by John Threlfall | Sep 17, 2014 | Alumni, Events, School of Music, Theatre
It may seem unusual to pair a classical violist with a folk band in concert, but the two acts performing in the School of Music’s inaugural Emerging Artists Alumni Series concert have a lot in common. Nothing short of eclectic, these artists are skilled on multiple instruments and in a wide-range of musical styles. This kind of multiplicity gives these artists a leading edge as they break into professional careers in music.
Violist Sarah Tradewell (B.Mus ’14) recently graduated from the School of Music and already has a busy schedule of teaching and performing. “It’s only been a few months, but a bunch of opportunities cropped up that I was overjoyed to accept,” says Sarah.
Raised in Northern Saskatchewan, Sarah had a rich musical upbringing inspired by her music-teacher mother. She gave her first performance at age three, was involved with musical theatre from age six, and insisted on learning both fiddle tunes and Classical music when she started violin lessons.
To this day, Sarah continues to hone a range of skills and pursue diverse opportunities. Her broad repertoire of experience, paired with her talent and tenacity, is proving advantageous. The evidence is in her fall schedule: teaching the Conservatory Fiddles at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, touring with acclaimed tenor Ken Lavigne, playing in several concerts with the Victoria Symphony, and playing the role of Jane Bennet in Langham Court’s upcoming production of Pride and Prejudice in October (adapted by UVic Fine Arts alumna Janet Munsil). Sarah can also be heard regularly with Black Angus at the Irish Times pub in downtown Victoria.
“I’m pretty happy with my life right now and the diverse performance opportunities I have. I don’t know what my future holds yet, but I do know that I want to be performing, whether it’s orchestra, chamber, new music, or folk music.”
West My Friend
Members of the chamber-folk band West My Friend—featuring Eden Oliver (B.Mus ‘08), Jeff Poynter (B.Mus ‘11) and Alex Rempel (B.Mus ’12), as well as Nick Mintenko—believe their diverse experiences have made them more well-rounded artists. From touring musician and church music director to house painter, and non-profit program director, “our journey since graduating has been very much one of chiseling out lives for ourselves and exploring the different things we want to put our energies into,” says Poynter. A lot of that energy has gone into preparing for their upcoming tour through BC, Alberta, Idaho, Washington and Oregon this October and November.
Poynter describes West My Friend’s sound as “cascadian third-wave indie prog chamber folk roots music.” Apparently this is what happens when you put an accordion, mandolin, guitar and upright bass together with four part harmonies and three music degrees. Having formed five years ago, the band has two albums under their belt as well as multiple tours. Their most recent tour across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands turned some heads—given that they were traveling by bicycle. “Many people were shocked that we carried all of the gear and instruments,” chuckles Poynter.
Both Tradewell and Poynter couldn’t say enough about the value of performing—on campus and in the community—during their time at UVic. “Perform as much as you can. You never know who will see you,” stresses Tradewell. Whether you’re fiddling at pubs, singing in local choirs, or accompanying a musical, Poynter emphasizes that “the connections you make with other musicians and people in the music business can be priceless and can have far reaching impacts you can’t imagine yet!”
The School of Music’s inaugural Emerging Artists Alumni Series concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 21 in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tradewell will perform solo works by Bach, Hindemith, Stravinsky and others while West My Friend plays songs from their latest album along with some new and old material. Chances are good that Tradewell will join the group with some fiddle stylings. Admission is by donation and proceeds will benefit further Emerging Artists Alumni Series events.
by John Threlfall | Sep 15, 2014 | Events, Faculty, Research, School of Music
The Birth of the Cool recordings have influenced musicians and arrangers worldwide, and—since their release on vinyl in 1954—continue to be one of the most extensively discussed, studied, imitated, and transcribed in the history of jazz. For UVic Jazz professor Patrick Boyle, these recordings were his first exposure to Miles Davis.
“In high school I took a cassette tape out from my local library and practically wore it out,” Boyle recalls. Revolutionary in their time, the Birth of the Cool sessions were the first notable new movement in jazz since bebop. Sixty-five years later, “there is still a freshness and vitality to these recordings,” says Boyle.
In a special faculty concert on Saturday, September 20, Boyle will perform innovative arrangements from the classic Birth of the Cool charts on trumpet and guitar. His all-star band will feature some of the island’s hottest jazz players, including Monik Nordine (alto sax), Marc Patsula (horn), Ross MacDonald (double bass), Kelby MacNayr (drums), Tom Vickery (piano), and School of Music faculty Wendell Clanton (baritone sax) and Eugene Dowling (tuba).
Miles Davis (right) with the original nonet
The original nonet recordings were organized as labour of love—and exploration. “In 1948, Gil Evans held informal jam sessions in his small apartment behind a Chinese laundry in New York City where Davis, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, and John Carisi experimented with new harmonies and orchestrations,” explains Boyle. “The arrangers were never paid for their work and were excited to see if they could capture the intricate complexity of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra—Evans’ one-time employer—through a smaller group. Most notable are the inclusion of french horn and tuba, instruments which were and remain under-utilized in jazz settings.”
One surprising element of this concert will also be Boyle’s instruments of choice. “I think a lot of people know me as a trumpet player, but guitar is an equal part of my musical life and it’s an equal part of this concert,” he says. “I’ve been playing it just as long—22 years now—and I play guitar just as much as I play trumpet.”
Also notable among the guest artists for the September 20 concert is revered Victoria trombonist and School of Music professor emeritus Ian McDougall, who will join Boyle for some duos in the second half of the evening. “One of the most important musicians this country has produced, [McDougall] is an ideal model for anyone wishing to pursue a career in music: know everything about what you do, do it better than anyone else, and be the funniest guy to hang out with while you’re doing it,” says Boyle.
Re-Birth of the Cool starts at 8pm on Saturday, September 20 at the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are available through the UVic Ticket Centre and at the door.
by John Threlfall | Sep 9, 2014 | Events, Faculty, Research, Writing
Noted poet and Department of Writing professor Tim Lilburn has joined the ranks of Canada’s academic elite after being elected by his peers to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. The distinction is Canada’s highest academic honour.
Poet & Writing professor Tim Lilburn (UVic Photo Services)
Lilburn is one of the world’s leading poets and essayists on poetics. His works—including nine books of poetry and two essay collections—help us interpret our relationship to landscapes and their ecologies, and offer paths forward to living ethically within these relationships.
“Place is a version of one’s larger body: where you live shapes you physically, psychically and spiritually,” says Lilburn. “It certainly affects how you write. If you live in a colonial mindset you tend to forget about this link—and, as a result, you forget about an important part of yourself. Poetry is important because it gives us stillness.”
Lilburn’s work has been translated into French, Chinese, Siberian, German, Spanish and Polish, and has been widely anthologized. He gives readings and lectures around the world and is a frequent guest on radio and television. In 2011, he served as a judge for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the world’s largest prize for a single collection of poetry written in, or translated into, English.
Among his many awards, he has been twice nominated for the Governor General’s Award in Literature: first for Tourist to Ecstasy in 1989, and then winning it with 2003’s Kill-site. As the award jury noted at the time, “Lilburn has dug down to a speech which is like ‘unbearable nudity.’ Everything comes together here: immensity of canvas, ambition of language and line.”
Read more about Lilburn’s reaction to his award in this Times Colonist article.
His most recent book of poetry is Assiniboia (2012)—which you can hear him read a poem from by clicking here.
“I was lucky enough as a poet to grow up in a time of literary resurgence,” says Lilburn. “I’m talking about the great wave in Can Lit that began to build in the late ’60s and rode right through to the late ’90s . . . it seemed at the time that literature was helping to define the national identity. You see a similar thing going on in the literatures of other countries at around the same time—in Nigeria, say, with writers like Achebe, Soyinka and Okigbo. A similar phenomenon occurred in China a few years after the death of Mao.”
When asked about finding inspiration in nature, in the Canada landscape and in a greater sense of our place in the universe, Lilburn is characteristically philosophical. “I think place is a version of one’s larger body: where you live shapes you physically, psychically and spiritually,” he says. “It certainly affects how you write. I think that if you live in a colonial mindset you tend to forget about this link, and as a result, you forget about an important part of yourself.”
Tim Lilburn joins other current and past Faculty of Fine Arts colleagues Mary Kerr, Lorna Crozier, Bill Valgardson, Pat Martin Bates and Jack Hodgins as RSC Fellows.
Also elected as a Fellow this year is UVic History professor Eric Sager—the sixth UVic historian in recent years to join the prestigious academy.
This year’s new Fellows will be inducted to the academies of the RSC during the Induction and Awards Ceremony on November 22 at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City.
A total of 66 UVic scholars, scientists and artists—including current, former and adjunct faculty members—are fellows of the Royal Society of Canada.
Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada comprises the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. Its mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world.
by John Threlfall | Sep 9, 2014 | Events, Undergraduate
Now that classes are back in session, it’s time again for our annual Fine Arts New Student Welcome soiree, where we welcome our first-year students in style.
But rather than offer yet another year of pizza, this time around the Fine Arts faculty and staff will be serving something different: ice cream! Yep, we’re throwing an ice cream social—but better still, this Sept 11 event will feature tasty gourmet ice cream sandwiches by Cold Comfort, local purveyor of high-end ice cream yumminess.
Rather than just the humdrum likes of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, Cold Comfort offers ice cream sandwiches with flavours like Vanilla Bean sandwiched between chocolate cookies and Salted Caramel (that’s dairy and gluten-free, no less). We’ll also have a mystery box of random flavours for the more daring ice cream gourmands.
But there will be more than just ice cream up for grabs. In addition to popcorn and cookies (for those who don’t like chilly treats), we’ll also be featuring the music of local country funk band Coastal Giant.
Come for the food, stay for the fun! The New Student Welcome is always a great chance to connect with Fine Arts faculty and staff in a casual environment. All Fine Arts students, staff and faculty are welcome to join us from 4 to 6pm Thursday, September 11, in the Fine Arts Courtyard.
by John Threlfall | Sep 7, 2014 | Art History & Visual Studies, Events, Faculty, School of Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing
Now that university classes are back in session (at least some BC students have returned to school), Fine Arts is also back in action with a full slate of September events. Here’s a chronological list of what’s coming up in the next few weeks—be sure to check back in early October for next month’s lineup.
The annual Audain Exhibition presents returning Audain Professor Jackson 2Bears and his live cinema/scratch video performance, Iron Tomahawks. Digitally-encoded vinyl records—created in conjunction with specialized software developed by the artist—enable the manipulation of audio/video media in realtime, creating a multimedia performance that simply needs to be seen. Pop in and see the kind of contemporary work our Visual Arts professors are creating.
Iron Tomahawks should be open by Sept 12—they’re just dealing with some technical issues at the moment. Once it opens, it will run 10am-4:30pm Mondays-Fridays through to Sept 26 in the Audain Gallery, found off the main foyer of the Visual Arts building. And it’s free to watch, of course.
Visual Arts alumna Tia Casper is opening her first exhibit since graduating. Photo Magic offers a series of photographs taken in Las Vegas over 48 hours.These analog, pseudo tourist snapshots show Las Vegas through its lights, signs and grandiose architecture. The images juxtapose the glamour of greed against the detritus and decay of a failing dream. The images are dark, yet the lights shine through to create a parody of what Las Vegas symbolizes.
From Thomas Kneubuhler’s “Access Denied” series
Photo Magic opens Thursday, Sept 11 and runs to Sept 28 at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, 2516 Douglas.
Staying on the visual arts beat, we’ve got the first of the 2014/15 Visiting Artist series—Thomas Kneubuhler. A Swiss-born multimedia artist, Kneubuhler creates work that often deals with social issues and how technology affects people’s lives. His work has been presented in many exhibitions in both Europe and North America. He’s appearing here as part of his participation in Open Space’s Work’PLACE’ exhibit. (Thanks to Open Space for jointly sponsoring his illustrated talk here on campus.)
If you’ve never caught one of the Visiting Artist talks, they’re a great chance to hear about what’s happening in the contemporary art scene around the world. Thomas Kneubuhler appears at 8pm Wednesday, Sept 17, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. Also free!
As mentioned above, Open Space’s fall exhibit is Work’PLACE’, and it features a number of connections to the Visual Arts department. Work’PLACE’—curated by longtime Visual Arts professor Lynda Gammon—uses a variety of strategies to interrogate the rapidly transforming definitions of “work”. Work’PLACE’ features Visual Arts MFA alumnus Dong-Kyoon Nam, previously mentioned Visiting Artist Thomas Kneubuhler, and London’s Tommy Ting, along with a film by Christine Welsh of UVic’s Women’s Studies.
Work’PLACE’ opens 7pm Friday, Sept 19, and continues to Oct 25 at Open Space, 510 Fort. If you’re interested in the ideas behind the art, the exhibit’s Artist’s Talks is at 2pm Saturday, Sept 20.
The School of Music is keeping the “cool” in “school” (but, you know, spelling it correctly) with the first of the season’s Faculty Concert Series: Re-Birth of the Cool. Jazz professor Patrick Boyle is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the iconic Birth of the Cool sessions—featuring Miles Davis, Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan—by performing innovative arrangements from these classic charts on guitar and trumpet, as well as a duo with Juno Award-winning local trombonist and School of Music professor emeritus Ian McDougall.
Re-Birth of the Cool kicks off at 8pm Saturday, Sept 20, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $14 & $18. Can’t make it to the show? Tune in here for a live broadcast of the concert.
Our colleagues at the Legacy Art Galleries are offering a pair of exhibits focusing on Salish art: Perpetual Salish: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection and Salish Reflection: Coast Salish Art and Artists on Campus.
Perpetual Salish presents a wide range of art forms and ideas, and gallery visitors will gain a better understanding of the cultural and stylistic elements that unify and inspire these contemporary artists in their own artistic practices. Artists featured are Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLIE, John Marston, Susan Point and Dylan Thomas, and the exhibit runs to January 10, 2015.
Art by lessLIE
Meanwhile, Salish Reflection honours Coast Salish artists Chris Paul, Maynard Johnny Jr., and knitters May Sam and the Olsen family (Adam, Joni, and their mother Sylvia), who were all part of UVic’s Artist in Residence Program through the Department of Anthropology between 2011 and 2013. During their three-month residency, they collectively taught students about their own artistic practices as well as aspects of Coast Salish history and contemporary culture.
This exhibit illustrates the teaching methodology and experience of students and artists in collaboration along with examples of the artists’ work. (The Artist in Residence Program is facilitated by Dr. Andrea Walsh, who teaches the Anthropology of Art, and the program is supported by donors George and Christiane Smyth.)
Chris Paul’s “Conservation”
All are welcome to join the artists and curators of both exhibits for a reception at 2pm Saturday, Sept 20, at Legacy Downtown, 630 Yates. Light refreshments will be served
You can also hear a curator’s talk with lessLIE at 2pm Saturday, Sept 27, at the Legacy Downtown.
A great new project by the School of Music is their Emerging Artist Alumni Series. Not only does it allow recent Music graduates a chance to shine in the spotlight, the Emerging Artist series also offers a fantastic opportunity for students to meet with and learn from young alumni. The first in the series brings together classical and folk traditions in a double-bill of violist Sarah Tradewell and the chamber folk group West My Friend—featuring Eden Oliver, Jeff Poynter and Alex Rempel.
The Emerging Artist Alumni Series kicks off at 7:30pm Sunday, Sept 21, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Admission is by donation.
Sarah Treadwell (top) and West My Friend
If the literary arts are more your style, the Department of Writing is holding its Annual Faculty Reading Night this month. Featuring the words of Carla Funk, Bill Gaston, Kevin Kerr, David Leach, Tim Lilburn, Joan MacLeod and an excerpt of a film by Maureen Bradley, plus grad students Leah Callen, Heather Clark, Danielle Janess, Michael LaPointe and Sam Shelstad, the evening will be hosted by Fine Arts communications honcho and Writing department sessional instructor John Threlfall.
The Annual Faculty Reading Night starts at 7pm Tuesday, Sept 23, in room A240 of the Human & Social Development building. Guess what? It’s also free.
Over the past two decades, the multi-media installations of Ontario-based multimedia artist Gary Spearin have utilized painting both on and off the canvas. A repertoire of painting techniques and styles had been employed to magnify issues of site and context within museums, private and public galleries, public and domestic architecture, and the natural and historic landscape.
Come hear Spearin talk when he’s the next in the Visiting Artist series. That’s at 8pm Wednesday, Sept 24, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. Yep, it’s free.
And you can end your month in harmony thanks to another of the Faculty Concert Series. This time it’s School of Music flute professor Suzanne Snizek performing works by composers Mel Bonis, Charles Koechlin, Kaija Saariaho and J.S. Bach. This concert will also feature School of Music guests, pianist Bruce Vogt and soprano Anne Grimm.
That’s at 2:30 pm Sunday, Sept 28, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $18 & $14, and you can tune in here for a live audio webcast.