New music gets a dash of SALT

Eager to hear something new in music? Look no further than the 8th annual SALT New Music Festival. Running August 22 to 25, the 2019 SALT festival and symposium brings together world-renowned Canadian and international composers and performers with students of contemporary music for four days of concerts, workshops and discussions.

Ajtony Csaba

Organized by Music professor Ajtony Csaba and hosted at UVic’s School of Music by founding ensemble, Tsilumos (Victoria), the SALT festival will collaborate with the internationally acclaimed Quasar Saxophone Quartet (Montréal), UVic audio specialist Kirk McNally and groundbreaking Canadian new music performers Liam Hockley, Stephanie Bell (Duo 1010) and Kristen Cooke (Vancouver). New music by Canadian and international composers are the highlight of the festival, and can be heard over the course of five public concerts held at UVic and Open Space in downtown Victoria.

Festival participants will have the chance to take part in discussions, lectures, workshops, lessons in composition, electronic music, and contemporary music interpretation with the guest artists and composition faculty Mauricio Pauly, Sabrina Schroeder and Wolf Edwards.

But the whole festival kicks off with a special album release event at 7pm Thursday, August 22 in UVic’s Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. The new album, the timber of those times, featuring music by Istvan Anhalt as recorded by the SALT Festival Orchestra and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra as conducted by Ajtony Csaba. Released by CMC Centrediscs, a portion of each album sold will also go towards supporting School of Music ensembles.

Istvan Anhalt (1919-2012) was a leading figure in avant-garde composition during the second half of the 20th century in Canada. Though trained and educated in pre-war Budapest and post-war Paris, Anhalt wrote all of his major works after settling in Canada in 1949. He employed various modernist compositional techniques, making use of dodecaphony and extended vocal techniques. He also worked in various media including traditional scores for orchestra and electronic music; many of his most significant compositions are for orchestra, but he wrote in all of the major genres, from solo instrumental works to opera.

Anhalt’s entire output as a composer is not large, having only completed about three dozen works over a the 60 year span from 1947 to 2007. The present recording of Anhalt’s last two orchestral works, launched on the occasion of the centennial of the composer’s birth, marks the beginning of an ongoing project by Ajtony Csaba to create professional commercial recordings of recent Canadian orchestral repertoire. Anhalt’s stature as “the heavyweight among Canadian composers” (as Udo Kasemets wrote in 1975), the high quality of his mature compositions, and a significant and growing body of scholarly work on his music, all suggest that he will retain his place as an important voice in Canadian composition of his era.

This new recording by the SALT Festival Orchestra and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra includes Anhalt’s two final orchestral works: “the timber of those times (a theogony)” and “Four Portraits from Memory”.

The SALT New Music Festival runs Aug 22-25 in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall in the B-Wing of UVic’s MacLaurin Building and at Open Space, 510 Fort St. Tickets are $5-$10 and available at the door.

Here’s a complete list of events:

  • 7pm Thursday, Aug 22 (Phillip T Young Recital Hall): Festival opening & Anhalt CD Launch
  • 8pm Thursday, Aug 22 (Phillip T Young Recital Hall): Concert of Ensemble Tsilumos
  • 4:30pm Friday, Aug 23 (UVic’s Create Lab, downstairs in MacLaurin B-wing): The mixing of the timber of those times, including a guided studio visit, demonstration and listening session in UVic’s new Create studio with sound engineer Kirk McNally
  • 8pm, Friday, Aug 23 (Phillip T Young Recital Hall): Concert of Quasar Saxophone Quartet, performing “Territoires sonores 1” plus works by Rebecca Bruton, Emilie Girard-Charest, Jim O’Leary, Ofer Pelz and Ajtony Csaba
  • 10:30am Saturday, Aug 24 (MacLaurin B037): “Body, eyes and ears—new connections”, an open symposium and colloquium on current issues in New Music, with Wolf Edwards. Sabrina Schroeder. Mauricio Pauly, Ajtony Csaba and Dr. Adam Con
  • 2:30pm Saturday, Aug 24 (Phillip T Young Recital Hall): Concert of Modular Music, an octet concert with participation of Quasar Saxophone Quartet, Tsilumos Ensemble, Liam Hockley and Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi performing works by Ajtony Csaba, Jean•Marc Bouchard and Sabrina Schroeder
  • 8pm Saturday, Aug 24 (Open Space): New Works for Wind Instruments, a concert of Duo 1010 (Stephanie Bell, flutes; Liam Hockley, clarinets) and Kristen Cooke (Oboe, English Horn) performing works by Max Murray, Nina Senk, Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, and Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • 10am Sunday, Aug 25 (Phillip T Young Recital Hall): Closing concert, with the festival ensemble presenting results of the composition and interpretation workshops.

Fringe Festival features over 60 students & alumni

Like the cool evenings that herald a shift toward autumn, the arrival of the Victoria Fringe Festival always signals that summer is coming to an end. Running August 21 to Sept 1 at various downtown venues, this annual explosion of live performance features 47 shows from around the globe, plus outdoor events and late night programming in the Fringe Club. Pick up a program guide, get your $6 Fringe button (you’ll need one in order to buy tickets) and get ready to Fringe!

While Fine Arts students and alumni regularly hit the Fringe circuit each summer—creating, performing, designing, directing and mounting shows in cities across North America—the Victoria Fringe Festival once again presents a wide range of shows feature students and alumni both onstage and off. And while most are from our acclaimed Department of Theatre, a couple of our Department of Writing students are also mounting shows this year.

Given that there are 47 shows to choose from, we’ll keep a Fine Arts focus on our alphabetical list of participants—but be sure to check out the complete show list.

Keara Barnes

Travel Theatrics – One woman, 18 characters. Watch Theatre alum Keara Barnes bring to life six true travel stories from across the globe.

PippinThis multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway musical tells the story of one young man’s music-filled quest to find the extraordinary at war, in love and via other such conquests and adventures, only to discover that true happiness is found in those unextraordinary moments of life. This production celebrates the 20th anniversary of the SMU youth Musical Theatre company, and is directed by Theatre alum Cam Culham.

Antigones –  A movement adaptation of Sophocles’ classic, Antigone, this piece turns to the other senses when words are not enough to express our truth. Former Theatre student Luciana Fernandes focuses on the experience of being Antigone; her truth and emotional journey as she defies the king to honour her fallen brother, knowing it may cost her life. Other Theatre alumni in this production include performers Shayla Pready, Hailey Fowler and Taryn Yoneda, plus current students Leah Anthony (stage manager), Aubrey McNair (lighting designer), Olivia Wheeler (sound designer & assistant director), and Logan Swain (sound designer on original production).

“Money on the Table”

Money on the Table – How far would you go to get your money back? Probably a question you should ask before you find yourself staring at an unconscious stranger taped to a chair. One trio of kidnappers is about to find out why in this dark comedy of investment, revenge, and terrible people. This one is filled with current Theatre students and alumni, including Andrew Fraser (producer & playwright), Logan Swain (producer & sound designer), Annie Konstantinov (director & lighting designer), Lucien Lum (costume designer & fight choreographer), Christian Tervo (props), Ashley Richter (stage manager) and actors Landon Wong, Julie McGuire, Nicholas Atkinson and Nicholas Guerreiro.

NevermoreEdgar Allan Poe lies unconscious in a gutter, dreaming of the women who shaped his life. But in the morning will he wake to dawn, or eternal darkness? Presented by Hapax Theatre — the creative team behind 2018 Pick-of-the-Fringe winner The Boy in the ChrysalisNevermore transforms the works of Poe into haunting melodies about love, loss and gothic longing. Stage managed by current Theatre student Taylor Guidotti.

how to pull your heart out through your throat –In a dark vat, three creatures steeped in tar struggle to create themselves. Does their need for validation keep them from being seen? A collision of theatre, dance, poetry and more, Impulse Theatre’s magically visceral “how-to” guide will leave you asking, “What does my heart really want to say?” Impulse Theatre is the creation of Theatre alumni Andrew Barrett and Emily Piggford, who are joined in this production by Theatre alumni Chase Hiebert and Rachel Levy.

Clayton Jevne in “Falstaff”

Falstaff – Veteran Theatre alum and longtime instructor Clayton Jevne takes us into battles, bedrooms and bars as he tackles a one-actor adaptation of Robert Nye’s Guardian Prize-winning biographical novel. Nye’s anti-hero “Jack” is a comical yet poignant combination of Shakespeare’s self-absorbed buffoon and the actual historic figure of Sir John Fastolf (Shakespeare’s original inspiration).

Summer Bucket List – Zoey and Grace find a discarded summer bucket list during two weeks of summer detention: “lemonade stand”, “give 2 blowjobs”. As they check off each item they uncover difficult truths about themselves and the women in their lives. From the creatives behind 2018 Victoria Fringe winner The Fitting Room comes a celebration of teenage girls and a validation of female rage. Written by current Writing MFA candidate Ellery Lamm, directed by Theatre alum Anna Marie Anderson, and featuring the talents of current Theatre students Aaron Smail (sound design), Hina Nishioka (lighting design), Devon Vecchio (stage manager) and actors Arielle Parsons, Emily Hay, Willa Hladun and Isaiah Adachi.

Laura Anne Harris in “Destiny USA”

Destiny USA – Creator of hit Fringe show, Pitch Blonde!, the latest from Theatre alum Laura Anne Harris chronicles her move from Toronto to Syracuse, New York—but she wasn’t expecting to be residing in Trump’s America. Gaining her first job as a Relay operator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, causes her to question if she can discover the hidden humanity of the American people.

The Rage Trials – A random committee of teenagers must decide if anger is beneficial or if it should be stricken from human consciousness: their decision will last 100 years. Written by Writing/Theatre alum Emma Leck and presented by alumni company Theatre SKAM’s Young Company, helmed by Theatre alum Matthew Payne. The Rage Trials is directed by Theatre alum Mikaela Haeusser with artistic support from alum Kathleen Greenfield, and features the talents of current Theatre student Logan Swain (production manager) and current Writing student Ariel Glidden (stage manager).

Jeff Leard in “False Profits”

False Profits – Fringe veteran and Theatre alum Jeff Leard takes aim at the super rich in this brand new capitalist satire. “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:16) “I’m stanky rich. Imma die tryin’ to spend this bitch.” (50 Cent)

The Trophy Hunt – This rolling world premiere featuring Theatre alum Celine Stubel is being performed in five Canadian cities this summer. The Trophy Hunt is a dark comedy exploring who eats who in a world where everything is observed, everything a zoo. Three unique characters irrevocably affected by the business of Big Game Hunting share their stories in a hidden location in Fan Tan Alley. Come on a hunt to stalk something wild and dangerous . . . you just might find it!

This Man is an Island – A hot air balloon mishap leaves former Theatre student Evan Roberts stranded alone on a remote, uninhabited island with a terrifying companion…his own mind! His resourcefulness will be pushed to the limit as he struggles to survive thirst, hunger, sunburn, boredom and existential angst, all the while remaining fun to hang out with, just in case someone else shows up.

Lub DubFormer Theatre/Writing student KP (the artist formerly known as Ann-Bernice Thomas) teams up with former Theatre student Monica Ogden to present this variety show for the marginalized, angry and unseen. LUB DUB is unapologetic, political, fiercely entertaining. Centering experiences of Black, Filipino, Queer, disabled, low income folks, LUB DUB invites you to celebrate, collaborate and smash white supremacy.

Also on deck at the Fringe Festival is the special Sunday Funday event with Atomic Vaudeville—one of Victoria’s theatrical success stories, AV is run by alum Britt Small and former student Jacob Richmond—and alumni Tristan Bacon and Joanne James of Working Class Theatre will be running the nightly Fringe Club (at Kwench, 823 Fort St). And the always-popular FringeKids event on Saturday, August 24 features the talents of alum Tiffany Tjosvold & her Embrace Arts Foundation, as well as alumni company Story Theatre and DJ Britty Britt (aka Britt Small).

And filling out the roster as technicians, venue managers, volunteer coordinators and front of house staff are Barbara Clerihue, Sivert Das, Nathan Patterson, Jasmine Li, Grace Forderchuk, Mikaela Haeusser, Hina Nishioka, Glen Shafer, Ted McRae, Geri Weir, Hillary Williams and SJ Valiquette.

Clearly, Fine Arts is a huge part of the Victoria Fringe Festival—both this and every year. Have fun!

—with files from Adrienne Holierhoek


Donor’s gift benefits film production classes

When it comes to hands-on learning and real-world experience, it’s hard to top the Department of Writing’s film production course, Writing 420. An integral part of UVic’s interdisciplinary Film Studies program, this popular course sees students create a short film from an original script, and involves them working on all aspects of the production: from lighting, sound and camerawork to editing, costumes and everything in-between.

Students filming 2018’s short film

Thanks to a new annual donation from the estate of Dorothy May Kelly and the Victoria Foundation, we can continue to support original filmmaking in the spirit of the public television networks that Dorothy so loved. This new fund will make a difference for years to come.

Led by award-winning filmmaker and Writing professor Maureen Bradley, Writing 420 students have made seven stand-alone short films and a 10-episode web series since 2009, which have been screened—and won awards—at a number of film festivals. Graduates have gone on to work in the film industry and develop their own independent film projects.

“We get the script in as best shape as possible before we go to camera,” says MFA alum, course instructor and professional filmmaker Connor Gaston of the process. “Then it’s about working with your key creatives to try and create a cohesive visual style and tone.”

By offering a variety of perspectives on film studies and screenplay writing, and by providing students the chance to hone their analytical skills and production techniques on an actual project, Writing 420 develops a critical appreciation of film culture in both historical and social contexts.

It also provides students with the satisfaction of seeing their finished work on the big screen at the likes of the Victoria Film Festival and UVic’s own student film festival, Sunscreen.

New scholarship honours alumna Avis Rasmussen

On her 82nd birthday, Visual Arts alumna Avis Rasmussen sits in her living room with a cup of tea, excitedly explaining her latest painting. “Playfair Park is beautiful this time of year,” she says, pointing to a canvas of bright purple and pink flowers. “I love capturing all the colours.” What Avis doesn’t know is that her family has set up a surprise for her birthday: establishing an endowed scholarship for UVic students in her name.

Avis Rasmussen

Juliana Hendriks, a leadership giving officer at UVic, is visiting Avis to deliver the news. “Avis we have a gift to share with you,” Juliana says, handing her an envelope.

Avis opens the envelope and begins to read. “It is your family’s wish that the Avis Rasmussen Award will be awarded each year to one or more mature graduate students in the Department of Visual Arts with a focus on painting, drawing or print-making.”

“I can’t believe they would do this for me!” Avis says smiling, “It means so much to be able to help UVic art students for years to come.”

Awarding drive and passion

Karin Rasmussen, Avis’s daughter, says the intention behind the gift is to provide affirmation and assistance to a student who embodies the same drive and passion her mom showed in pursuing her education. “Our family has always recognized the amazing achievement it was for her to have attained three university degrees while working and raising a family of five children,” she says. “We also wanted to honour dedication to being an educator and artist.”

Avis attended Victoria College, earning a teaching certificate in 1957.  After teaching for a few years, she decided to return to school to pursue her passion for art. “I had always loved art,” Avis explains, “As a child, I would spend hours in my father’s garden sketching and painting.”

Avis & Juliana Hendriks with her birthday surprise

Avis completed a Bachelor’s in Education in 1975 and then was accepted into the Visual Arts program, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in 1979. Three years later, Avis also graduated with a Master’s of Education.

While she continued teaching for many years, art became her life’s work. Avis spent time travelling through Canada, the U.S. and Europe painting plein air. “I loved to capture the colour and beauty of places,” says Avis. Her artwork received many accolades throughout the years and has been featured in exhibitions worldwide.

A legacy of giving

Through all her success, UVic has remained a priority for Avis. She served on the Alumni Board for several years and volunteered whenever she was able. “UVic will always have a special place in my heart,” Avis explains, “It is where I learned to challenge my creativity and honed my artistic style.”

It’s fitting Avis will now be able to help other students do the same through a scholarship in her name. “This award has allowed me to create a legacy of helping other artists pursue their dreams,” Avis says. “There is no better feeling than that.”

—Megan Lowry