuss engraving as an important facet of her musical practice, notation software’s impact on the craft of composition, and much more. Currently in progress, a lightly-edited transcript of the full interview will be available in the CMC’s library in 2016.

AS: Who were some of your most influential teachers early on? EM: My first composition teacher was Walter Buczynski. He

was tough, but he didn’t teach students to be in his mold— that was good. Actually, none of them did. Beckwith didn’t, Weinzweig certainly didn’t… A great artist I knew who’s passed away, Robert Langstadt, specialized in woodcuts and was terrific to do art reviews with. The whole purpose was to teach us about the art. He detested people genuflecting in front of the great masters! He said, “We have to go to the art gallery and look at it completely differently.” There were works I didn’t like! And it would be like, “Why not?” This type of discussion is missing in music, because art is easy to describe—it’s on the wall, there it is, look at it! Music, you have to sit down and listen.

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AS: You also studied with Marshall McLuhan. How did his vision

shape your understanding of notation as a medium? EM: I liked his point of view: you’re trying to make

communication easier, but sometimes you fall behind because of the technology, because the medium is not the message! People got stuck with the medium, namely, hand-written scores—it’s not good enough unless it’s on the computer! McLuhan would say, “Don’t think of the medium as an end point.” So when people tell me, “Well, I can’t do that because my software won’t allow me to!”, I say, “Well, do it in pen! What’s the problem here?” McLuhan’s “thinking outside the box” has affected my view of life. I try to keep an open mind whenever something comes up. It invariably happens… Every notational situation is different. AS: Notation software has been available for a relatively short

time, considering that notation has been around for centuries. How has this technology impacted composers’ output? EM: In the ’70s, I predicted composers would write graphic

scores up to a certain point. You know when composers got their computer. After that, it’s all standard notation! It’s like a wall—1988. Right after that, composers stopped doing fun


s elma miller

stuff with notation. How many graphic scores are there at the CMC between 1988 and today? Not that many!

AS: How important is it for composers to properly notate and

Some composers felt computers drew away from their creativity, because they spent so much time learning the software! I can understand. Certain Quebec composers I worked for just because of that. They wanted freedom and knew you can throw anything at me. “A circular score? Fine. How big?” So they had to rethink composition. Now it’s no longer a limitation. It’s like it used to be.

EM: Composers that survived were those that were printed;

document their work? What happens when this is neglected?

that’s the importance of the printing press. Same with computers! What I’m arguing for is getting as much into the computer [as possible], for this music to survive. If your music is not beautifully done in the conventional sense, it won’t make it, in that it won’t be performed. So when the classical composer says, “It’s just too much work…” [laughs] That means they’ll be forever relegated to the dust heap of history.

AS: You played key roles recently regarding the score and parts

for Harry Somers’ seminal Louis Riel opera. What was that like?

AS: Name one challenge Canadian music engravers face.

EM: I got used to Somers’ style when I finished his last

EM: If you work for a German publisher, they will give you

piece, A Thousand Ages. He had passed away and left it unfinished, so the estate asked me to finish it. You have to know his style, his orchestration… You have to be a musicologist. I figured, “What if he would have, by the end of the piece, done more, because of his other works I’ve heard?” I carefully put my suggestions in brackets, meaning that’s Miller, and then everything else is Somers. Bramwell Tovey was conducting, and he ended up including them all. The reviewer couldn’t tell. I thought that was priceless!

exactly how many spaces-lines will come between the top point of that note and the bottom of that beam, the thickness of the ledger lines, the size of the treble clef…

I loved working on the Riel score. You don’t always get to go back to the original. We had to learn our parts, figure out the traffic patterns in the percussion parts… Victor Feldbrill, who conducted Riel, said, “We have to help the next conductor out; they’re going to be looking at this for the first time.” To make that easier, he made suggestions. Coming from Feldbrill, you can’t go wrong! So here, the composer had passed away; we all now worked as a team to get this score out, and it had to be right. This is where you go all out and argue every case imaginable. I had a flowchart, a big Excel file, what was in the score, what I think is wrong, what I changed, and why.

AS: Wow! EM: Exactly! That’s how you can tell one publisher from

another. In Canada, composers just do whatever works! This is where the oversight is missing: we don’t have a good publishing industry promoting best practices. Europeans formalize their expectations very carefully. It makes my job easier! People come in from Europe, where they’re used to a certain standard, and it’s like, “Where is everybody?” [laughs] I think the next step would be to revise the Canadian publishing industry from the ground up, form a group of engravers and copyists, start getting our collective heritage into the computer using any software at all! Just have the basic editorial sit-down, and then, “Go!” It’s just a matter of funding… and everything else! AS: Most things usually are! EM: Well, thank you very much!

AS: Everything was documented? AS: Thank you! EM: Everything: instructions for finding what I did, the software,

file names, what the format is, corrections I did, my reasoning— twenty pages of explanation, because it is complex.

→ Click here to explore Elma Millers’ music!

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a conversation with

W. Mark Sutherland By Egor Sanin

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generations/conversations

In my own artistic life, I am fascinated by communication—especially using sound and language as a means of transferring meaning. Electronics, coding, poetry, and the mixing and blending of the world around us are some of the most appealing things to me. Because of this, I am fascinated by the work of CMC Associate Composer W. Mark Sutherland. Sutherland does not fit neatly into the traditional composer mold, having spent his career developing and pursuing an artistic method where an expansive variety of media is used for expression.

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his creative migration straddles the worlds of electronics, poetry, audio, video, and everything in between. In this excerpt Sutherland discusses some of the ways he defines himself and his art, and shares some of his personal history and the artistic network that nurtures him. ES: You came from a musical family, started piano and choir

at an early age, but when did you begin to formulate “poetry that is visual art, visual art that is music and music that is poetry.”

my art and screening my videopoems in group exhibitions in Europe at that time. So, in short, I began formulating and then consolidating my intermedia practice in the 1980s and early 90s primarily through my contacts with other intermedia and Fluxus visual poets, sound poets, and “avant” musicians. It was in fact a conversation I had with Fluxus intermedia theorist Dick Higgins in the early 90s that led to my final realization that somewhere along the way, I had become an intermedia artist who was, and still is, attempting to create “poetry that is visual art, visual art that is music and music that is poetry.”

WMS: Before answering this question directly, I think I

should talk a bit more about my artistic background. As a young child I studied and played music, wrote poems, and painted pictures. I don’t know of any time in my life when I was not engaged in some form of creative activity. I’m also a child/adolescent of the 1960s, so I grew up in a time and a household where classical-academic culture, 20th century modernism, and 60s pop culture collided. By the age of 10, I had formed a “rock band,” and I continued to perform and record in various rock/pop/jazz bands up to the age of 33 (1988). From 1984-86, I began experimenting with something I called videopoetry, a new genre in which I could combine my interests in music, poetry, and visual art. By the mid 80s, my poetry was beginning to be published in small journals, and I began to create bookworks—a combination of texts and images. I likewise started exhibiting some of

ES: When did you start thinking of yourself as a constructivist, and can you talk a bit about this idea with respect to artists that lean more towards automatism? And, in fact, could you speak a bit about these terms? WMS: Words are slippery things, so I don’t want to delve too deeply into semantics, aesthetics, and literary theory, such as, “Am I a constructivist or a post-structuralist?” However, as a general critique on creative process, one might say that artists today tend to lean towards either constructivism (post-structuralism) or automatism. Constructivism pertains to intellectual inquiries into ideas, concepts, and systematic analysis concerning materials, structures, and semiotics, and their relationships to forms of art and culture. Automatism, on the other hand, refers ontario notations – fall 2015 | 39


generations/conversations w

to automatic self-expression, intuition, perception, feelings, and the transformation of materials. Musically, it would be the difference between the artist writing and/or playing an exacting score with no room for interpretation (Steve Reich, Philip Glass, etc.) versus a free improvisation like my colleagues in CCMC perform. Some call me a constructivist or post-structuralist, but I must admit that at this point in time, I no longer swear an allegiance to any specific word, movement, person, or ideology. I believe in total artistic freedom to explore whatever stimulates my interests and to simply travel in the direction where my intellect and aesthetic sensibilities lead me at any given moment in time. As Michael Snow so eloquently stated, “I make up the rules of a game and I play it. If I seem to be losing, I change the rules.” ES: Computers and digital technology are procedural, which is in close relation with constructivism/post-structuralism. How do you view computers and digital technology? Has digital technology helped you realize your artistic vision? WMS: Well, I bought my first Apple computer in 1987. That’s almost 30 years ago, so I guess you’d say the computer has been an important part of my life and my creative practice for a very long time. By the early 90s, I was using

various forms of digital technology in both the recording and video-editing studio, and have been ever since. Has digital technology helped me with my artistic vision? Most certainly! Digital technology is proving to be a medium of choice for intermedia artists in the early 21st century, and although various gatekeepers continue to vigorously defend their traditional disciplinary borders, it seems inevitable that the disciplinary distinctions surrounding poetry, music, visual art, etc. are changing, and new aesthetic hybrids are emerging—all disciplinary borders are blurring, if not actually collapsing in the digital world. ES: What is your opinion about the quick rise of electronics as a major music-making mode in modern popular music? WMS: I think the use of electricity either directly or indirectly in music making has been around for about 100 years or more. From the radio, record player, microphone, electric guitar, and use of magnetic tape to laptop computers, there is simply no stopping human beings’ sound-making abilities. Whether it’s the human body that never shuts up until the day it dies or the latest computer technology used to produce EDM, all is glorious noise to me! ES: The whole idea of “found” objects, sounds, poems, and the mixing of various disciplines in intermedia has parallels with DIY and hobby culture, which has taken on a whole new dimension in the last five to ten years. Could you talk about how your work resonates with the “maker” culture, and whether it has influenced your creative process? WMS: First of all, my use of found objects, sounds, poems, and music scores is predicated on Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the ready-made and assisted ready-made. Duchamp is one of my primary aesthetic influences, and his ready-made In Advance of a Broken Arm (1915) is the basis for one of my most effective aesthetic stratagems and acts of artistic larceny. I take great delight in finding a piece of crumpled paper on the ground or in a recycle bin, titling that piece of paper, giving it to someone to read or perform, and then calling it a poem/score. On the topic of mixing disciplines and intermedia, John Cage is also one of my primary sources along with his Fluxus offspring—Jackson

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s w. mark sutherland

Mac Low, Allan Kaprow, Al Hansen, George Brecht, and Dick Higgins. In terms of modern pop culture my influences are many and varied, including punk bands, noise bands, rap, hip hop, DJs, Detroit Techno, even EDM — everyone everywhere scratching, mixing, mashing, and sampling. So while intermedia may have some parallels with DIY and hobby culture, I certainly don’t have any connections, nor does my creative process, to “maker” culture. I’m actively involved in “troublemaker culture.”

ES: You spent time working outside of Canada—a lot in Europe.

ES: Is your work shaped differently by practices and individuals that you encounter in Canada versus abroad?

ES: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me about your career!

WMS: No, my Canadian intermedia mentors are Nobuo Kubota and Paul Dutton. My major European mentor was the British sound/visual poet Bob Cobbing. All four of us have performed together in duos and trios on occasion in the past. My other immediate influences include a mix of North American and European friends and colleagues like Dick Higgins, Emmett Williams, Michael Snow, Henri Chopin, Yoko Ono, Phil Minton, Udo Kasemets, Steve McCaffery, Jaap Blonk, John Oswald, among others.

WMS: You’re welcome!

WMS: I work almost exclusively in Europe and rarely in North America. Why? That’s where a lot of my intermedia artist friends live, that’s the place where I am lucky enough to be given opportunities to present my work in a public context and subsequently, that’s where I’ve spent a good deal of time for the past 30 years developing an audience for my work.

→ Check out Sutherland’s profile page on the CMC Website!

→Y  ou can read about recent and upcoming

activity involving W. Mark Sutherland in the Noteworthy section of this magazine.

ontario notations – fall 2015 | 41


CD Reviews

A Gossamer Bit—Music of Allison Cameron, Performed by Contact

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Gossamer Bit, released on Vancouver-based record label Red Shift in May, is a stunning album of chamber music written by Allison Cameron. Performed by Contact Contemporary Music and recorded by Jeff McMurrich at 6 Nassau, this album presents four of Cameron’s chamber works written between 2001-14. I have been listening to this album frequently since its release, and full disclosure: I really love Allison Cameron’s music; I am definitely a fan of Contact; and Jeff McMurrich engineered and produced one of my favourite albums ever (the Sea Snake’s Clear as Day, the Darkest Tools). So this album is a no-brainer for me. However, I couldn’t have presupposed that this album would be one of my favourites of this year and that it would spend as much time in my ears as it has. On the opening track 3rds, 4ths & 5ths, Cameron delivers a piece that begins with a rolling melodic directness that incrementally reveals layers of deftly manoeuvred timbres flowing on the edges of perception. Also on display here is Cameron’s flawless ability to perfectly place unconventional instruments into a chamber music setting. Rather than draw attention to the atypical instruments (harmonicas and prepared vibraphone) or employ the instruments in a way that betrays their novelty, she treats the irregular with the same legitimacy and consideration afforded to the usual suspects. Cameron harnesses the soft buzz of harmonicas to round out the textures of floating chords as they’re blown across intersecting melodic phrases. At a particularly evocative turn midway through the piece, a prepared

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By: Jason Doell

vibraphone enters as a background murmur that serves to recontextualize all the fore-grounded melodic and harmonic material—a true reward for those who listen closely. It is moments like these that are emblematic of the rest of the music on the disc. The level of detail and thoughtfulness throughout the writing often creates subtle dramas and gentle but unexpected turns that infuse the music with what I can only describe as ’specialness’—the kind of ephemeral quality that pervades all great works. → Click here to purchase the album!


Chamber Music of John Burge—Ensemble Made in Canada

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nsemble Made in Canada’s Chamber Music of John Burge is a compelling album whose compositional and performative efforts demonstrate the very best of Canadian chamber music. Produced by Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver, this album includes three works by John Burge composed between 2010 and 2012. Released on the CMC record label, Centrediscs, the album seems effortless in its ability to draw in the listener, and yet reveals new layers of melodic detail, textural variety, and expressive depth upon repeated listening. At first Pas de Deux struck me as an unusual choice for the opening track, with its relative sparseness and extended solo sections. However, the piece seduced me with its slow yet unrelenting build until the violin and cello intersect with such moving intensity that the ears are convinced there must be additional performers. Elissa Lee (violin) and Rachel Mercer (cello) exquisitely shift between melody and accompaniment, always emphasizing the lyricism of Burge’s melodies and embracing dramatic silences. The title of the second piece, String Theory, brings to mind the esoteric world of particle physics, and the piece appropriately opens with a musical universe as dark and isolating as the universe particle physics aims to explain. The single lines of the viola (Sharon Wei) soon are joined by the piano in what will become a musical “theory of everything.” The piece seamlessly moves in and out of vast musical worlds, all while demanding the violist to wield wide-ranging techniques in service of broad expressive moods. The viola is certainly the centrepiece of this work, but the piano is not without interest. Consequently, at times I desired a more prominent piano in the mix, especially so that quiet would not equal distance. The final work on the album was commissioned by Ensemble Made in Canada and showcases the group’s sensitivity to the intimacy and variety of chamber music. This Piano Quartet in three movements opens with pulsing repeated chords traded between the strings and piano,

By: Alexa Woloshyn

reminiscent of a minimalist style. The lines grow increasingly independent and highlight the skill of each ensemble member. Burge points to the “reckless speed” and “muted strings and scurrying piano writing” in the background as unusual features of the second movement scherzo, which the ensemble passionately performs. Following a subdued closing to the second movement, the third movement bursts forth with an aggressive piano bass line and unison strings. In the end, Burge achieves a convincing formal arc by returning to the opening movement’s repeated chords. Though these works employ a free use of dissonance, the listener is never lost through Burge’s careful use of recurring motifs, lyrical melodies, and consonant intervals, including ending Pas de Deux with a major triad. Ensemble Made in Canada enhances Burge’s compositions through their vigorous, responsive, and unified performance. → Click here to purchase the album and click below to watch

a live performance featuring Ensemble Made In Canada!

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— fall 2015 —

David Passmore On September 18, 2015, Toronto composer David Passmore’s song cycle My Mistress’ Eyes: Seven Dark Lady Sonnets was performed by Canadian singer Danielle Buonaiuto at the Baltimore War Memorial building in a new version arranged for the Lunar Ensemble. The concert, “Old Text Woven New,” supported by New Music USA, was conducted by Gemma New, newly appointed conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic. The work in its original form with piano accompaniment was introduced to Toronto audiences by Krysztina Szabó in the 2012 inaugural concert of the Canadian Art Song Project, and is published in The Toronto Song Book (Plangere Press).

Evan Ware It has been a busy year so far for CMC Associate Composer Evan Ware. Not only did Evan graduate from the University of Michigan with a Ph.D. in composition and music theory in May, his dissertations (there were indeed two), The Quietest of Whispers: a symphony for chamber orchestra and Their Ways: Theorizing Reinterpretation in Popular Music, have been nominated for a ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. The Quietest of Whispers, profiled in last summer’s Notations, received its second performance in

February, this time as part of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s series on masculinity. In June, the Musings Ensemble performed Evan’s new work, Mandel, for reader, clarinet, violin, and cello in two separate concerts in Amsterdam. Current collaborations include a fantasia for erhu and gamelan to be premiered by erhu virtuoso Xiaodong Wei and the University of Michigan Javanese Gamelan Ensemble in December, and a song cycle on the poetry of Gabriela Mistral for the CHAI Collaborative Ensemble in Chicago scheduled for May 2016. Since June, Evan has launched into his new full-time position as Managing Editor for the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation’s project, “Music by Black Composers,” where he will oversee the creation of curricular supplements for string methods that are intended to help students and audiences alike come to know this rich yet unfortunately overlooked repertoire.

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A reflection from — Juliet Palmer —

If you ask my daughter, she will tell you that I’m obsessed with rivers. Perhaps she’s right. I spent the last two years hatching a project in Toronto’s Don Valley. This July saw the culmination of those efforts in a series of performances and installations bringing together almost 70 artists from multiple disciplines. →

photo Burble by Juliet Palmer (Front, Centre) & Anna Chatterton performed by the Burble Choir with soloist Laura Swankey and conductor Christine Duncan. credit Saajid Motala

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noteworthy

photo Garbage music by Jason Doell and Germaine Liu credit Saajid Motala

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hat began as my personal attempt to understand different cultural relationships to rivers evolved into a weekend festival celebrating art and community. It was a watershed moment, so to speak, on a number of levels. For my company Urbanvessel, it was the first time we nurtured the creative visions of so many different artists — an exercise in trust and letting go which reaped huge rewards in artistic freedom and surprises. And for myself, it was the first time I partnered with indigenous artists, sharing a commitment to the process of decolonization and ecological activism. For the realization of a work rooted in the land and water, these partnerships were vital for the work to move ahead. Rekindling our relationship with the Wonscotonach River, Singing River highlighted the richly layered history of Toronto’s Don Valley. To mark its significance to indigenous communities — as a place of abundant fish, hunting and fields of maize — we referred to the river by its

Anishinaabemowin name, meaning “bright, burning point”. As Artistic Director of Urbanvessel, I worked in partnership with Aanmitaagzi’s Penny Couchie and Sid Bobb alongside outreach organizations to spark the community’s curiosity and renew passion for the river. We were honoured by singer-songwriter Marie Gaudet’s gift of a song for the river, sung by students at Toronto’s First Nations School and woven into an audio installation at The Narrows. Renowned Montréal street artist Roadsworth collaborated with Native Earth writers and the Element Choir — ride your bicycle and sing as you follow the curves and words along the trail near Pottery Road! Our final performance was a walk beside the river featuring dance and music inspired by the Wonscotonach River’s return to life. Crows scavenged for garbage by the DVP, drums and voices resonated alongside rivers of traffic, birds swooped under bridges, salmon swam upstream led by a hopeful giant sturgeon, and water from the city’s

nine rivers was gathered and offered. The last image of the evening was of a dancer, moving birdlike in the river to the music of traffic, the sun sinking as headlights flickered across the water. Singing River was an Urbanvessel production presented by Pan Am Path in collaboration with Evergreen, Aanmitaagzi, Native Earth Performing Arts, Regent Park Focus and Todmorden Mills, bringing together 70 artists and over 300 community participants. Community Partners First Nations School of Toronto, Evergreen Brick Works, Swansea School of Dance, Interval House & Regent Park School of Music Funders Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and Friends of Pan Am Path

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A reflection from Juliet Palmer

Nomads: choreography by Julia Aplin, performed by Jordana Deveau (L) and Georgia Simms (R) Photo: Saajid Motala

Inner Rivers audio installation in the Belleville underpass, Lower Don trail. Ultrasound recordings transport the listener along the body’s inner rivers. Composer Juliet Palmer, sound artist Chris Willes & Sunnybrook scientist Dr. Peter Burns. Photo: Claire Harvie

Nomads: choreography by Julia Aplin, performed by Jordana Deveau (R) and Georgia Simms (L) Photo: Saajid Motala

Julia Aplin, Wonscotonach River spirit Photo: Giulio Muratori

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— fall 2015 —

cecilia livingston Cecilia Livingston has had an opera-intense fall, presenting a paper on Alban Berg’s Wozzeck at the International Conference on Music since 1900, in Glasgow, and then beginning her 20152017 fellowship with American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice program in New York. The Bicycle Opera Project toured Livingston’s The Yellow Wallpaper as part of their 2015 shadow box performance, and the Kingston Symphony presented a new orchestral version of her 2013 chamber opera The Masque of the Red Death. Livingston also graduated from the University of Toronto with a DMA in composition this November.

bruno degazio This past August, CMC Associate Composer Bruno Degazio participated in the Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium—a summary of TIES 2015 is featured in our Ontario Projects section. Degazio presented a paper entitled “Musical Behaviours in the Transformation Engine” regarding algorithmic composition software, including a demonstration of his own. Degazio described the concepts underlying the software, as well as its application to a recent musical composition for orchestra. In September, Degazio presented his visual music work, Harmonia, co-created with Christos Hatzis, at the International Computer Music Conference in Dallas, Texas. The piece was projected in a domed theatre at the University of North Texas in HD video and surround sound—the piece was also selected for inclusion on the DVD provided to all conference participants.

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A reflection from — Victor Herbiet —

In the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to play a few of my saxophone works for a Canadian music concert organized by the Music and Beyond festival in Ottawa. It is there that I met virtuoso thereminist Thorwald Jørgensen who told me he enjoyed my music and that I should compose for the theremin.

I

was intrigued by his idea and started composing a suite for theremin and harp based on Greek mythology. The first movement of this suite, “Sirenum Scopuli,” was premiered at the Rio de Janeiro International Harp Festival in May 2015. The complete Suite is scheduled to be performed in the summer of 2016. Fairly early in the composition process, I came to the conclusion that I should acquire my own theremin to better understand how the instrument works. I was surprised by the different versions of the instrument, and the wide price range. The model I bought is a “pitch only” instrument, which means that the volume has to be controlled by the amplifier or a volume pedal. I settled on this model because it made financial sense and it would be simple to use as a learning tool. While exploring the instrument’s possibilities, I realized that I could use any part of the hand to trigger the pitch antenna. After many experiments, I decided to place the theremin on its side so that the pitch antenna was parallel to the ground. I adjusted the height of the pitch antenna so that the movements of my right hand would trigger it when I’m playing soprano saxophone. This configuration opened a universe of possibilities where I could play two instruments simultaneously

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by myself. I used the new techniques and sounds I devised to compose and record my piece Through the Ethereal Gate for solo saxophonist-thereminist. You can watch the performance of the piece by clicking here, and you can borrow or purchase the sheet music from the CMC by clicking here.


— fall 2015 —

Leonard Enns Associate Composer Leonard Enns was able to travel to Poland with the support of a travel grant from the Canada Council to attend the premiere of his piece Aperi, Domine, os meum, commissioned by the Warsaw University of Technology Academic Choir for its 15th anniversary. The concert took place at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall.

John Mills-Cockell Reissue! In 1966, CMC Associate Composer John Mills-Cockell worked with light sculptor Michael Hayden, poet Blake Parker, and architect Dik Zander to form the multimedia group Intersystems. Cockell studied electronic music at the University of Toronto with Gustav Ciamaga, and electronics became a focal point of his works with Intersystems. The Italian archival label, Alga Marghen, is undertaking an exciting reissue of Intersystems’ catalogue. You can visit Alga Marghen’s site by clicking here, and watch for more information on the release.

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— Noteworthy —

Aaron Jensen CMC Associate Composer Aaron Jensen continues his busy schedule, juggling compositional output with festival and ensemble work. On May 27th, two new original commissions were premiered at Koerner Hall by the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Countermeasure: Life is Fine featuring text by Langston Hughes, and Train the A Take. The performances was part of And Still We SING, A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn. In addition, Jensen’s new composition, London Bells, was premiered at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto by Countermeasure on May 16th. In addition, Opera Somnia (a track from Jensen’s Centrediscs release From Sea to Sea) was recently nominated for the 14th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Song - A Cappella. Jensen also serves as Artistic Director of SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival. The festival enjoyed massive success in 2015, its fourth year, with more that 17,000 in attendance in total at over fifty concerts, workshops and masterclasses. International headliners included: Rajaton (Finland), Take 6 (USA), RAM Koor - Estonian National Male Choir (Estonia), and many more. SING! 2015 kicked off the PanAm Games as a co-presenter of the Torch Relay in the Distillery Historic District. Lastly, Jensen was appointed as the Artist in Residence of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Toronto, and has been developing new liturgical repertoire for the eight-voice chamber choir, Ruach Singers.

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— fall 2015 —

Elizabeth Raum CMC Associate Composer Elizabeth Raum’s band piece, 100 Years of Fanfares, originally commissioned by the Saskatchewan Band Association for the Canadian Band Association, was performed by the University of Saskatchewan Wind Orchestra conducted by Darrin Oehlerking at the 2015 World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Conference in San Jose, California in July. Also in July, Raum’s Four Elements for trumpet and trombone was performed at the third annual C’mon (Chamber music old & new) series founded by Kathryn MacIntosh in Edmonton. In addition, Albany Records recently released a CD with her Bushwakker’s Six Pack (the version for trumpet, trombone, and piano), played by Balaton Chamber Brass for their album, Changing Time and Colours.

John Burge Ensemble Made in Canada has released a commercial recording through the Centrediscs label featuring the music of CMC Associate Composer John Burge. The album, reviewed earlier in this issue of Notations, features two duos and a piano quartet. Burge’s Piano Quartet was commissioned by EMIC and premiered during their 2012 tour of BC and Alberta. They have since performed the work a number of times, and there have been several performance in conjunction with the CD release including stops at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, and the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City.

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— Noteworthy —

Allison Cameron CMC Associate Composer Allison Cameron has had a productive 2015, and her music is garnering attention at home and abroad. The UK’s The Wire magazine, an exceptional testament to the international avant-garde music scene since 1982, featured an excerpt of Cameron’s 3rds, 4ths and 5ths as performed by Contact on the recently released album, A Gossamer Bit, as part of the magazine’s CD, Anthology of Underground Music: The Wire Tapper #39. Cameron was also the subject of the cover article from Musicworks Magazine #122 by Nick Storring which delved into the various stages of Cameron’s career. Included on the CD accompanying the magazine are 4 Postcards performed by The Thin Edge New Music Collective and an excerpt from Cameron’s electroacoustic improvising trio c_RL, live at The Tone Deaf Festival in Kingston. Most recently, Cameron’s Retablo was performed at the Music Gallery’s Encore presentation during the X Avant X festival on October 16th. Cameron’s music was presented alongside pieces by Ann Southam, Linda Catlin Smith, Martin Arnold, Nic Gotham and Erik Ross.

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— fall 2015 —

W. Mark Sutherl and There has been a lot of activity in 2015 for CMC Associate Composer W. Mark Sutherland. Sutherland’s installation On Reading Red was featured as part of Schiffamtsgasse 17 in Vienna, Austria in March— this included a presentation of the catalogue and documentation of the project. In other European activity, Sutherland provided a visualpoetry screening as part of Tom Konyves’ keynote address on June 19, at the Poésie/Traduction/Film Symposium in Utopia Cinema, Universite de Paul Valery, Montpellier, France. Here at home, Sutherland’s Time Signatures for György Ligeti was exhibited between July 3 and August 14 at Meaford Museum as part of the Electric Eclectics Festival in Meaford, Ontario. In his capacity as writer, Sutherland contributed his article, “Alphabet Apocalypse, Futurism (After Boccioni),” to The Art of Typewriting, edited by Marvin Sackner, Ruth Sackner, and Steve Heller (available through Thames and Hudson). Sutherland also contributed “Insects, Aviation and Dairy Products” to The New Concrete, edited by Chris McCabe and Victoria Bean (Hayward Publishing, London, UK). During the launch of New Concrete in July at Whitechapel Gallery in London, England, Sutherland provided a videopoetry screening of his piece Crush. Sutherland himself was the feature of a recent article by Julian Cowley that appeared in The Wire.

An image of Sutherland’s Time Signatures

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— Noteworthy —

Ted Dawson On Thursday, August 6, 2015, Dawson’s new work 6 Organ Preludes was given its world premiere at the Tallinn 29th International Organ Festival in Tallinn, Estonia—a big event consisting of 38 concerts across the country, and featuring many significant European organists from Austria, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Lebanon, Malta, and Estonia. The venue was the historic St. Nicholas (Niguliste) Church. Dawson’s work was written especially for Estonian organist Piret Aidulo who performed the piece.

Robert Lemay CMC Associate Composer Robert Lemay has had several notable performances recently. Over the Summer, Lemay’s Deuce 2 for two tenor saxophones was performed by Duo D’Entre-Deux. Lemay’s Oran for alto sax and piano was performed by Allen Harrington and Laura Loewen, and his Urban Influx was performed by Proteus Saxophone Quartet. A further indication of the popularity of Lemay’s writing for saxophone is the recent inclusion of his piece Deuce on Diálogos, the first CD of Dúo Lisus, a superb Spanish duo formed by saxophonists Jesús Núñez and Lidia Muñoz Mora. Lemay’s piece Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea (hommage à Mark Rothko) for alto saxophone, violin and piano was performed by Trio Empreinte in October at Bateau Daphné sur le Quai Montebello, Paris, France—Le Bauteau Daphné is a converted barge boat on the Seine that seats 60 and features a number of classical concerts.

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— fall 2015 —

Evelyn Stroobach CMC Associate Composer Evelyn Stroobach's composition for string orchestra entitled Aria for Strings will receive a Russian premiere with the Astrakhan Philharmonic Orchestra on December 13th, 2015. Maestro Eldred Marshall will conduct the orchestra in this concert performance. This follows another recent performance of Aria for Strings by the Constanta Symphony Orchestra in Constanta, Romania on May 22nd, 2015. Maestro Eldred Marshall conducted the orchestra in this concert performance. In other recent activity, Stroobach's composition entitled Fire Dance composed for flute, viola and aboriginal drum was performed in the Senate at the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa on May 28th, 2015. The concert was entitled Reverberations of Aboriginal Inspirations. Jennifer McLachlen performed the flute, Ralitsa Tcholakova performed the viola and Dominique Moraeu the aboriginal drum. Stroobach gave a brief talk about her composition Fire Dance before it was performed. Present in the audience were Adrienne Clarkson (former Governor General of Canada), her husband (John Ralston Saul), Shelley Glover (former Minister of Canadian Heritage), and various other public figures. Stroobach’s piece was part of Ralitsa Tcholakova’s recording project featuring works by six Ottawa-based composers inspired by Aboriginal culture. Fire Dance was previously premiered in February 2015 at St. Luke's Church in Ottawa.

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*Indicates CMC Associate Composers Deux Mille Foundation..........................................BC Bill and Lorna Orr........................................... BC/PR Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation............... CMC/ON

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Notations Fall 2015  

In this issue, Giacomo Cataldo contemplates composing for an online audience and we profile new associates including a focus on Amice Calver...

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