Transposing the intellectual power and emotional energy of Anne Carson’s poetry to the stage, Bouchard’s electronic score incorporates live voice, trumpet, trombone, accordion and piano performed by Bellows and Brass. The trio’s expert players (Guy Few, Joseph Petric and Eric Vaillancourt) also double as actors, taking on the various roles written by Carson.
Commissioned and premiered by Bellows and Brass Poems from Men in the Off Hours by Anne Carson Video by Yan Breuleux and Fredéric St-Hiliare Roger Psutka, sound engineer | Sandor Ajzenstat, stage manager Director: Keith Turnbull Artistic Director and Composer: Linda Bouchard
Organized around seven poems excerpted from Men in the Off Hours by Anne Carson, Murderous Little World brings together gifted artists from diverse experiences to create an evening length multimedia performance that fuses music, poetry, theatre, video art, and lighting. Three musicians/actors perform on trumpet, trombone, accordion and piano live against an electronic score integrated with video projections, both live and pre-recorded.
Murderous Little World takes as its inspiration the terse yet epic poetic work of Anne Carson. The poems conjure up a textured universe of “little worlds” that span continents, and ages of human existence. Carson’s phrases seem to be made up of fragments or artifacts and point to individuals’ searching for truth against waves of corruption and cruelty. Bouchard’s musical compositions bring to mind the title of Carson’s book, from which the poems are taken and the collegiality, competitiveness and brutality that this title implies. The music, like the poems, deals in fragments and strange juxtapositions to form a compelling set of concise, interrelated themes or motifs whose brightness and audacity lend themselves to the splashes of colour and light that is possible with current video projection technologies.
The musical and dramatic response to each poem is unique with each selection having an individual voice expressed through specific vocals – i.e. whispered, slow recitation, fully voiced, in a range of emotional pitches and vocal styles, etc. At the same time the three musicians/actors play live and move around the stage creating different dramatic interplay with the visuals. Live music is performed against an electronic score that is manipulated with MaxMSP using pre-recorded sounds of the musicians’ voices and their instruments in the form of a “hyper-trio”.
Murderous Little World has received support and funding from individuals through an Indiegogo Campaign 2012; Matralab, Concordia University, Canada, residency Summer 2012; The Canada Council for the Arts Touring Grant 2011; Composers Assistance Program 2012, New Music USA; The Canada Council for the Arts Music Program 2004, 2006; Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec 2007; Oboro Laboratoire Nouveaux Medias, Montréal Canada, Production Assistance Program 2005 and 2007; Composer Assistance Program, American Music Centre, USA 2005; Tesuque Foundation, USA 2005. Murderous Little World is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Tonight’s the performance was made possible with the assistance of the Canadian Heritage Canada Arts Presentation Fund.
Born in Québec, Canada, Linda Bouchard has been an active composer, orchestrator, conductor, and producer for over thirty-five years. Winner of both Composer of the Year from the Conseil Québecois de la Culture and the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts in 1999, Bouchard also received the Fleck Fellowship from The Banff Centre in 2015. Her honours in the United States include first prizes at the Princeton Composition Contest, the Indiana State Competition, and the National Association of Composers USA Contest and a Fromm Music Foundation Award from Harvard University.
Bouchard went to the United States in 1977 to study composition with Henry Brant. She lived in New York City from 1979 to 1990, where she composed, led new music ensembles, and made orchestral arrangements for The Washington Ballet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and various churches in the New York metropolitan area. She was assistant conductor for New York Children’s Free Opera from 1985 to 1988 and guest-conducted Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the American Dance Festival, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Absolute Music Group, and The New Music Consort. In 1991, Bouchard returned to Montreal in time for the world premiere of her composition “Elan” with the Orchestre Métropolitain during the New Music America Festival. She was composer-in-residence from 1992 to 1995 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, where she composed several orchestral works and curated new music events. In 1997, she moved to San Francisco, where she currently resides with her husband and son.
In 2001, Bouchard was invited to participate at IRCAM’s “Stage d’Informatique Musicale” in Paris. Since then, she has been increasingly interested in how our traditional artistic practices are influenced by the integration of new technologies. In 2005, Bouchard founded New Experimental Music, Art and Production (NEXMAP), a nonprofit arts organization that explores this evolving artistic landscape. She acted as artistic director until January 2016. In 2014, Linda wrote a score for Detour Inc., a San Francisco–based startup that creates unique and innovative documentary tours all over the world. Her score is used for architecture tours in San Francisco, Berlin and London. During the fall 2015, she received a Fleck Fellowship Award at the Banff Center and was also invited as a Master Instructor for their music program. Linda was a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley during the Spring 2016. In 2017, she received the Davidson Award from the Victoria Symphony Orchestra in Canada. She also received a multiyear grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to research and create. Her project titled “Live Structures” will unfold over the next two years in partnership with Matralab at Concordia University in Montreal. For the past ten years Linda has been creating multimedia work while continuing to compose music for the concert hall. Her works Murderous Little World, All Caps No Space and Identity Theft have been performed in North America to critical acclaim.
Text from Men in the Off Hours by Anne Carson, used with permission. All rights reserved by Anne Carson. GRIFFIN POETRY PRIZE 2001. Publishers: Vintage Canada, Jonathan Cape (UK), Alfred A. Knopf (USA), Cape/Random House (Australia).
Bellows and Brass
Joseph Petric was the first accordionist to offer an official concert debut in major halls on both sides of the Atlantic – the Kennedy Centre Washington and St. John’s Smith Square London. He has appeared in some of the world’s major venues including London’s Southbank Centre, Blauesalle (Brussels), Seiji Ozawa Hall (Tanglewood), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Tel Aviv’s Israeli Opera, Bunka Kaikan Hall Tokyo and the Berlin Philharmonie. With more than 250 works written for him, including 13 concertos, Petric appearances are in demand at international festivals including Quebec’s Festival Domaine Forget, Agora Festival IRCAM, Tokyo Spring among others. A JUNO nominee and Prix Opus winner for best concert and best recording, his discography contains 32 titles. His book The Concert Accordion – Contemporary Perspectives was published by Augemus Press Germany 2017.
Guy Few’s instrumental versatility and fearless interpretations have been noted by the international press: “outrageous...simply phenomenal” (Le Devoir, Montreal) and “sheer brilliance” (L.A. Times). He has performed with many Canadian and US orchestras as both trumpet and piano soloist, remains a committed chamber artist in the ensembles Few Mara duo, Bellows and Brass, Few and Fewer, Spirit 20, Sounding Thunder and Project Aria. He has been a guest at many festivals including The Festival of the Sound, Tanglewood, Takefu International Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Sweetwater, Elora Festival and Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. A prolific recording artist, Guy has released CDs on numerous labels including S.N.E., Arsis Classics, CBC SM5000, Naxos, Hänssler Classics and MSR Classics labels. He is a sessional lecturer at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada, where he coaches chamber music and teaches trumpet. Guy Few is a Yamaha artist.
After receiving a first prize from the Quebec Conservatory in Hull and winning the National Arts Center Orchestra Bursary, Eric Vaillancourt made the encounter that would shape his future career. Alain Trudel, immediately recognizing his talent, took Vaillancourt on as his only private student and within a few years he became Trudel’s assistant at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal. He is a member of Ottawa’s Cathedral Brass and is featured as a soloist on their latest CD. He can also be seen on the documentary, “Trombone: The Voice of God” and on Angèle Dubeau’s “la Fête de la musique” on Radio-Canada. Vaillancourt is a founding member of Fusion, an ensemble that concentrates on the music of our time and will be featured as a soloist with the group in Alexina Louie’s Ricochet. His love for Baroque music led him to play sackbut on tour with Les Idées Heureuses.
Direction and Production
Keith Turnbull – Director, dramaturge and producer committed to contemporary and new work in both theatre and opera, Turnbull was artistic director of the Manitoba Theatre Centre; of Second Stage, Neptune Theatre; and founding artistic director of the NDWT Co. with which he started a First Nations theatre company from which emerged many of Canada’s most noted native performers and writers. He is the past Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Banff Theatre Arts and has taught extensively throughout Canada. He has directed over eighty plays and has directed opera/music theatre for Cultural Industries (Toronto), Music Theatre Wales, Peteå Chamber Opera (Sweden), Vale of Glamorgan Festival (Cardiff & Swansea), UK in NY Festival (New York) and Vancouver Opera. Turnbull is Canada’s most experienced producer and director of contemporary opera. For Banff Theatre Arts he directed works by Aperghis, Maxwell Davies, Finnessy, Kagel, Menotti, Stravinsky, Weill, and Zimmermann; produced works by Antheil, Berg, Birtwistle, Daugherty, Henze, Nyman and Vivier and directed the world premieres of Boiler Room Suite (Doolittle), Ubu (Toovey), Kafka’s Chimp (Metcalf) and Zurich:1916 (Butterfield). In Montreal he recently directed José Evangelista’s Exercices d’Opera and Isabelle Panneton’s L’Arche.
Roger Psutka is an accomplished Audio Engineer and Technical Director currently based in Kitchener. His expertise was instrumental in the successful premiere of Murderous Little World at NUMUS in February 2011. He is currently the audio engineer and tour manager for Dean Brody and sound engineer at Earshot. Other collaborations include Our Lady Peace, Chantal Kreviazuk, Remy Shand, Simple Plan, Treble Charger, Sheryl Crow, Butterfly Boucher, Sarah McLachlan and Bare Naked Ladies. Well versed in many aspects of the entertainment business he has also worked with Blue Man Group in Toronto and Orlando and is the live sound engineer at “Self Employment.”
Sandor Ajzenstat attended the Ontario College of Art (1979–84) studying under Udo Kasemets. He began his association with the Toronto new music community in 1981, programming the summer concert series at the Music Gallery. Over the years, Sandor has worked as a freelance lighting designer, stage manager, audio engineer, producer, or technical director with many Canadian artists and arts organizations including New Music Concerts and the Music Gallery. At the Ontario College of Art, Sandor was introduced to sound sculpture by Nobuo Kubota and studied digital electronics for art with Norman White. He continues to make electronic sculptures which have been exhibited internationally. Video Collaborators
Yan Breuleux - From video productions and artistic performances for multi-screen immersive displays to the development of interactive online projects, Breuleux is a creative force in the field of experimental animation and specializes in immersive visual music. His series of videos entitled ABC Light, co-produced with composer Alain Thibault (PURFORM), received honorable mention at Ars Electronica. He recently collaborated on the development of Ars Natura, an immersive panorama video project, and the Digital Factory (SAT). His work as a performance artist has been extensively presented in Canada, Europe and Japan and as part of major festivals specialized in digital & media arts such as Ars Electronica, ISEA, Transmediale, Dissonanze, TransArt, MixedMedia and Elektra. His on-line projects have been presented in the Musée du Québec, Musée de Rimouski as well as the New Museum of Contemporary Art of New York.
Frédéric St-Hilaire has been involved in the electronic art scene for the last ten years. While studying filmmaking, he started experimenting with video and found his passion: the use of video in scenographic contexts. His work brought him to collaborate on multiple projects with musicians, composers, directors, and choreographers. The video images that he creates are regularly presented in artistic events in Canada and abroad.