Welcome to Now Hear This 2018, New Music Edmonton’s 7th annual celebration of cutting edge practices in sound and music. Planning for this festival has been underway for well over a year, and we’ve assembled a fantastic roster of artists and music rarely, if ever, heard in Edmonton. The festival includes a superb roster of local artists and visitors, all of them certain to bring us amazing new musical experiences. We hope you’ll consider joining us for the entire weekend: consider buying a pass for the whole festival – it’s a great deal, and we’re confident that you’ll want to see everything in this wonderful lineup of events. If the cost of admission is an issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work out a solution.
Join us in the beautiful surrounds of Holy Trinity Anglican Church for this informal festival warm-up. A select group of festival artists will offer offer exclusive performances of music not included elsewhere in Now Hear This. We are delighted to partner with our friends at Holy Trinity in making Now Hear This part of their regular series of afternoon concerts. Watch for an update of exactly who will be on hand to perform. Admission is by donation.
Spend your lunchtime with us at City Hall and be prepared for an astonishing, moving and deeply profound experience as a band of some 20 Edmonton musicians present Earth Ears, a work by musical pioneer and prophet Pauline Oliveros. The City Hall Players will each bring musical materials of their own invention and, under the leadership of Raylene Campbell and Allison Balcetis, will assemble a beautiful, meditative ritual. With the musicians spread throughout the City Hall atrium you can sit in the middle of the sound on the chairs provided, or take a stroll around to experience the result from different perspectives. Free admission.
Don Berner – Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute, Ryan Timoffee – Keyboards and Piano, Gord Graber – Drums, Cymbals and Percussion. With special guest Nicolás Arnáez – Live Processing, Bass and Found Objects
Don Berner, Ryan Timoffee and Gord Graber are familiar names in Edmonton music circles, and New Music Edmonton is proud to feature them on our opening night show. Moving way beyond the confines of a standard jazz performance, Tapestry, with guest artist, Nicolás Arnáez, promises a scintillating, possibly startling, combination of straight ahead and free form jazz, dance, electronic, electroacoustic and chamber music.
After the Don Berner show, stick around Studio 96 for the second show of the night when we present a unique double bill of performances beyond categorization. Mixing live music, electronics, theatre and text, Live Mix is our chance to shine the spotlight on remarkable innovators from Edmonton and beyond.
Moonbathers is an interdisciplinary collaboration between poet Tab C.A. (2016 Edmonton Slam Team finalist and original member of The Edmonton Poetry Brothel) and experimental musician Ocra (the solo project of Myles Bartel). The duo formed for the purpose of performing at the release party of Tab C.A.’s Moonbather chapbook. This will be their second live collaboration based on that material. Tab C.A.’s poetry strives to create honest, heartfelt connections and bring their audience into shared catharsis, while the music of Ocra specializes in sounds of brooding and meditative drones, loops and excursions via prepared guitar, vocals, and more.
Under The Sea is a narrative about being invisible and in plain sight at the same time. The performance is built using cassette samples with elements of Musique Concrète and the influences of Michele Chion and Steve Reich. The cassette medium is truly central to this Gel Nails’ show, but not just with recorded sounds: tape warble and hiss are features of the work, not to mention the mechanical sounds of cassette decks opening and closing. There’s also going to be plenty of sonic contributions emanating from the sound of the stop/ play/ pause/ rewind and eject buttons being called into action. Connecting it all: looping live electronics, slabs of guitar and vocals.
Chenoa Anderson, flutes, Don Ross, clarinets, Charles Stolte, narration, Mark Segger, percussion, Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp, keyboards, Haley Simons, keyboard, The Vaughan String Quartet: Neda Yamach, violin, Mattia Berrini, violin, Fabiola Amorim, viola, Silvia Buttiglione, ‘cello, and Jeff Johnson, bass. Conducted by Miguel Bellusci.
The 2018 Now Hear This Festival is pleased to welcome renowned Argentinian conductor and composer Miguel Bellusci to Edmonton to lead some of our finest musicians in a brilliant evening of music by composers from his own country. This is a rare opportunity to hear works by Mauricio Kagel, a towering figure of the post-war era, in selections from his mammoth opus, Die Stücke der Windrose. In these complex, yet inviting and humorous works, Kagel re-interprets aspects of traditional Argentinian music such as tango and carnavalito through the lens of a new music chamber ensemble with and amazing percussion set-up that including anvils, electric fans and stones. The program also includes a mind-blowing, kaleidoscopic work for string quartet and octophonic, three-dimensional live electronics by Edmonton’s very own Nicolás Arnáez, performed by local favourites, The Vaughan Quartet.
To finish the show, we are thrilled to present the world premiere of a new work by Miguel Bellusci himself, a very Kagelian piece of musical theatre, in which a doctoral candidate in the future (played by none other than Charles Stolte) talks about the music of the 20th century, asking such questions as, “Why does the piano have keys, when everyone just plays the strings from the inside?”
We’ll be around after Windrose is over and you should be too! The Listening Lounge will be a free, relaxed gathering space for festival-goers to relax and enjoy the festival in a unique way. You can meet some of the festival artists, look at scores and other artifacts, and enjoy refreshments and discussion. We’ll also be setting up some places for attendees to listen to and share recordings, and to watch videos of music and sound art. This is kind of an experiment for us, but we’re looking forward to enjoying an hour or two spending time with you!
On the first weekend of spring, especially, with the sun shining through stained glass, an afternoon recital in Holy Trinity’s exquisite sanctuary is an extraordinary experience. Now Hear This is delighted to welcome Edmonton-raised oboist Catherine Lee as she returns to our city for a performance certain to be part of the magic of the newly minted spring. Her compelling, beautifully curated program of Canadian works will bring to mind many aspects of the natural world – flowers, wind, colour, the movement of sand and rock sediment through water and the irresistibly hypnotic nocturnal songs of whales.
Catherine Lee is a renowned oboist able to produce the full range of sounds from lyrically traditional to grittily experimental. She is also a highly regarded and sought-after improviser and has chosen this program specifically to explore the continuum between improvised and strictly notated music, often within the same composition. Combining oboe and oboe d’amore with a rich stream of expertly diffused electronic sounds, this recital will fill the phenomenal acoustic of Holy Trinity with magical and memorable music.
Please see the note about our Listening Lounges for Friday, March 23!
Dave Burrell, piano, Steve Swell, trombone, Mark Segger, drums and percussion
Collaborations between visiting and local artists have been an important stream of most Now Hear This Festivals. Continuing that tradition, join us and revel in the unique combination of New York’s Dave Burrell/ Steve Swell Duo with Edmonton percussionist Mark Segger. You won’t want to miss this explosive meeting of three great musicians in a show created especially for Now Hear This.
The Burrell/ Swell Duo first worked together in 2011 and have given performances of Dave Burrell’s Civil War Project music at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, at the Vision Festival in New York andin Houston presented by the Nameless Sound Foundation. For Now Hear This, the duo has invited Edmonton’s Mark Segger to join with them in what is certain to be a “masterclass” in infusing improvisation with a stunning array of sound and rhythm drawn from all corners of the jazz and new music worlds. The trio’s highly developed improvisational skills and phenomenal sensitivity to each other’s playing will be radically, readily apparent as they bring us an intense, absorbing evening of music rarely heard in our city.
Our third show of the day is the second of our unique Live Mix double bills, once again bringing cutting edge, risk-taking performers into focus. This is going to be fantastic way to finish the day off as we pair…
This is an orchestra of a different kind – a collection of a half dozen or so decommissioned propane tanks and some audio transducers. Feed them some pre-recorded voices, sine-wave oscillations and live amplified brass, let the transducers do their work (i.e. converting the sound into vibrations) and voila: an orchestra of resonating propane tanks! Since each tank is unique it will resonate in different way, resulting in the room being filled with gorgeous, bell-like sounds. Overfill Undergrowth can exist as both an installation and live performance, and Ryan Hemphill will offer some of both during this performance. With the gas tanks set up surrounding the audience, expect to be immersed in a rich, warm, constantly changing pool of ambient sound.
blablaTrains is a duo formed by Takuto Fukuda (DIY sensor instrument), and Ana Dall’Ara-Majek (extended Theremin). Respectively from Japan and France, they moved to Canada to study composition and to take the train. The duo develops new ways of narrativity and musical meaning by extending idiomatic gestures to theatrics.
The improvisation performance ‘blablaOdyssey_3’ is a theatrical exploration of two instruments that require a kind of choreography to generate sound. The duo uses electronic sounds generated by their instruments and recordings from different travels by train. Those sounds are processed in real-time with body movements and hands gestures. The performance illustrates a surrealistic odyssey in which they create links between our two instruments and the electroacoustic world.
In this workshop, blablaTrains will talk about the way they conceived Human-Computer Interaction with their respective gestural interfaces. Participants will have the opportunity to try Takuto’s gyro-based sensor instrument and Ana’s augmented Theremin in order to experience the cause-effect relationship between gestures and sound. After the talk, audience members will be solicited for a demonstration of Human-Computer Interaction by taking part in an audiovisual game-piece that was specifically designed for the improvisors. Audience members that want to volunteer for the game are encouraged to bring their own musical instruments!
UltraViolet: Roger Admiral, piano, Chenoa Anderson, flutes, Allison Balcetis, saxophones, Amy Nicholson, ‘cello
Closing our festival this year: Edmonton’s amazing new music group, UltraViolet. This quartet gave an awe-inspiring debut performance of new, multi-media works during our 2017 festival, and we have every reason to believe they will outdo themselves as the closing act of Now Hear This 2018.
Amy, Allison, Chenoa and Roger, as individuals and as co-members of various ensembles, have a phenomenal collective experience in bringing new works to Edmonton audiences. There’s really nothing they can’t play, and even the most demanding and unconventional musical scores become magnificent musical experiences in their hands. The program for this year’s Now Hear This closer has been curated by UltraViolet, and promises to bring the festival to a memorable close while also inaugurating Edmonton’s legendary Yardbird Suite as one of New Music Edmonton’s venues.
Well – the UltraViolet concert isn’t actually the end of the festival – this is! The wonderful atmosphere of Yardbird Suite provides us with an excellent place to unwind at the end of the Now Hear This weekend. So, we cordially invite you to stay for a while after the last notes are played by UltraViolet. Refreshments will be plentiful and it will be a great chance to talk to artists and friends old and new.
New Music Edmonton is the city’s foremost organization promoting Canadian composers and producing some of the region’s best new music concerts. Over its 25 years, it has produced over a thousand pieces of new music and dozens of world and Canadian premieres. Entering its next 25 years, New Music Edmonton will engage a wider new music audience, reach out and present concerts in new spaces, and expose new people to the best new music this region has to offer.