With regular programming shuttered by the pandemic lockdown, the Royal Conservatory of Music and Koerner Hall has announced that this year’s 21C Festival of New Music will be presented as a streaming concert. The performance will be broadcast on Thursday, April 22.
The program is titled 21C: New Music in a New World, and includes world premieres and other recent innovative works. Performances were filmed in Koerner Hall to capture its glorious acoustics.
French-born, Montréal-based composer Philippe Leroux’s Air-Ré was composed in 1992, and requires a nimble percussionist who can play marimba and vibraphone at the same time. Leroux’s notes say the pieces is intended to be heard as “a sonic metaphor for life, as the elements that are dissipated give rise, in turn, to new forms.” The composer and educator’s works have been widely performed in North America and Europe.
American cellist/composer Matt Brubeck‘s Entsprechung takes its inspiration from Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 4, op. 102. Commissioned for VC2 Cello Duo as part of their Beethoven’s Cellists album, Brubeck uses echoes and a dialogue between the instruments in his piece. The title of Fjóla Evans‘ Ridge & Furrow refers to the traces left by a medieval plow by years of use in the same place. Also commissioned by VC2, the piece cycles over music from history, including Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in A Major, pp. 69.
Swiss cellist and composer Thomas Demenga wrote Duo? O, du… for himself and his talented brother Patrick to perform. The work has been described as a “chaotic unanimity”, and is a playful banter between two performers.
Commissioned by Philip Thomas with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Cassandra Miller‘s Philip the Wanderer adapts Mozambican rhythms. Miller calls it “my first exploration of transcribing with fetishistic loyalty the movements of another human being.” The composer uses a computer-led transcription process grounded in Southeast African musical traditions.
Royal Conservatory alumna Morgan-Paige Melbourne makes her Koerner Hall debut as a composer. Her three pieces come together in a world premiere that takes audiences from the semi-improvised The Night Before, a song for piano and voice (In My Meadow) and Chains x Dignity Overture, a work inspired by the idea of hope in the midst of the past year’s uncertainties.
Ryan Davis will premiere a new version of his Colour You Like for viola and electronics, inspired by visualizing the clash of primary colours in the darkness. Along with classical music, Davis counts folk, electronic music, and hip-hop among his influences.
Performers draw from a roster of young Toronto talent, including Duo Holz, (Aysel Taghi-Zada, violin and Michael Murphy, marimba and vibraphone), and VC2 Cello Duo (Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt). Wesley Shen and Morgan-Paige Melbourne will perform on the piano, with Ryan Davis on viola and electronics.
Dr. Peter Simon, Michael and Sonja Koerner President & CEO, and Mervon Mehta, Executive Director, Performing Arts, commented via a media release. “We are committed to offering inspiring live music in a way that is safe and responsible. We hope you enjoy the performance and look forward to seeing you again throughout the season.”
21C: New Music in a New World
Philippe Leroux: Air-Ré
Matt Brubeck: Entsprechung
Fjóla Evans: Ridge & Furrow
Thomas Demenga: Duo? O, du…
Cassandra Miller: Philip the Wanderer
I. Gently rumbling without direction
II. Broadly, surveilling the great expanse
III. Joyfully, jauntily, as if running away from regret itself
Morgan-Paige Melbourne: The Night Before (world premiere)
Morgan-Paige Melbourne: In My Meadow (world premiere)
Morgan-Paige Melbourne: Chains x Dignity Overture (world premiere)
Ryan Davis: Colour You Like (world premiere of the new version)
21C: New Music in a New World is available to stream on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. Details here.
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