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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

THE SCOOP | Soundstreams Taps Rising Voice In Toronto Arts Scene As Executive Director

By Michael Vincent on December 30, 2019

Menon Dwarka, Executive Director, Soundstreams
Menon Dwarka named Executive Director of Soundstreams.

After the departure of Soundstreams‘ former Executive Director, Ben Dietschi, last November, the contemporary music organisation has been on the hunt for a replacement.

Arts leader Menon Dwarka has confirmed he will be stepping into the role.

“It’s a dream job for me, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about my work with this incredible organization in the new year,” Dwarka wrote.

“My goal over the next few years will be to more clearly connect works like Hell’s Fury and Musik für das Ende with the global conversations on refugees and the LGBTQ2 community, but truth be told, I’m most excited about reframing the works of Canadian composers whose work might be influenced by the musical and religious traditions of Newcomers,” Dwarka told Ludwig Van.

“Toronto is still a haven for tolerant, thoughtful discussion, and it’s time we in the music community started this dialogue in earnest, if for no other reason than to communicate that not only do these communities belong to Canada, but many of our greatest works, including many by R. Murray Schafer, belong to them. I remember my own shock as a teenager realizing that Schafer’s Beyond the Great Gate of Light incorporated the words of Rabindranath Tagore, who not only was one of India’s first Nobel laureates, but also the man after whom my brother was named. Soundstreams has had almost four decades of presenting contemporary music at the highest level, but I think with incredible organization that Ben and Lawrence have built, Soundstreams can be a leader in how all of the “othered” communities can hold space together.”

Since 2015, Soundstreams has been basking in a 67% increase in revenue, allowing them the luxury of expanding their creative focus. New initiatives include ambitious new operas and staged work such as Two Odysseys, with plans for touring down the road.

The fit between Soundstreams and Dwarka seems to be a good one. His background is both eclectic and forward-thinking.  A former composer and arts administrator in New York City, Dwarka returned to Toronto in 2013 after 20 years abroad. Since returning, he has served as Executive Director at 918 Bathurst (2014-17), Arts Etobicoke (2017-19), the Art of Time Ensemble (2019).

Dwarka currently sits on the board of the Canadian Opera Company, and is chair of the COC’s EDI committee.

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