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Soundstreams showcases the work of Canadian and international composers through innovative musical experiences.

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What to do when the lights go out

This concert was very different for Soundstreams in that it was one of the first occasions were the music was a mixture of the composed and the improvised. This style of music, coming mainly out of Jazz, but with roots in lots of other music from throughout the world, is created in the moment–through real-time…  Read More

How do you define Improvisation and Composition?

The definition between improvisation and compositions isn’t as objective as you might think. There as many definitions of the two practices as there are people practicing them. There are two ideas that commonly come up: composition uses a pre-conceived idea and improvisation is something that happens in real time. But other than these two simple…  Read More

Artist Q&A: Paul Grabowsky, Australian Art Orchestra

In 1994, Paul, with the assistance of a small group of committed Melbournians, founded the Australian Art Orchestra, and remained its director for almost 20 years before passing the baton to Peter Knight. Paul is recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent jazz pianist, and joins Soundstreams tonight as one of Passion’s composers and performers. We chatted with…  Read More

Program Notes: Passion after St. Matthew

A musical setting of the Passion of Christ can be an ambitious and possibly daunting undertaking. To reinterpret the greatest historical example of such a setting, namely J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, could perhaps be even more so. But this is exactly what tonight’s composers have done, and the results are compelling. The Australian Art…  Read More

Guest Post: Alec Hall and ‘Death in Venice’

Alec Hall, one of the participants in the 2014 Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop, discusses Death in Venice, his new work composed expressly for the workshop and gives us clues that give us context for this piece. Over the past few years, my interests have moved away from music that locates itself within traditional paradigms of…  Read More

Guest Post: André Mestre on ‘Corpo Confesso’

André Mestre is one of the 6 participants in the upcoming Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop under the direction of composers Ye Xiaogang, Juliet Palmer and the Cecilia Quartet as resident ensemble. André discusses Corpo Confesso, the work he will be working during the workshop and gives us an insight into his creative process. Ever since I…  Read More

Artist Q&A: R. Murray Schafer

Soundstreams: Most of the works you've composed for Soundstreams have been for multiple choirs (Death of Shalana, The Soul of God, and The Fall Into Light), how are your choices as a composer affected by the number of singers? R. Murray Schafer: We are very lucky to have an opportunity through Soundstreams to present works…  Read More

Behind the Scenes: Juliet Palmer’s Sweat

Sweat takes place in a contemporary sweatshop, the multilingual libretto conveying the global nature of the garment industry. Departing radically from traditional opera, this piece sheds the orchestra and focuses on the musical and sonic potential of the human voice in counterpoint to the sound world of the sweatshop. Here are some thoughts from Juliet…  Read More

Program Notes: Canadian Choral Celebration

Presenting the masterworks of contemporary choral music has been a priority for Soundstreams from its very beginning. In 1994, when Soundstreams mounted the first Canadian performance of Henryk Górecki’s Miserere, it was with the Bach Elgar Choir, an amateur choir based in Hamilton, Ontario. This season, as we celebrate 60 years of professional choral singing…  Read More

Q&A with Anton Piatigorsky

Anton Piatigorsky is an award-winning writer of fiction, plays and librettos. As a playwright, he is the recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore awards for best new play, the Summerworks Prize, and the 2005 Siminovitch protege award for playwrighting. We chatted with him via email to find out how his partnership with Brian Current on…  Read More

Creating a Hybrid Bach

When Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (or Weihnachts-Oratorium) was brought to my attention I knew that it had to be the source material. It was not only timely for the season and a beautiful piece of music, but it also has some extra-musical meaning that influenced my choice. This work is a mixture of the sacred and…  Read More

Artist Q&A: Serouj Kradjian

We have been developing our relationship with pianist Serouj Kradjian over the past four years, as a performer in Ashes in the Wind (2010) and Piano Ecstasy (2013), as well as in Tango! (2011), for which he was also a featured composer with his piece Tango Melancolio. We spoke to Serouj via e-mail about his…  Read More

Program Notes: Reimagining Flamenco

One of Soundstreams’ aspirations is to offer our audiences a rich concert experience displaying contrasting musical styles and cross-cultural creative connections, such as the Tango! presentation in 2011 or last season’s Music for China. Tonight, we are pleased to have the collaboration of Russian guitarist Grisha Goryachev, Armenian/Canadian pianist Serouj Kradjian, Spanish cantaora Antonia Contreras and Canadian composer André…  Read More

Are Orchestras in Crisis?

In his article America's Orchestras are in Crisis,  Philip Kennicott raises a number of valid issues in his critique of programming by American orchestras and others. He argues that the attempt to make the 21st century orchestra “relevant” by downplaying the importance of attentive listening in concert halls is damaging the very institution they hope…  Read More

Composer Q&A: Riho Esko Maimets

Lawrence has been following the work of Riho since attending a performance of his Karen Kieser Prize-winning composition, squall, in 2011. He was immediately struck by the young composer’s talent and knew that he wanted to support and encourage his talent. Ave Maria is Riho’s first commission from Soundstreams. We chatted with Riho, who was…  Read More

What’s With Walt Whitman?

I guess I like working with Walt Whitman. My new work Open Road is our fifth collaboration. Soundstreams has commissioned Six Songs (2001) and When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (2007). And before that came Four Songs (1989) and Come Lovely and Soothing Death (2000). What is it about Whitman that makes beautiful music?…  Read More

Meet Grisha Goryachev: Reimagining Flamenco

A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Grisha Goryachev is renowned for his extraordinary musical sensitivity and technical virtuosity in both classical and flamenco styles. Grisha is one of very few guitarists in the world who is reviving the tradition of solo flamenco guitar in a concert setting that was practiced by legendary flamenco masters such…  Read More

Airline Icarus, a new opera: Inspiration & History

Airline Icarus is about the intersecting thoughts of passengers aboard a commercial airplane. It explores themes of hubris mixed with technology, the forced intimacy of strangers and flying too close to the sun. Over the course of the work, the plane becomes brighter and eventually vanishes.  Composer Brian Current In September of 1983, a Korean…  Read More