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Robert Aitken, artistic director

Generation 2014


Sunday November 16, 2014 at The Music Gallery
Ensemble contemporain de Montréal
Véronique Lacroix direction
Co-presented with The Music Gallery
Introduction 7:15 | Concert 8:00
The Music Gallery, 197 John Street [MAP]
Reservations: 416.961.9594

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The Ensemble contemporain de Montreal showcases a cross section of young Canadian composers.

Programme:

Marie-Pierre Brasset (Canada 1981) VIDEO
coup_coupé (2014)
Alec Hall (Canada/USA 1985) VIDEO
Object Permanence (2014)
Evelin Ramon (Cuba/Canada 1979) VIDEO
Labyrinth of Light (2014)
Anthony Tan (Canada/Germany 1978) VIDEO
Ksana II (2014)

NB: The post-concert reception, co-sponsored by Jeffrey and Tomiko Smyth and the Canadian Music Centre, will include the launch of a new Centrediscs CD Magister Ludi featuring the music of Gordon Fitzell performed by ECM+.

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Program Notes

Marie-Pierre Brasset holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from Université Laval (class of Eric Morin), as well as a Master’s degree from Conservatoire de musique de Montréal (classes of Michel Gonneville, in composition, and Serge Provost, in analysis). With the support of the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture, she is currently preparing a doctorate on vocal music at Université de Montréal under the supervision of Isabelle Panneton. In addition to her studies in music, she has obtained a bachelor degree with major in History, culture and society from Université du Québec à Montréal.

Her contemplative listening of nature guides her music towards a broad and organic formal breathing as well as a profusion of melodic and motivic inventions. The ideas of directness and clarity imposed themselves little by little to her aesthetic, expressing a will to establish an intimate relationship between composer, performer and listener.

cou_coupé
I have a particular fondness for lyrical abstraction, a trend in abstract painting practiced by such artists as Riopelle, Bryen, and Wols. This approach to the act of creation has the advantage of allowing material to come into being freely, directly, and in a way that is entirely personal.
I composed my musical material in the same way for cou_coupé. Clearly, what emerged out of the sessions was permeated by all sorts of influences. Here, I can say that the works of Schnittke and Kancheli, an opera I am working on, and the practice of painting on canvas all contributed to shaping the content of these “found” musical objects. Once I have them in my hands, I work hard to question, transform, refine, and—consciously— structure them into music.

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Alec Hall currently lives in New York City where he studies with George Lewis in the doctoral program at Columbia University. His works are primarily experimental in nature, with a strong focus on semanticity and representation
in acoustic structures.
His music is frequently performed throughout Europe and North America, with notable premieres by the Ensemble SurPlus, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the JACK Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble and Talea Ensemble, among others. He has won five prizes in the SOCAN competition for young composers and was a finalist for the Jules Leger Prize in 2011. Principal teachers include Tristan Murail, Philippe Manoury and Fred Lerdahl, while he has also worked closely with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Takasugi and Roger Reynolds. He is also the founder and co-director of Qubit, a non-profit organization in New York dedicated to presenting events highlighting new and experimental works with electronics. Alec holds a M.A. in composition from the University of California, San Diego and a B.Mus. in composition and violin performance from McGill University.

Object Permanence
A basic concept, most frequently invoked when speaking of developmental milestone for infants and other young creatures. The exact definition itself, however, inspires a great deal more mystery: object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).

This “understanding” is deeply complex, and in fact forms the foundation for the totality of our engagement as discrete beings with both the physical and social universe. We all wield an abstract, immaterial form of object permanence. For instance, we know that gravity exists and will always pull us to the ground, even if we cannot consciously sense it; social codes and cultural norms govern our behavior, despite their invisibility; or, that during the composition of a violin concerto the canon of such historical works is omnipresent in the mind’s eye.

It was partially with this understanding that I composed this piece, together with a deconstruction of the relationship between soloist and accompaniment. Using varied sources, from pop stars like Ke$ha and Drake, to summer blockbusters or Mozart violin concerti, I took both figurative and literal inspiration from sampling other prominent “soloists”. The materials from such moments were then woven into an existing musical fabric, or else became the supports on which longer segments were constructed.

In Object Permanence, our continuously present object is the abstract concept of the star performer. It materializes in strikingly different iterations throughout the work, during which one has to have faith that it is is always there, even when you cannot hear it.

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Evelin Ramon, a native of Cuba, completed a Master’s degree in composition from Université de Montréal under the supervision of Ana Sokolovic╠ü. She previously studied piano, choir conducting and singing at Santiago de Cuba’s Conservatory, as well as composition at Universidad de las Artes of Havana. She has attended seminars led by Mauricio Sotelo, Beat Furrer, Philippe Leroux, John Rea, Denys Bouliane et Lasse Thoresen. Her work has been rewarded by first prizes at the Universidad de las Artes music festival, at the national composition contest of Havana and at the Concours de composition d’opéra de l’Université de Montréal (2011). She also won the Concours de composition Serge-Garant 2011 and the 2010 composition contest of the Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal. In 2012, Evelin won a residency in composition of the Faculté de Musique de l’UdM, which allowed her to work with the École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal.

Labyrinth of Light
When I began working on this piece, I happened upon, somewhat by chance, the poem Fairy-Land by American poet Edgar Allan Poe. Powerful, yet touching, sound images: just what I needed to nourish this music. Something that would communicate and at the same time trigger feelings like urgency, hope, darkness melancholy, and strength. All this was summed up in a few words within the poem itself: Labyrinth of light (which became the title of the piece). The harmony that is used in the work comes mainly from a system of chords based on a series of multiphonics produced by the bassoon in the piece. This series also served to generate the only melodic material in the piece, which may not be apparent on first listening. The poem itself allowed me to determine the shape of the work: four sections, each containing an internal microstructure, like so many sometimes interwoven ramifications or tresses.

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Anthony Tan is a Canadian composer now residing in Germany where he is pursuing the Meisterklasse at the Musikhochschule Dresden with Mark Andre and Franz Martin Olbrisch. His music has been performed by Ensemble Recherche, Les Cris de Paris, Ensemble Cairn, L’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne, Ensemble Moderne Akademie, le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. He has presented his music at the Stockholm Sound and Music Computing Conference, the New York Electroacoustic Music Festival, ICMC, Voix-Nouvelles, Domain Forget and Acanthes. Also involved with music for contemporary dance, he has written for the Merce Cunningham School, Tangente, and the Bravo!FACT dance movie commissions. Anthony holds a Ph.D. (ABD) from McGill University in Montreal, under the supervision of John Rea (Composition) and Steven McAdams (Psychoacoustics). From 2009 to 2010 he studied mixed music with Philippe Leroux and the analysis of electroacoustic music with Robert Normandeau at the Université de Montréal.

Ksana II
Ksana defines a Sanskrit word for ‘moment’. This moment can be considered a single mental experience or literally a measurement of a chronological instant. I began a triptych of works that explores this concept of ‘moment’ from various musical perspectives. Within this second iteration I explore the ‘moment’ from a microscopic point of view. One may consider the entire work as a representation of a single moment, or a single impulse, that was temporally stretched and internally observed. This single moment, however, contains within it, many musical ‘situations’. I composed each situation as an object in which gestural, ambient, discursive, and energetic processes occur, presenting, hopefully, a series of musical situations contained within a single moment.

Theoretically, this work is a prolational or mensural canon, often deployed in Renaissance music, whereby melodic streams of different rhythmic proportions become simultaneously juxtaposed. Instead of a melody of pitches, however, I use a series of timbre structures, creating a timbre ‘melody’. With each instrument having its own timbre ‘melody’ and simultaneously layered with other instruments, we achieve a multi-layered textured stream whereby an ensemble/emergent sound occurs. Furthermore, by presenting horizontal constructions at different temporal proportions, I intend to create multiple temporal perceptions and perhaps lead the listener to the experience of a timeless whole.

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More than an ensemble, ECM+ produces innovative, multidisciplinary concerts and showcases Canadian musical creation throughout the country. Renowned for her flair and her appetite for risk-taking, artistic director Véronique Lacroix is passionate about creation and, with her musicians, is helping to foster the next generation of composers.

Since it was founded in 1987, ECM+ has premiered more than 230 mostly Canadian works. Its productions have garnered prestigious awards, including the 2002 Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal, the 2002 Prix Opus for Musical Event of the Year, and the 2007 Prix Opus for Artistic Direction of the Year. In addition to its regular season’s productions, ECM+ has, every two years since 2000, toured Canada with the Generation project. Moreover, the ensemble has participated in international exchanges with France, Belgium, Mexico, Ukraine, and Singapore.

ECM+ has performed at the Cervantino International Festival, the Montreal/New Music Festival, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, the Québec’s Musiques au present festival, Toronto’s Massey Hall New Music Festival, and at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville. The ensemble has released nine CDs, and its concerts are regularly broadcast on Radio-Canada’s Espace Musique and the CBC. ECM+ has been in residence at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal since 1998.

Véronique Lacroix completed her musical studies in 1988 at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, where she was the recipient of numerous distinctions. She founded the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) in 1987 to be able to work closely with composers, and served as artistic director for several ensembles in Quebec and Ontario. The winner of multiple conducting awards from both the Canada Council for the Arts (twice) and the Ontario Arts Council, she also received the 2007 Prix Opus for Artistic Direction of the Year, honouring her 20 years at the helm of ECM+, whose programming offers audacious multidisciplinary productions. Passionate about creation, she discovers emerging Canadian composers and showcases their work for the public, with whom she is eager to share her vision.

In recognition of her involvement in the creation of numerous Canadian works, she was appointed as Ambassador for the Canadian Music Centre and won the Friends of Canadian Music Award 2009, awarded jointly by the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers. Since 1995, Véronique Lacroix has enjoyed directing the apprenticeship of young virtuosos at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, preparing their journey through the contemporary music repertoire, and she is regularly invited to conduct in Canada and abroad.