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

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Inside: The Musik für das Ende Score

In the forward to his score Claude Vivier describes Musik für das Ende as “a Ceremony – of the End”, an exploration of the relationships established between individuals at this “final stage of life”. The score for the piece uses unconventional notation to explore this interaction musically. Let’s take a look at this unusual score…  Read More

Choral Text: The Music of James MacMillan

Choral text for The Music of James MacMillan on March 8 PROGRAM Knut Nystedt, (1915 – 2014, Norway) Immortal Bach (1998) Choir 21 Virtuoso String Orchestra   James MacMillan, (b. 1959, Scotland) Gallant Weaver (2002) Choir 21   James Rolfe, (b. 1961, Canada) When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (2006) Choir 21   R. Murray Schafer, (b. 1933,…  Read More

Program Notes: The Music of James MacMillan

Soundstreams welcomes back preeminent Scottish composer/conductor Sir James MacMillan. Our first collaboration with MacMillan was in 2001 when we presented the North American premiere of his Raising Sparks, a work that reflects the deep affinities between Christianity and Judaism. And in 2006 Soundstreams’ University Voices toured his major choral composition revolving around St. Dominic, Sun…  Read More

Program Notes: Squeezebox

Soundstreams Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney told me recently that one of his favourite ways to feed his creativity when he designs concert programs is by thinking of “families of instruments in all their varieties.” Examples of the results in previous season have included Mass Brass (2011) and Piano Ecstacy (2013). And so tonight in Squeezebox…  Read More

Program Notes: Beyond the Aria

George Crumb American composer George Crumb (b. 1929) once described the essential acoustic of his music as “a kind of echoing, reverberant acoustic of haunting sounds that cross the river, and bounce between the hills.” Crumb likens this quality to one of the vocal styles used in his 1970 composition, Ancient Voices of Children, as…  Read More

Program Notes: Encuentros

Jeffrey Beecher, Serouj Kradjian and Grisha Groyachev perform at Reimagining Flamenco, November 2013 Soundstreams welcomes back Serouj Kradjian, the versatile pianist and composer, with his newest collaboration in a series of genre-crossing adventures in the music of Latin cultures. In recent years Kradjian, at Soundstreams’ initiative, has created imaginative programs of newly composed and re-arranged…  Read More

Program Notes: Song for Athene

Tonight’s concert celebrates the Choral music of English composer Sir John Tavener (1944–2013) in the manner that Soundstreams has often presented him: in the company of other music with which he had certain affinities. The English choral tradition is represented, but also sounds from the East and from North America, both directions that interested Tavener….  Read More

Program Notes: The Whisper Opera

Almost all the music you could ever want is on the internet right now, recorded perfectly and played perfectly and accessible immediately, 24 hours a day.  On the one hand this is fantastic—I can hear huge amounts of music, from different genres and time periods and traditions and cultures, any time I want.  On the…  Read More

Program Notes: Vespers

The Christian service of Vespers or evening prayers, refers to the earliest office in the Roman Catholic Liturgy, dating from the second century. It was also referred to as the Office of Lights, given that it was celebrated at the hour that candles were lit in the Church, not only for light, but for symbolic…  Read More

Program Notes: The Seasons

Antonio Vivaldi’s Op. 8, published in 1725, is a collection of 12 concertos grouped under the collective title The Contest Between Harmony and Invention. The first four of these concertos are The Four Seasons. Harmony and invention can be understood in this instance as the interplay of absolute music and descriptive music. It’s arguable that…  Read More

From the Seasons to Mojave Dreaming

Music inspired by the seasons or by The Four Seasons. Nature, weather, the seasons, atmospheric phenomena… all have long been sources of inspiration for artists and composers. I can count myself on that list. I remember being a student and telling my composition professor at the time that I wanted to write a piece about…  Read More

Program Notes: Airline Icarus

Airline Icarus was commissioned by a small Vancouver opera company, Opera Breve, in 2001. Soundstreams’ Artistic Director, Lawrence Cherney, was among those who witnessed the project’s first public workshop. The untimely death of Opera Breve’s co-founder John Juliani in 2003 cut short the company’s plans to develop the work. Lawrence and Soundstreams continued to support…  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

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

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

Program Notes: The Music of Arvo Pärt

Soundstreams first brought the music of Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) to audiences in 1993. That earlier concert of music by the world famous Estonian composer included the Canadian premiere of his Berlin Mass, in a rare setting for solo voices and organ. Since then, Soundstreams audiences have heard a great variety of Pärt’s minimalistic music…  Read More

Inside the Music: Letters to God by Akira Miyoshi

We have been enchanted in the office by Haruka Fujii’s copies of the Japanese Children’s Letters to God books. On March 5 at our Fujii Percussion and Voices concert, Rika Fujii will perform Miyoshi’s piece inspired by these books with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, Chorale. Here is a little about the books and a peek…  Read More