A March of Music

March is a busy month for the School of Music, with 35 concerts, recitals and performances on deck. Check out the full list here, but if you’re looking to get a tasty sampling of their sonic delights, here are some highlights:

• Sonic Lab returns with Ajtony Csaba directing UVic’s new music ensemble as they perform Adventures in the interior of a major chord – and “hausmusik.” Expect works by Gérard Grisey, Gordon Mumma, Pierluigi Billone, as well as some “Soundpainting.” That’s at 8pm Friday, March 8, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. By donation.

Scott MacInnes

Scott MacInnes

• The latest Faculty Concert Series features trombonist Scott MacInnes and guests. MacInnes, UVic’s trombone instructor, has a mission to prove that this bellowing brass instrument is viable and versatile in the mainstream. While the trombone has come a long way since it’s earliest ancestor (the sackbutt, circa 1450) as a support instrument, solo repertoire is still somewhat limited. For this concert, MacInnes has prepared several transcriptions of works originally composed for other instruments, including Camille Saint-Saëns’ Sonata for Bassoon.

“I believe that this is the first performance attempted on the trombone,” he says. “The work demonstrates the extreme capabilities of the bassoon, so it is tremendously difficult on the trombone.” Other pieces on the program include Trauermusik by Paul Hindemith (originally composed for viola), the Canadian premiere of Jacob TV’s multimedia work, I was like…WOW, and a couple tunes that will leave you “toe-tapping and humming.” (Tommy Pederson’s Blue Topaz “is like getting a big hug from a trombone choir with solo bass trombone,” MacInnes says.)

Several members of the Naden Band, the Victoria Symphony, and a few UVic alumni will join him at 8pm Sunday, March 10, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $17.50 & $13.50.

Alexander Dunn

Alexander Dunn

• The next Faculty Concert Series features guitarist Alexander Dunn and guests performing Guitarworks. Music has been likened to the songs of angels, the gateway to the soul, and has frequently been associated with spiritual experiences; now, Dunn will draw you into the realm of spirits, ghosts and mystics with this concert featuring contemporary music for guitar.

Described as a “genius and wizard” of the guitar by the Times Colonist, Dunn will perform Tim Brady’s Ghosts for guitar quartet and electronics, which Dunn describes as “a striking work moving between atmosphere and rhythmic propulsion, with an ambient electronic part that acts as a ‘ghost’ identity shadowing the live players.” Also on the program is the Canadian premiere of George Crumb’s darkly rich and layered Ghosts of Alhambra, as well as Peter Maxwell Davies’ intensely meditative Dark Angels.

Dunn will also give the premiere of Liova Bueno‘s Poema Mistico. Born from a germinal musical idea, the single-movement work “explores the facets of mysticism,” explains Bueno, a recent School of Music alumnus. “Calm and meditative moments are interspersed with sections of rhythmic intensity, creating a sound world which alternates between both the gentle and the wild energies of mystical and spiritual discovery and experience.”

Aided by soprano Susan Young, baritone Stephen Price, clarinet Patricia Kostek, and Alex Rempel on bass, Dunn has also invited students from the School of Music to join him on stage, including Jay Schreiber (percussion) and guitarists Brian Desjarlais, Stefan Maier, and Graeme Cruickshank.

Guitarworks kicks off at 8pm Friday, March 15, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $17.50 & $13.50 at the door or through the UVic Ticket Centre (250-721-8480).

Patrick Boyle

Patrick Boyle

• Following that is the latest performance by the UVic Jazz Orchestra. Conducted by Jazz Orchestra director Patrick Boyle, expect an eclectic evening of standards and originals featuring jazz students from the UVic School of Music that will go above and beyond past performances.

Describing it as their “most daring program to date,” Boyle says, “Part of our mandate is to encourage the performance of new Canadian works, especially works by ensemble members.” With that in mind, the Jazz Orchestra will perform pieces by UVic students Aaron Pang and Jared Richardson, as well as original arrangements made collectively by the group. In addition to big band, the concert will feature two new groups: the UVic Latin Ensemble E Pluribus Uno and the UVic Rhythm Kings & Queens, a small group that plays an amalgam of New Orleans and Balkan music.

“In jazz music, knowing whom you are playing with is critical to presenting the music holistically,” explains Boyle, who is no stranger to collaboration and has played and recorded with some of the nations best jazz musicians. “This particular version of the UVic Jazz Orchestra blends a wonderful camaraderie and mutual respect with a serious work ethic and commitment to professionalism.”

Hear what it’s all about at 8pm Saturday, March 16, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets $15 & $10.

• School of Music alumni Matthew McConchie (tenor trombone), Robert Fraser (bass trombone) and Tzenka Dianova (piano) will perform an eclectic program of jazz and classical repertoire, including works by Professor Emeritus Ian McDougall, Leonard Bernstein and Daniel Schnyder on March 19.

After completing his Bachelor’s degree at UVic, McConchie went on to do post-graduate work at the Eastman School of Music then changed course to study law at the University of Calgary; he currently practices with the firm of Jones Emery Hargreaves Swan in Victoria. Fraser studied music education at Brandon University and trombone performance at McGill before winning the bass trombone position in the Victoria Symphony in 1990; he completed his Master of Arts in Musicology with Performance at UVic in 2008. Dianova began her studies in her native Bulgaria, at the academies of Pleven and Sofia; she moved to Canada in 1998 to pursue her Master’s degree at UVic and currently works as a concert pianist, accompanist, chamber and orchestral musician and is the principal keyboard player for the Victoria Symphony. She is also an internationally recognized authority on new music and extended/prepared piano techniques.

Their performance is at 8pm Tuesday, March 19, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Admission by donation.

• Finally, there’s the Vocal Jazz Spring Showcase. Director Wendell Clanton will present Moods of March, featuring charts by New York Voices, Burton Lane, Eric Clapton, Michelle Weir, Arlen & Capote, Darmon Meader and more.

Vocal JazzClanton shares Patrick Boyle’s sentiments on the importance of connections within the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, which he has been directing since 2005; he often incorporates movement, improvisation, and games into his rehearsals. “By bridging the social and academic environments, spontaneity is restored to music-making and people let their personalities shine,” says Clanton. He describes these sessions as “fun, hilarious and educational” which is important to fostering “natural engagement, energy and enthusiasm which spreads to all areas of learning and performance.”

Expect a wide range of styles and moods in their upcoming March 24 concert, with tunes like “He Beeped When He Shoulda Bopped,” “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “Baby Driver” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” (yes, the theme song from childhood favourite, Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood). Clanton says the show “ping pongs between intimate ballads, quirky upbeat numbers and powerful showstoppers. It will begin like a lamb and end like a lion.”

Be there at 8pm Sunday, March 24, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. By donation.

—Additional content by Kristy Farkas

Words on the street

Three notable literary efforts of note coming up in the next week, courtesy of some of our mighty fine Fine Arts writers, plus one snazzy event near the end of the month.

TheValley First up is The Valley, the latest play by Department of Writing professor and Siminovitch Prize-winning playwright Joan MacLeod. Previously known as What To Expect, MacLeod’s latest play kicks off the 27th annual Enbridge playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays at Alberta Theatre Projects. The Valley is a fictional story about a troubled teenager who has a confrontation with a police officer on the SkyTrain in Vancouver, which reverberates throughout the community, sweeping both families up into a storm of emotion, opinion and conflict.

The idea for The Valley came from the case of Robert Dziekanski, who died after being hit by RCMP with a Taser at Vancouver Airport in 2007. “One of Joan’s great specialties is responding to something in the headlines”, says Vicki Stroich, interim artistic director for Alberta Theatre Projects. (CBC Calgary chose it as one of their top three picks of the week here—the part about MacLeod begins around 2:32.) As humane, thought-provoking and relevant as her other plays like Another Home Invasion and The Shape of A Girl, MacLeod continues to earn the Toronto Star‘s description of her as “one of the most important playwrights working in Canada today.”

The Valley runs March 6 – April 7 at Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects. Alas, there is no local date as of this posting.
Jan Wood

Jan Wood

 Next up on March 11 is a new play reading by Department of Theatre prof Jan Wood, who will be presenting a staged reading of her new work Sacrifices as part of the Belfry’s SPARK Festival. Here’s the official description of Sacrifices: “Each person makes allowances and negotiates compromises in order to exist…but at what cost? Sacrifices examines the choices that an ordinary woman makes to balance career, family and self-fulfillment. In revealing her story, Medina exposes the tiny sacrifices that have led her to commit her ultimate sacrifice, an act universally condemned and abhorred. Part myth, part mystery, Sacrifices tells of a struggle for personal fulfillment in a world where a thin veneer can separate sanity and madness.”

Sacrifices will be read by Wood and noted director and playwright James Fagan Tait (The Life Inside) at 7pm Monday, March 11 at the Belfry—for free!

Jessica Kluthe

Jessica Kluthe

 After that comes a UVic double-bill on March 12, with Lorna Crozier and Department of Writing alum Jessica Kluthe will be discussing the importance of place in stories as part of the popular reading series At The Mic. Crozier will likely be reading from her latest, The Book of Marvels, but Kluthe is launching her first book, Rosina the Midwife. Described as a “lyrical memoir,” Kluthe is writing about her great-great-grandmother Rosina, a Calabrian midwife who was the only member of the Russo family to remain in Italy while her kin left in search of work. Between 1870 and 1970, twenty-six million Italians left their homeland; many of them never returned.

Rosina MidwifeKluthe’s writing has appeared in The Malahat Review, among other magazines, her 2012 essay “Scattered” won the Other Voices creative non-fiction contest, and she is currently working on a novel. She teaches advanced business writing at Grant MacEwan and is on the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension. Also on the bill for the evening is award-winning author and mystery writer George Szanto.

At The Mike runs 7pm Tuesday, March 12, at Chronicles of Crime, 1048 Fort Street.

 The Department of Writing is also well-represented at the upcoming all-day Malahat Review event WordsThaw 2013. Their first annual spring symposium, WordsThaw features three daytime panels and a literary reading in the evening. Panels include “Zoom In, Zoom Out: Focus on Fiction” moderated by Amy Reiswig with Writing instructor John Gould and busy alum Yasuko Thanh, plus Daniel Griffin; “A Sustainable Feast: The New Food Writing” moderated by Don Genova, with Rhona McAdam and Kimberley Veness; and “In our Names: Writers on Poverty,” with panelists including retired Writing prof Patrick Lane, current instructor and 2012 City of Victoria Book Prize winner Madeline Sonik, plus Sylvia Olsen.

wordsthawad_focusThe evening reading, “Words on Ice,” features the Malahat Review‘s UVic 50th Anniversary Prize winners Pamela Porter, Laura Kraemer, and Katherin Edwards, as well as Writing chair Bill Gaston, soon-to-retire professor Lorna Crozier, new(ish) professor Lee Henderson, plus local writers Marilyn Bowering and C. P. Boyko.

Earlybird rates for a full pass includes all panels and literary reading are $30/$40 (until March 13) and can be purchased from their website. All full passes include a one-year subscription to The Malahat Review or an extension of your current subscription.

WordsThaw runs 10am-10pm Saturday, March 23, in room A240 of UVic’s Human and Social Development building.