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Robert Aitken, artistic director


Sunday November 11, 2018 @ 8 (note: no 7:15 introduction)
Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Véronique Lacroix direction
Gabriel Dharmoo concert host *
The Music Gallery at 918 Bathurst, 918 Bathurst Street [MAP]
Tickets $35 regular | $25 seniors and arts workers | $10 students
For Reservations Call 416.961.9594


left to right: James O'Callaghan, Thierry Tidrow, Sophie Dupuis and Patrick Giguère). Photo: Maxime Boisvert.

New Music Concerts is proud to present the 10th iteration of ECM’s Generation tour. Co-presenting with The Music Gallery, we have been the Toronto host of this biennial celebration of young Canadian composers since its inauguration in 2000.

Crossing Canada from West to East, the ECM+'s *Generation2018* Canadian tour, conducted by Véronique Lacroix, presents the latest edition of this legendary project in which the Canadian public can vote for its favourite composition. The audience will be introduced to the secrets of each piece by the composers themselves, the conductor and host Gabriel Dharmoo.


James O'Callaghan (BC/QC b.1988) Close / Close (2018)
Thierry Tidrow (ON/AB b.1986) Sucrer le bec (2018)
Patrick Giguè€re (QC b.1987) L'inévitable idéalisme (2018)
Sophie Dupuis (NB/ON b.1988) Elles ont peint le crépuscule de noir et blanc (2018)

* This event begins at 8:00 and includes live introductions

GENERATION 2018 Programme Notes

SOPHIE DUPUIS (1988, N.-B.), Ottawa

Born in New Brunswick, Sophie Dupuis was awarded the 2016 Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for her work Perceptions deLa Fontaine. Her orchestral music has been performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia and the Orchestre philharmonique du Haut-St-Jean, while her music for ensembles has been premiered by such renowned outfits as Caution Tape Sound Collective, the Thin Edge New Music Ensemble, the Array Ensemble and Architek Percussion. Currently completing a doctorate in composition at the University of Toronto, Sophie Dupuis is the recipient of the University Medal in Music from Dalhousie University, an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the John Weinzweig Graduate Scholarship and the Theodoros Mirkopoulos Fellowship in Composition.

Sophie Dupuis – Elles ont peint le crépuscule de noir et de blanc
For flute (picc.), clarinet, bassoon, French horn, percussion, two violins, viola and cello.

Elles ont peint le crépuscule de noir et de blanc (They painted dusk in black and white) was inspired by the work of American Photographer Gregory Crewdson. His pictures immediately captivated me the first time I saw them. Each has a thousand carefully planned details that renders its subject(s) multidimensional, and we can see in their eyes and posture the weight of a sometimes-rough life. Crewdson aims to capture the state of the characters he creates rather than their actions, and he seeks to reflect the “super-realism” of the human psychological virtue and its extremes. His pictures often represent bizarre scenarios: a woman who planted a flower garden in her house, or a group of villagers building a huge pile of random household items.

Dim lighting and sensations of space and contemplation are important components of Crewdson’s work, and they thus inform the textures and atmospheres I have chosen to create in this piece. I also identified a few common themes throughout the photographer’s work, including shame, numbness, euphoria, exhaustion, hope and melancholy. These ideas have their own moment when they transpire from the music. Extremes of emotions appear in extreme sounds (very loud, soft, high, low, harsh or unstable), which are often the result of extended techniques, or unconventional ways of playing the instruments.

JAMES O’CALLAGHAN (1988, B.-C.), Montréal

Originally from Vancouver, James O’Callaghan is a Montreal-based composer and sound artist who has been praised for his “mastery of materials and musical form” (Electromania, Radio France) and “[impressive] virtuosity in fusing genres” (SilenceAndSound). He is the recipient of the 2015 Robert Fleming Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2014, his work Isomorphia won the SOCAN Foundation’s John Weinzweig Grand Prize and was a finalist at the JUNO Awards in the Classical Composition of the Year category. His compositions have also earned first prizes from the Canadian Electroacoustic Community’s Jeu de temps / Times Play (JTTP) (2013), Musicworks Magazine (2014), and were among the finalists for the Gaudeamus Award (2016), the KLANG! Acousmonium (2015) and the Prix collégien de musique contemporaine (2016, 2017). He obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, where he studied with Barry Truax, and a Master of Music from McGill University, under Philippe Leroux (2014).

James O’Callagan – Close / Close
For solo cello, flute (picc.), clarinet, bassoon, French horn, percussion, two violins, viola and electronics.

Writing a work for a tour puts into perspective an essential and fascinating problematic of written music: abstract musical principles are distilled into specific individual sound events created in specific spaces by specific musicians. Rather than writing music that neutralizes these circumstances, I have attempted to “tune” a work to the particularities of the various concert spaces where the work will be realized, and the specific instruments and instrumentalists that will realize it.

I have researched the acoustics of the concert halls of the tour to generate musical material that will respond to their resonant frequencies. The form of the work mirrors the trajectory of the tour, structured as a sequence of spaces demarcated by an orchestration of the acoustic response of each hall. Features specific to Chloé Dominguez’ cello have guided the materials of the work as well, treating the cello as an interior space-within-a-space. Finally, field recordings from the larger environments around the work’s performance sites are a further source material.

The work’s title emblematizes the problematic relationship between the abstract and the particular with the homographic word pairing “close” and “close”. The two words are written the same but could mean either the adjective “close” (near to) or the verb “close” (to shut or bring to an end). The work hopes to examine the tension between these related ideas: first, the intimacy of the solo instrument and the sensation of being familiar with one’s environment. Second, the idea of “enclosure” (the cello and the concert hall as enclosed spaces) and claustrophobia.

PATRICK GIGUÈRE (1987, Qc), Montréal

Patrick Giguère recently completed a doctorate in composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire (United Kindom). His music is frequently performed across North America and Europe by such exceptional ensembles as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Exaudi, the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra and the Orchestre de la francophonie. His work Le sel de la terre garnered 3rd Prize at the SOCAN Foundation’s 2015 Serge Garant Awards. He founded and was the artistic director of the Quebec City-based Ensemble Lunatik (2009-2014) and served as the artistic director of Erreur de type 27 (2013-2015). Through his compositions and the events he organizes, Patrick Giguère tries to offer people unique moments of shared listening in which they can experience music with their heart, intelligence and all their senses.

Patrick Giguère – L’inévitable idéalisme
For flute (alto), clarinet, bassoon, French horn, percussion, two violins, viola and cello.

L’inévitable idéalisme is a response to my inner conflicts, a possible solution and an artistic commitment, because idealism is inevitable for an artist and, I would even say, for society in general. While everything today is quantified — calories consumed, number of steps walked, self-esteem measured by the number of social media “likes”— while all societal decisions are determined by a realism that condemns us to smallness, I want to dream and idealize the world with unprecedented intensity.

How, as artists, can we do this? By letting ourselves be carried away by the creative process, by having faith that the exploration of musical material will bring us somewhere wonderful, by trusting that the performers will transform our music into something greater than us. If the explorers had not idealized their adventures, if they had tried to plan everything before leaving, I think they would have stayed home.

We all live in the “contemporary” world, so why write music that tries to represent it, that tries to be in tune with it and that embraces its wrongs? Why not, rather, write idealistic music that offers a vision of a different, imagined, better world?

THIERRY TIDROW (1986, Ont.), Cologne (Germany)

Franco-Ontarian composer Thierry Tidrow recently distinguished himself by winning the Canada Council for the Arts’ prestigious Jules Léger Prize for his piece Au fond du Cloître Humide (2014). As a Fondation Ricard and Canada Arts Council Fellow, he received his Masters degree from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2011, followed by an Advanced Studies diploma at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in 2013, under Brice Pauset. His works have been performed by a number of prominent ensembles, including the Asko-Schönberg Ensemble, the Talea Ensemble and the Dutch National Opera, which premiered his opera Less Truth More Telling, under the direction of Javier Lopez-Pinon and Lucas Vis (2013). His piece It had something to do with the telling of time… was nominated for the 2011 Gaudeamus Music Week, while Silk Hole was awarded a commission prize at the 2011 Ereprijs Orkest’s Young Composers Meeting. In 2014, both Less Truth More Telling and Violon et Clarinette won SOCAN Foundation Awards.

Thierry Tidrow – SWEET TOOTH
For flute (picc.), clarinet, bassoon, French horn, percussion, two violins, viola and cello.

As with every good western millennial, the first thing I ever learned to do was to consume and want more. Sugar here is, of course, exemplary of the nefarious yet completely socially accepted poison of consumerism, which also ties into the dual nature of the sweet tooth: sweets make us smile because of their sugar and their often oh-so-cute presentation and depiction, but they also rot our teeth, and in a most insidious fashion! What a beautiful metaphor for happy neoliberalism…

In this post-truth age, image is everything: candy is food and advertisements depict real life. A major chord means happy emoji, a minor chord means sad emoji. How does this affect our grasp of deeper connection through art? I wanted to play with these codes and clichés and to see how I could harvest their energy to highlight the violence hidden behind each major chord.