Odyssey — a Wind Ensemble Concert

Silverthorn Symphonic Winds Presents Odyssey — a Wind Ensemble Concert
Featuring Artist in Residence Peter Stoll

Silverthorn Symphonic Winds (SSW), under the direction of Andrew Chung, presents “Odyssey — a Wind Ensemble Concert” featuring 2010/2011 Artist in Residence Peter Stoll, who will perform as soloist on clarinet and saxophone. Join us for a musical journey from the banks of Newfoundland to the streets of Harlem, from the rhythms of the Middle East to the melodies of Russia, from Celtic simplicity to Parisian sophistication. Featured soloist Peter Stoll will perform Rossini’s “Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Band,” Hagen’s “Harlem Nocturne” for saxophone and band, and Morrissey’s “Interlude for Clarinet and Band.” Compositions by Copland, Hazo, Cable, Reed, and Ellerby will complete the programme.

The concert takes place on Sunday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, ON. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors, and can be purchased online at www.rhcentre.ca or by phone at 905.787.8811.

The SSW Artist in Residence Program, established this year, offers an opportunity for ensemble members and the general public to benefit from the expertise of an established, professional musician. The 2010/2011 Artist in Residence, Peter Stoll, will be the featured soloist and host at the two Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts concerts, and will offer a free public masterclass (date to be announced) for adult and high school aged clarinetists. Throughout the season, he will attend six SSW rehearsals to provide coaching for woodwinds and to offer general feedback to the ensemble as a whole. In addition to enhancing the skills and musicality of ensemble members, Peter’s solo performances and engaging manner will be a delight for audiences.

Known for his virtuoso energy on stage, Peter Stoll was a prizewinner in the International Clarinet Society Competition, Solo Clarinetist with the World Orchestra of Jeunesses Musicales in Berlin and Vienna, and has been a guest clarinet soloist with orchestras in Canada, the U.S., and Russia. He has performed as a saxophone soloist with the Toronto Philharmonia, the Orillia Wind Ensemble, and with choirs in the Toronto and Ottawa area. A frequent performer of new music, Peter has traveled to Germany, New York City, Finland, and Lithuania with the ERGO ensemble. He is a core member of the Talisker Players, Principal Clarinetist of the Toronto Philharmonia, and a member of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. More information can be found on his website at: www.peterstoll.ca.

Founded in September 2006, Silverthorn Symphonic Winds brings classical and contemporary repertoire for wind ensemble to audiences in Toronto and York Region. The all-volunteer ensemble is characterized by exceptional dedication and a commitment to the highest possible level of performance. The musicians, who are all chosen by audition, range from highly accomplished amateurs to semi-professional musicians. Silverthorn Symphonic Winds is supported by a generous grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation. For more information, visit: www.silverthornsymphonicwinds.ca.

Bread and Roses Life, L. Rogers
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Protesting Cuts to the Diversity in Music Program–Oct. 26 @ 6 pm

Cutting The Album
Monday October 26 2009
6PM – 8PM
CBC Front Street to Nathan Phillips Square

Hello Friends,

Heritage Minister, James Moore recently announced that 1.3 million
dollars from the Canada Music Fund’s annual budget would be
redirected away from the Canada Council. This has resulted in the
cancellation of the CCA’s Music Diversity Program, which, for the
past 20 years, has provided integral support for recording and
marketing to artists who are on the forefront of forging new,
innovative, and distinctly Canadian culture.

We’ve decided that a parade was in order. We will be meeting at CBC,
250 Front Street, on Monday October 26th at 6pm. Below you’ll find
our routing. The parade will be interspersed with speeches at various
strategic locations. The parade will culminate at Nathan Phillips
Square, where Christine Duncan’s Element Choir will perform and no
doubt create a stir.

The goal of this parade is to create awareness in our wake among the
public. We’ll be soliciting the press and hope to get a lot of
coverage. Some of us will have clipboards in hand to offer the
general public a chance to sign our petition, and others will be
handing out pertinent literature.

All the while, our drummers and horn players will be propelling us
along the streets in a free-form New Orleans style funeral
procession. Bring your pots and pans, bells and other noise makers to
join in the fun. Bring your cameras too, we’d like to send the
Heritage Minister some photos of our event. Bring your thermoses to
stay warm, too!

At the end of the parade, before the Elements go on, Andrew Cash will
give a little talk on behalf of Charlie Angus’ office, who are
currently leading an inquiry with the Heritage Committee. We then
invite you to present Andrew with your letters that he can deliver to
the committee in Ottawa, as well mix cds that you can make comprised
of music that was made with the assistance of the sound recording grant.

– We still need more clipboard volunteers and people to hand out flyers
– Please contact me if you plan on bringing drums and horns
– Write your letters and make your mix tapes that will be delivered
to the committee!!
– If we have already been in contact with you about speaking, please
write back to confirm your interest.

Here’s the route:

6:00 meet at CBC
6:15 process on John to Roy Thompson Hall (speech)
6:40 King to Peter to Queen – Lush on Queen (speech)
7:05 Queen to Yonge to Dundas (speeches)
7:25 Dundas to Bay to Queen to Nathan Phillips Square
7:40 Speech and Element Choir
post-parade hot chocolate at a meeting place TBD

Bread and Roses Life, L. Rogers
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Purpose of Music

An acquaintance recently stumbled across some old musings of mine on the Arts Journal site. It brought memories flooding back of memorable conversations with enigmatic, deep, controversial composer John Tavener.

originally posted @ August 6, 2004 10:46 am as a comment on Arts Journal

During two years as General Manager of Soundstreams Canada, a new music concert presenter in Toronto, Canada–the conversation we hosted that most animated the music community here was a lecture given by Sir John Tavener. He was in town at our invitation for a concert we were presenting of his music. It might be added that unlike the small attendance at most new music concerts, this was an SRO concert. We crowded about 1200 into an 1100 seat cathedral and had to send hundreds home in disappointment. Clearly this is a voice that is reaching people musically.

Prior to John’s arrival, he and I had discussed by phone, the fact that both the music community and the theological community wanted to sponsor a lecture and there was insufficient time in the schedule for two such events. At his suggestion, and with the cooperation of the two sponsoring faculties, we had combined the two into a lecture entitled, “The vocation of the sacred artist”.

In the lecture Tavener presented the view that music had a purpose and that purpose was to reach the soul of individuals in an uplifting, encouraging and enobling way. The purpose of music was fulfilled when the audience left the concert hall feeling troubles lifted and with a desire for a better world, filled with beauty. He continued in voicing the opinion that music had lost its way when composers began to use music as a way to express their personal tragedy and turmoil, unloading that depression and tortured visions on the audience. In so doing, he continued, the composer was contributing to a negative world-view and the entropy of a corrupted civilization.

Although I found myself uncomfortable with a certain black-and-white nature to his arguments, I found myself fundamentally agreeing. The idea that “if the world is to be saved, it will be saved by beauty”– a Tavener quote that so struck me that I made it the featured quotes in our marketing campaign–was certainly the central theme to my own love of music and what I want to achieve in music and also what is at the root of my own assessment of “good music” and “bad music”. I don’t necessarily want music to make me “feel good” but I want to leave the concert hall with the sense that my soul has been touched and nourished.

Tags: , , , ,

Bread and Roses Life, L. Rogers
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

CBC changes–Letter from the President of the Canadian League of Composers

published with permission of the author:

Dear members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage,

I am writing to you as President of the Canadian League of Composers, and request that you enforce the Broadcast Act of 1991 with regard to CBC radio.

Recent changes in CBC’s broadcasts diminish the long-standing working relationship between Canadian composers of concert music and the CBC, as well as their required commitment as public broadcaster to provide rich, original content that reflects the diversity of Canada.

You may refer to my report on the meeting I had with CBC Senior Management <http://www.stopcbcpop.ca/CBC_New%20Music_Dec05.htm>.

Please note the lack of commitment to the Canadian Music composed by our membership of 400 composers (which, when added with the Canadian Music Centre’s Associate Composers equals 1000 artists).

Most importantly, recent changes at CBC Radio Two meant the cancellation of Two New Hours, the only program dedicated to Canadian Art Music. It had a devoted and plentiful following, and its loss is devastating to our field. Moving more closely to the commercial broadcasting category of “Adult Contemporary”. the CBC begins to emulate commercial radio, counter to its mandate as a culture-driven–not numbers-driven broadcaster. Radio One’s programs Freestyle and The National Playlist are two recent examples of the move to commercialism prior to the recent changes at Radio Two.

Significantly, Canada was instrumental in formulating and signing a recent UNESCO act pledging to support and respect diversity of creation in all its forms. In making the current changes, we feel that the CBC is, by including content available on commercial radio, reducing the diversity of public broadcasting. Canadian poets, scientists, writers, composers, etc. are losing their place on Canadian Public Radio, and we request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage carefully review and enforce the CBC mandated role in our culture.

Unfortunately, as stakeholders in the CBC, we were not informed of this meeting, and are therefore unable to arrange our presence on such short notice, but as president of the organization representing Canadian Composers, I represent to you the collective views and concerns of our membership.


Dr. Paul Steenhuisen

Tags: , ,

Bread and Roses Life, L. Rogers
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

CBC kills Two New Hours

Two New Hours producer, David Jaeger with Norwegian composer/performance artist Maja Ratjke (left) and Canadian composer Melissa Hui (right) in happier times .

Canadian music has been dealt a serious blow by CBC in their decision to axe the award-winning show Two New Hours, the last broadcast bastion for the live presentation of new Canadian art music. This program was truly world-class, occupying a prestigious place in the international music community and among international classical broadcasters. Knowledgeably moderated by host Larry Lake and produced by Canadian composer, David Jaeger, it was a jewel that has been thoughtlessly cast aside.

Will CBC stop presenting Canadian art music entirely? No, it seems not, but the replacement show, The Signal, in its initial show has broadcast only a small sampling of serious Canadian music from recording. By relying on recordings rather than taping live concerts as Two New Hours did so successfully for 30 years, CBC is presenting the works of composers who have already met with some success, rather than being a launching pad for new voices. It has ceased to be a partner in the creation of a unique Canadian musical voice and canon.

How do we create a Canadian canon of music with so little support from our national public broadcaster? Canadian icons like R. Murray Schafer came to international attention in large part through their concerts being broadcast by CBC and through CBC exchanges with international public broadcasters.

What is happening at CBC? Their corporate communications all cite a need to appeal to a younger demographic and have a larger market share. Surely this is a problem for commercial radio rather than public radio. Is not the mandate of public radio to serve the interests of the development of a national body of art and to serve the interests of minorities within the population–those NOT served by commercial media. Surely there is a plethora of commercial radio stations serving the interests of teens and young professionals with a taste for pop culture. One might say, “serving the lowest common-denominator”.

As an arts administrator I have become familiar with the basic criteria of Canadian national and provincial public funders when it comes to grants for Canadian performing arts. If it is populist it is deemed to not require public support, or require less support–the marketplace will fund it. If it has artistic merit but is unlikely to find an immediate audience–so not commercially viable–it is deemed to need support from the public sector. To give just one example: in 2001 I was serving as interim General Director of Opera Ontario when Canada Council of the Arts threatened to cut our funding in large part, because our opera seasons were–at that time–deemed as too “popular” in presenting standard opera repertoire rather than taking risks with new opera and less-performed works. We were encouraged to increase our presentation of Canadian works and Canadian artists to receive public funds. We made adjustments and commitments to new programming and a policy of presentation of Canadian artists to re-coup those funding cuts.

So why is CBC, a publicly-funded radio station being allowed to pursue a course of populist programming, when a regional opera company could not? And indeed once the CBC management has managed to wreck a national treasure–one of the things Americans have envied us for–and deliver radio and television just like their commercial “competition” will politicians not turn around and say, “why are we funding this”? I sure would.

Does the rush to serve the youth market even make sense?

It may have escaped the marketing braintrust at CBC but the older demographic that they have traditionally appealed to is not disappearing, but rather growing, as the baby boom matures–and older citizens will always be with us. The CBC seems to be saying, “if we don’t attract young people, our audience members are all going to be dead in 10 years” but this is a very simplistic analysis. Every day people are getting older, so there are new people always entering the mature demographic that has a taste for thoughtful, challenging programming in news, opinion and the arts. And serious music has always appealed to a larger proportion of the older demographic than youth. This has been true for centuries.

The CBC move to axe Two New Hours was made quietly and swiftly before effective opposition could be mounted. Now that the changes at CBC Radio Two are in place, there is opportunity for the mature, sophisticated music community to speak out if their interests are no longer being served by their public broadcaster. We need to reclaim our public broadcaster. In the meantime, oddly enough, in the Toronto market, the classical music community is being best served by WNED FM from Buffalo, NY.

Radio culture used to flow the other way across the border.

Want to speak out?

Lobby your MP to keep CBC Radio Two free of commercial pop music
Find your MP here

Contact Mark Steinmetz head of CBC Two programming

Contact members of Heritage Canada committee responsible for commenting and recommendations on the role of CBC as a public broadcaster in preserving Canadian culture

Read another more informed and involved voice on the demise of Two New Hours.

(I will add more links to this post as I find them)

Tags: , ,

Bread and Roses Life, L. Rogers
Print Friendly, PDF & Email