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Past Performances

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Performances presented on 2017


Art's Birthday EURORADIO Broadcast
By Instant Places and Tina Pearson
January 17, 2017, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Broadcast information at http://artsbirthday.ebu.ch
Instant Places will be joined by guest Tina Pearson in a performance using the installation Carbon Sugar Air. The performance will be featured at 5:40 PM in an EBU-Satellite broadcast hosted by Kunstradio in Vienna, Austria. In 2017 the EURORADIO Ars Acustica group will once again be sharing the international Art's Birthday Parties around the world and will celebrate the 1,000,054th birthday of art.

Kunstradio also invites artists of all ages, disciplines and backgrounds to contribute “presents” for Art at http://www.kunstradio.at/PROJECTS/AB2017/presents-call.php
Instant Places are Laura Kavanaugh and Ian Birse. Since 1997 they have used handmade hardware/ software systems to activate internet broadcasts and web-art exchanges with telematic artists worldwide, and on-location performances and generative installations across Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, the United States, and South America. From September—December 2016 they presented new performance works across the UK, including the SonADA Festival (Aberdeen), GIO Fest (Glasgow), and collaborative performances with Italian dance improvisors Company Blu in Liverpool.
Tina Pearson composes, performs and collaborates in acoustic, electronic, multidisciplinary and telematic settings with conventional, found and invented instruments. She performs with extended flute, vocalization, tuned glass, accordion, virtual instruments and simple objects. Her playing is guided by depth of listening and bringing to the fore voices, sounds and places that have been unspoken, unnoticed or forgotten.
Herd
By Jeneen Frei Njootli
January 17, 6:45-7:45 pm (Exhibition continues to March 3)
NAISA Radio Broadcast of performance from White Water Gallery, North Bay. Listen at http://naisa.ca/naisa-radio/
Herd by Jeneen Frei Njootli is a performance which turns an ear to materials, such as caribou antlers, to sound the transmission of embedded and layered ancestral knowledge. This performance of this work will be aired live on NAISA Radio in a special Art's Birthday broadcast from White Water Gallery during the opening of the exhibition wnoondwaamin | we hear them, an exhibition curated by Lisa Myers, with works by Autumn Chacon, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Melissa General and Suzanne Morrissette. This exhibition calls for the occupation of sound waves, exploring the capacity of these energies to access knowledge and memory. wnoondwaamin | we hear them is organized and circulated by Trinity Square Video with the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist, a core member of the ReMatriate Collective and sits on the board of directors for grunt gallery in Vancouver. Frei Njootli has been based in these unceded territories of the Musqueam, the Squamish, Tsleiwatuth and Stolo peoples for nearly a decade while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Emily Carr University (2012) and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of British Columbia (2017). Frei Njootli’s practice concerns itself with Indigeneity-in-politics, community engagement and productive disruptions. She has worked as a performance artist, workshop facilitator, crime prevention youth coordinator, and has exhibited in the last year at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Gallery 44 (Toronto), gallery 1313 (Toronto), ace art (Winnipeg), and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (Vancouver).
Deep Wireless, an introduction
By Sebastien Lavoie, Debashis Sinha, Sarah Boothroyd and Christian Nicolay
February 4, 2017 to February 4, 2017
NAISA North, 106 Ottawa Ave, South River
Pay-What-You-Can
Listen to a concert of radio art works from past editions of Deep Wireless that find original ways to tell stories and paint scenes through sound. Included will be Basketball Glitch by Sebastien Lavoie, Through a Door by Sarah Boothroyd, Re-Do Speaking Song by Debashis Sinha, and Taking the Bridge by Christian Nicolay.


Program:
I. Basketball Glitch by Sebastien Lavoie
Basketball is one of the most played sports on the planet today. Its practice consists in throwing, dribbling and passing the ball, which produces lots of recognizable sounds. These sonorities are very rich and fertile in order to generate a “cinema for the ear”. The sound recordings, done on the Basketball court, have been manipulated and denaturalized through excessive digital transformations, thus creating some glitches on the original sounds.
II. redo / speaking song by Debashis Sinha
redo and speaking song were created separately but made for each other, an exploration of the many dualities that manifest themselves in my life: musician/technician, South Asian Canadian, ancient/modern, dust and concrete.
III. Through a Door by Sarah Boothroyd
Commissioned in 2007 by CBC Radio and New Adventures In Sound Art, this is a soundscape piece about the Nicholas Street Jail in Ottawa, a structure described by a jail inspector in 1946 as a monstrous relic of an imperfect civilization where cells are medieval, incredibly cramped, with conditions far below the limits of human decency.
IV. Taking the Bridge by Christian Nicolay
Taking the Bridge is an attempt to resurrect abandoned and obsolete objects by amplifying and constructing their sounds, re-inventing their function into instruments for contemporary dialogue. Using a multitude of various pick-ups, guitar pedals, and amplifiers the collection of sounds from an unauthorized climbing of Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver are constructed together on broken tape recorders to further explore the gritty, linear qualities of analogue tape and accentuate this exploration of erosion and abandonment. The bridge is not only an instrument, but also a way to cross over into places you would not know how to get to through logical investigations.
Sebastien Lavoie is currently working on doctorate research on the hybridization of electroacoustic and electronic dance music with his research director Monty Adkins at the University of Huddersfield, in the UK. Sebastien is a 2014 winner in the CEC’s annual JTTP project. To listen: @sebastienlavoie1
Debashis Sinha Debashis Sinha has realized projects for speakers and the stage across Canada and internationally. A winner of 2 Dora Awards for outstanding sound work in theatre, he was worked on productions with The Stratford Festival, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Why Not Theatre, Project Humanity, Doug Varone, The Theatre Centre, Tribal Crackling Wind, and many others. His live sound practice has led to appearances at MUTEK, the Guelph Jazz Festival, the Banff Centre, The Sound Symposium, ISEA, Madrid Abierto, and other venues, and his radio works have been featured on Radio National España, Deutschlandradio Kultur, ORF Kunstradio, Deep Wireless and other radio spaces.
Sarah Boothroyd The audio work of Canadian Sarah Boothroyd has been featured by broadcasters, festivals and galleries in over 25 countries. She has won awards from Third Coast International Audio Festival, New York Festivals, the European Broadcasting Union, and La Muse En Circuit
Christian Nicolay Born 1977 in Edmonton Alberta; after receiving his BFA at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna BC (1996-2000), Christian Nicolay hitchhiked across Canada with a wooden chair on a Canada Council Travel Grant recording sounds and constructing a viewer participation performance as part of a cross country gallery exchange. He has exhibited and performed in numerous spaces across North America including Public, Commercial, and Artist Run Art galleries. His interdisciplinary art practice combines performance, sound recording, installation and video, exploring the relationships between order and chaos, and the unity of opposites. He summarizes his art and life by "paying attention to systematic confusion".
Tele-Conduction
By Doug Van Nort, Thomas Gerwin, Sarah Weaver and Glen Hall
February 16, 2017, 4:00 pm local time in Toronto and 8:30-10 pm local time in Berlin
DisPerSion Lab, Room 334, Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, York University, Toronto - Exploratorium Berlin, 10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg Mehringdamm 55, Berlin - Broadcast on naisa radio - http://www.naisa.ca/naisa-radio
FREE
This is two performances in two countries that overlap through telematic connections. The performance begins at the Exploratorium Berlin with an improvised set by Thomas Gerwin and guests. That performance will conclude with a transcontinental collaboration that uses the telepresence performance environment available at the DisPersion Lab at York University in Toronto. In that performance Thomas Gerwin will conduct from the Exploratorium Berlin a structured improvisation by the Electro-Acoustic Orchestra (EAO), who will be performing at the DisPerSion Lab in Toronto. Following that performance the EAO will continue performing other networked pieces in Toronto by guest artist Sarah Weaver, EAO director Doug Van Nort, as well as EAO member and active Toronto improviser Glen Hall. Note the early start time of this performance for Toronto listeners.


Doug Van Nort is Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance at York University, and an Assistant Professor cross-appointed between the departments of Computational Arts, Music and Theatre & Performance Studies. Van Nort is an artist, researcher, composer and performer. His work is concerned with issues of performance and sensorial immersion in technologically-mediated environments. He creates works that integrate improvisation and collective performance with machine agents, interactive systems and experiences of telepresence. Van Nort regularly presents this work internationally, and recent projects have spanned telematic music compositions, transforming an elevator into an electroacoustic sculpture, interactive textiles, developing machine improvisation systems, interactive music composition for a dance piece based on muscle sound, and performing sonified data streams from NASA's Kepler mission. This work is informed by his background in mathematics, media arts, music composition and performance, and draws upon disparate areas ranging from perception and cognition, systems theory, performance studies, cybernetics, machine learning, signal processing and various forms of ritual.
Thomas Gerwin is a multi-talented and prolific composer, sound artist, improviser and curator and operates his own presentation organization in Berlin called Inter-Art Project. Inter-Art project regularly presents sound art and experimental music, including the annual International Sound Art Festival Berlin. Thomas Gerwin has participated in and has led many large scale artistic collaborative projects over his career.
Sarah Weaver is a New York-based composer, conductor, and technologist working internationally as a specialist in telematic music for large contemporary ensembles and in localized works.
Transmission Soundprints

By Amanda Dawn Christie and Artists from the TransX Transmission Art Symposium
February 17, 2017, 8:00 pm
Geary Lane, 360 Geary Avenue, Toronto
General $15 , Students $10
This performance features a performance by keynote TransX artist Amanda Dawn Christie along with a selection of works from the TransX Transmission Art Symposium international call for submissions. Sounds of the radio ether and historical recordings appear in this show in a variety of forms. In Christie's work Transmissions they are paired with live manipulation of film loops of many contemporary and historical communications devices.

Program:
I. Transmissions by Amanda Dawn Christie
Transmissions, is an improvisational performance for analogue and digital technologies that explores radio waves and dreaming; satellites and ideas; wireless internet and cell phones; television and radio broadcasts; all of these signals contribute to complex interconnected webs of invisible landscapes and invisible architectures passing through our bodies in every time and in every space. The analogue aspect of the live performance involves the manipulation of 16mm film loops through the use of prisms, mirrors, and lenses, which distort the images while sending them beyond the rectangular perimeter of the screen. The digital aspect of the live performance involves the real time processing of short wave radio sounds through the use of a kaoss pad.

This performance bridges the gap between contemporary digital technologies and anachronistic analogue machines. People often equate interactivity with digital technologies and yet this improvisational performance finds a way to interactively engage with 16mm film loops in real time through the use of glass and mirrors. It ironically presents analogue images of digital devices while simultaneously incorporating digital manipulation of analogue source sounds.
Amanda Dawn Christie is an interdisciplinary artist working in film, video, performance, photography, and sound. Since 1997, she has been serving on various boards, teaching, publishing, and serving on juries across Canada. She completed her MFA at the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts in Vancouver, before moving to Amsterdam. Upon her return to Canada she worked at Faucet Media Arts Centre & Struts Gallery, and later as director of the Galerie Sans Nom and RE:FLUX festival of music and sound art. She currently works primarily on her art practice while teaching part time at U de M in Moncton.
Stories, Reflections...
By Parisa Sabet, Joan Schuman, Martín Rodgríguez and Debashis Sinha
February 18, 2017, 8:00 pm
Geary Lane, 360 Geary Avenue, Toronto
General $15 , Students $10
This performance showcases works encompassing different forms of storytelling and reflecting on one's experiences as well as the moral dilemmas confronted.

Program:
I. Nothing's going to happen to us... by Stijn Demeulenaere
Nothing’s going to happen to us...' investigates how our perceptions of an armed conflict relate to a lived reality. Memories of a bombardment are confronted with the views of sound-designers on such an experience. These voices are structured by the sounds of conflicts worldwide. Nothing’s going to happen to us...' explores the tensions between a lived experience of an armed conflict, and our (re-)presentation of such a conflict. It does so by examining how we interpret sounds in those high alert moments. What they mean to us. How we respond to sounds in different situations, as different audiences. Please note that the presentation shown tonight has previously been shown as an installation.
II. Visiting Grandpa by Parisa Sabet
Visiting Grandpa is a multi-channel soundscape based on my memories of my grandfather. It was written when I learned that the Iranian revolutionary guard demolished the historic cemetery of Baha'is in Shiraz (Iran), where my grandfather's remains were buried as well as those of many other Baha'is'.
I'd like to thank my husband, Kamran Fallah, for the translation of the original text into English; Nika Khanjani, for her powerful narration of the story; and Roya Sepehri, for creating a serene atmosphere by chanting prayers beautifully in Persian.
III. Flesh has turned itself to stone or dust by Joan Schuman
An intersection of philosophical/poetic questions about what is entailed in humanely raising animals for slaughter. Woven through a story of two farmers are other narrative voices, listening towards an unseen goat who moved, quite vocally, into the neighborhood. A third voice questions the dreamscape and needs of animal others. John Berger’s texts about visual culture beckon us to understand our relationships with animals. This sonic response poetically weighs eating flesh vs. seeing animals as metaphor. By listening to an unseen goat’s woeful cries, there’s a curiosity about its relationship to two farmers grappling with raising animals for slaughter.
IV. Radio Therapy by Martín Rodgríguez
The fog of chemo and numbness of radiation. The brain surgery. Paralysis. The seizure that exposed it all. The sterile sounds of the hospital. One must find a way to heal.

"Radio Therapy" expresses these sentiments by transforming the brutal sounds of Rodriguez's MRI into a meditation on the healing process of his recovery from a cancerous brain tumor, creating both a soothing and battling ambiance of recovery & remission.

"Radio Therapy" is produced by harnessing radio frequencies alongside a transmission of Rodriguez's MRI brain scan through a transducer that is attached to a standalone guitar. The transducer forces the whole body of the guitar to vibrate. The resulting sound is a blend of musical notes, and scanned AM radio frequencies resonating through the body of the guitar and passing through a chain of manipulated sound effects.
V. The City by Debashis Sinha
I am a city person.

I am most a city person in the city of my second home, Kolkata - being there magnifies to me the complicated processes of what a city does.

It started as a small and subtle sound deep within, this understanding of urban spaces as sharing common traits. But the more places I went, the more I breathed the air, I realized that wherever the city, there was something in it that I responded to - something hidden from the higher senses, yet affecting me and the others in the space I shared with them. I felt the same, no matter the place.

Think of your city. Hear it sound. Open your mind to what else is sounding past what you hear.
Parisa Sabet is an Iranian composer based in Toronto. Parisa’s compositions have a unique and lyrical quality that stems out of blending elements of Eastern and Western’s musical languages. Parisa is a recipient of several grants and scholarships including the 2016 Irene R. Miller and Anoush Khoshkish Fellowship in Music, the 2015 Ann H Atkinson Prize in Composition, the 2014-2015 Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the John Weinzweig Graduating Scholarship. She was also a recipient of a 2013-2014 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarship. Professionally, her compositions have won various competitions and have been performed in different venues in North America. Currently, she is pursuing her DMA in composition at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis. For more information, please visit: http://www.parisasabet.com
Joan Schuman My audiophilia whispers into the radio’s ear. Hybrid narratives air in the States, Canada, Europe and Australia, in festivals, and online. I live in coastal California, teach online radio production and theory classes at The New School for Public Engagement in Manhattan, and curate sound art online at Earlid.
Martín Rodgríguez Martín's musical and artistic explorations are rooted in his colourful experiences coming from a Polish-Mexican-American home. Influenced by environmental sounds he draws a connection between the instinctive sonic communication occurring in nature and how human beings harness sound for their means of expression to create sonic environments which are living, listening, and engaging in the present. In 2014, Martin's interest in interactive installations and a brian tumor diagnosis lead to, “Cabezón” an immersive interactive performance environment exploring how we, as individuals and/or as a community, react when confronted with unexpected life-changing experiences that cross our path. In addition to his personal artistic explorations, Martín works as Technical Director and Lab Coordinator at Eastern Bloc, an artist run centre based in Montreal.
Debashis Sinha Debashis Sinha has realized projects for speakers and the stage across Canada and internationally. A winner of 2 Dora Awards for outstanding sound work in theatre, he was worked on productions with The Stratford Festival, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Why Not Theatre, Project Humanity, Doug Varone, The Theatre Centre, Tribal Crackling Wind, and many others. His live sound practice has led to appearances at MUTEK, the Guelph Jazz Festival, the Banff Centre, The Sound Symposium, ISEA, Madrid Abierto, and other venues, and his radio works have been featured on Radio National España, Deutschlandradio Kultur, ORF Kunstradio, Deep Wireless and other radio spaces.
The Work and Ideas of Pierre Schaeffer
Co-Presented by Alliance Française and New Adventures in Sound Art
March 3, 2017, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Alliance Française, 24 Spadina Road, Toronto, ON
General $15 , Students $10, Free for 18 or under.
Pierre Schaeffer is one of the founding figures in the development of electroacoustic music. The history of the practice that he helped to spawn with his pedagogical writing and teaching and his forward-thinking compositions, which all began in the post World War II era over 60 years ago, was one of the main points of origin for electroacoustic music in Canada and around the world.

Canada, with its linguistic and cultural ties to France, was certainly among those countries through which Schaeffer's work and writings impacted new explorations of music and post-war technology. Since 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada's founding it is a welcome opportunity to trace the impact of Pierre Schaeffer - and the practice of Musique Concrète - on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada, and in Québec in particular, where this practice continues to flourish through to the present day. This concert will connect Pierre Schaeffer's classic work Étude aux objets to works by Canadian artists who were influenced by Schaeffer's practice and that had an impact on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada.

The Works and Ideas of Pierre Schaffer, an introduction

Pierre Schaeffer

Pierre Schaeffer is one of the founding figures in the development of electroacoustic music. The history of the practice that he helped to spawn with his pedagogical writing and teaching and his forward-thinking compositions, which all began in the post World War II era over 60 years ago, was one of the main points of origin for electroacoustic music in Canada and around the world.

Canada, with its linguistic and cultural ties to France, was certainly among those countries through which Schaeffer's work and writings impacted new explorations of music and post-war technology. Since 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada's founding it is a welcome opportunity to trace the impact of Pierre Schaeffer - and the practice of Musique Concrète - on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada, and in Québec in particular, where this practice continues to flourish through to the present day. This concert will connect Pierre Schaeffer's classic work Étude aux objets to works by Canadian artists who were influenced by Schaeffer's practice and that had an impact on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada.

The first point of influence on Canadian electroacoustic music began when Canadian scientist and inventor Hugh Le Caine heard Schaeffer’s music on the BBC while he was studying atomic physics in Birmingham between 1948 and 1952. This exposure to Schaeffer excited LeCaine, as Lecaine's biographer Gayle Young related to me, because he had been experimenting with acetate discs, a consumer recording standard that predated magnetic tape. When LeCaine returned to Canada and established a base at the National Research Council he went on to invent the Multi-Purpose Tape Recorder in 1955 and several other creations that all pre-dated computer music and analog synthesis by a decade or more. His piece Dripsody was a study to show what his invention could do and is one of the classic works in the history of electroacoustic music. In fact, it was included in one of the first broadcasts of Schaeffer's music in Canada, which was produced by John Beckwith when he was at the CBC.

Many of Le Caine's inventions found their way into the first electronic music studios in Canada, particularly those at the University of Toronto, Queen's University and McGill University. After 1974, the McGill University studio was directed by Alcides Lanza from Argentina. Lanza created a connection between composers wanting to explore the new electronic music at the time and Le Caine's many pioneering inventions. Since that time, Lanza has been very active as a pianist and conductor of contemporary music. In that role he performed a mixed version of Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux's Arksalalartôq for voice, piano and tape with his wife Meg Sheppard.

Coulombe Saint-Marcoux also a had a role in bringing Musique Concrète to Québec where she taught at Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and with Otto Joachim and Gilles Tremblay helped to found a studio there. She was familiar with Schaeffer. She took his course at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris and she created the tape version of Arksalalartôq at the GRM studio in Paris.

Later on at the Conservatoire in the late seventies, Yves Daoust developed the first electroacoustic music-teaching curriculum. He also directed ACREQ, Canada's first presenter of electroacoustic music, where he introduced to Canadian composers the practice of sound projection with a mixing console that had been long established in France by Schaeffer's followers such as François Bayle at GRM, Christian Clozier at IMEB in Bourges and Denis Smalley at East Anglia in the UK. The studio of IMEB's predecessor GMEB was in fact where Quator was composed and the activity at Bourges had a lasting influence on Daoust.

The impact of Schaeffer on Canadian electroacoustic music did not stop at these important points of origin. In fact, a new era of influence and growth began with the arrival of Francis Dhomont from Paris at the studios of the Université de Montréal in 1978. As the advances in digital technology progressed through the 80's and 90's in popular music came the refinement of Musique Concrète practice where composers had greater resources at hand to produce their work. Dhomont's teaching and influence helped to steward the arrival of many leading figures in electroacoustic music that play a central part today, such as Robert Normandeau, Gilles Gobeil, Stephane Roy, Christian Calon and Monique Jean to name a few examples. Interestingly, despite Dhomont's Parisian origins and his age, one would think that he was based at GRM and worked with Schaeffer and his succcesor François Bayle. But, no, he operated outside of GRM for the most part in Montréal and in the south of France. Nonetheless, his work Novars is a tribute to Schaeffer and the history of Musique Concrète.

Musique Concrète activity in Canada was not limited to Québec. There were early studios in Vancouver at UBC and Simon Fraser University and beginning in the mid-eighties technology was becoming affordable enough that composers could start their own personal studios. Among those active here in Toronto was Randall Smith. One of the interesting facts about Randall Smith is that he was able to study and practice Musique Concrète without going through the educational institutions, which were the primary resource for equipment resources, education and dissemination of Musique Concrète. Through avid record collecting, careful listening and study, Smith applied his knowledge of Musique Concrète to his work as a sound designer and composer for experimental films. Through that and through his compositions for the concert hall, Randall Smith developed his own voice and style, which can be heard in his works published on the empreintes DIGITALes label.

Which brings me to one more critical juncture in the development of Musique Concrète in Canada, which is the publication of recordings of electroacoustic music by Jean-Francois Denis and Claude Schryer, who founded the world-renowned label empreintes DIGITALes. The empreintes DIGITALes label is perhaps the leading source for listening to electroacoustic music on recorded media and the website electrocd.com is the main clearing house for purchasing electroacoustic music from around the world. Another key contribution by Denis was his part as the founding President of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community / Communaute electroacoustique canadienne (CEC). Spearheaded by the community building work of Kevin Austin, the CEC is an information, discussion and dissemination portal for electroacoustic music across Canada.

As I mentioned above I am going to intersperse the five parts of Pierre Schaeffer's Étude aux objets in between each Canadian work. I suggest that you listen with an awareness to overlaps in gestures, timbres and musical forms between this work and the Canadian works on the program.

Thank you to Francis Dhomont, Yves Daoust, Randall Smith, Gayle Young and Andra McCartney for sharing their knowledge and insight with me in the preparation of my introductory notes.


Programme:
Hugh Le Caine - Dripsody: An Etude for Variable Speed Recorder (1955)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets rassemblés (1959, 71) #5
Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux - Arksalalartôq (1970-71)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets étendus (1959, 71) #2
Yves Daoust - Quatuor (1979)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets multipliés (1959, 71) #3

(intermission)

Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets exposés (1959, 71) #1
Francis Dhomont - Novars (1989)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets liés (1959, 71) #4
Randall Smith - InsideOut (1999)

Program:
I. Dripsody: An Etude for Variable Speed Recorder (1955), 1:28 by Hugh Le Caine

Dripsody: An Étude for Variable Speed Recorder was Le Caine's first project for his new Multi-track (formally known as the Special Purpose Tape Recorder). It was composed in one night using a recording of a drop of water falling into a bucket, re-recorded at different speeds to produce the pitches of a pentatonic scale. - Gayle Young, http://www.hughlecaine.com/en/compositions.html
II. Étude aux objets: Objets rassemblés (1959, 71), 3:37 by Pierre Schaeffer
“L’Étude aux objets n’est qu’une reconnaissance hâtive dans un domaine immense. Non seulement le choix des objets est fascinant, mais les lois de leur association et de leur développement nous sont toutes encore inconnues. […] Dans le premier mouvement, Objets exposés, huit objets sonores différents forment une phrase confiée au premier haut-parleur, le deuxième réplique par un «contre-thème» formé, lui aussi, de huit objets. Les développements sont obtenus par variation du thème qui impose sa forme aux différentes séquences d’objets dans leur succession et superposition.” —Pierre Schaeffer, 1960
III. Arksalalartôq (1970-71), 6:45 by Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux
Beyond the surface meanings of language we may become aware of a world where the play of decomposition, association and juxtaposition produce an unlimited number of sounds and sonorities. A kind of verbal delirium, or vertigo. Arksalalartôq, based on texts by Québec poets Noël Audet and Gilles Marsolais, expresses the vertigo of words and sounds, by analogy with the Inuit game (most often played by women) in which participants test their creative and inventive powers as well as their stamina by emitting sounds most of which are meaningless.

During the creation of this work, Coulombe Saint-Marcoux recognized the resistance of some sonic materials and the importance of openness for the composer. In an interview with Lyse Richer, she said that she worked for two days on a ten-second montage that refused to do what she wished. Suddenly, she decided to play it backwards, and found the result to be marvellous: “one must not be too stubborn. The material at hand has its potential at the start, and its exigencies and its limits” (Richer 1984: 22). [English translation: Andra McCartney]

Arksalalartôq was realized in 1970-71 in the GRM studios (Paris, France) and premiered on February 26, 1971 during the “Journées-rencontres du GRM” in Les Halles (Paris, France). Arksalalartôq was commissioned by the Ina-GRM. A mixed version—for voice, electronics and tape—was realized in 1976 at the request of actress-singer Meg Sheppard and composer-pianist alcides lanza and recorded on the disc Transmutations: voice, piano & electronics, New Music from the Americas vol. 3 (Shelan, ESP 9601).
IV. Étude aux objets: Objets étendus (1959, 71), 2:58 by Pierre Schaeffer
V. Quatuor (1979), 18:43 by Yves Daoust
Here the approach is more ‘classical’: the sound sources, although instrumental, are used as objects reshaped with the traditional transformation techniques of the analog studio. The reference to the instrumental nature of the sounds and to the string quartet remains very strong: it is at the source of the process.
During the composition of this piece I was thinking of Beethoven’s Große Fuge, Opus 133, especially of its unbelievable — almost inhuman — tension, as if Beethoven had wanted to make the instrument explode, wanted to reach the limit beyond which reside zones of expression inaccessible to acoustic instruments — other than in dreams — but that the magic and artifices of electroacoustic means now allow us to explore.

Searching for the inflections and articulations characteristic of string quartet writing throughout time, pushing them a little to enter into an imaginary space, transcending the physical limits of the musicians tied to their acoustic instruments remain the objectives of Quatuor (Quartet), intended as an hommage to those performers for whom the formation of a quartet is a little like entering into a religion… - Yves Daoust [ix-91]

Since its premiere, Quatuor has known many different versions and forms of presentation. First, it was composed as the soundtrack for the animation film L’âge de chaise (The Age of the Chair), directed by Jean-Thomas Bédard at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). It was then reworked at the Atelier sonore de l’ONF (‘NFB Sound Shop’) as an autonomous electroacoustic piece. In its concert format, the work was premiered in April, 1979, at the Conventum in Montréal in a concert produced by ACREQ. It was then presented along with a multi-image projection realized by photographer Jean-Guy Thibodeau. Quatuor was awarded the 1st Prize in the Electroacoustic Category of the 8th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1980) and the 1980 CIME Grand Prize, and was first released on the Cultures électroniques 1 compact disc produced by the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB) on the Le chant du monde label (LDC 278043).
VI. Étude aux objets: Objets multipliés (1959, 71), 3:05 by Pierre Schaeffer
VII. Étude aux objets: Objets exposés (1959, 71), 3:37 by Pierre Schaeffer
VIII. Novars (1989), 19:07 by Francis Dhomont
To musique concrète and Pierre Schaeffer, its ‘ill-fated inventor’
“… one moment transported in beautified memories of the first ‘concrète’ illuminations of my childhood […]. Perhaps I was the only one to be so moved by the sound of these last ‘measures’…” — Marie-Claire Schaeffer-Patris, personal letter to the composer.

Novars salutes the birth of musique concrète, the Ars Nova of our century, by calling upon the resources of the computer. The intention is not to create a pastiche but, on the contrary, to testify that by the most advanced means a language has been passed on. It may also be possible to suggest, without establishing a simplistic symmetry, that there exists a link between these two theorists of a new art: Vitry and Schaeffer.

The ‘classical’ ear will perhaps recognize fragments from Schaeffer’s Étude aux objets (1959) and Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame (1364). These quotations, along with a third sound element — a sort of homage to Pierre Henry and his infamous door — are the sole materials giving birth to multiple variations.
A sign of change: ‘spectromorphologic’ (Denis Smalley) mutations give to sonorities of the Ars Nova and to ‘new music’ (as Schaeffer named it in 1950) the sound of our time. A sign of continuity: something from the original works (their color, their structure…) remains present, indestructible. - Francis Dhomont [ix-91]

Novars — 3rd of the 4 works in the Cycle du son — was realized at Studio 123 of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France) and at the composer’s studio and premiered on May 29, 1989, as part of the 11th GRM Acousmatic Concert Series at the Grand Auditorium of the Maison Radio France (Paris). This piece was selected by the 1990 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’90) in Glasgow (Scotland), and by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) for the 1991 World Music Days in Zürich (Switzerland). The jury of the 1991 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award also selected it for performance at its award concert in Stockholm (Sweden). Special thanks to Pierre Schaeffer who has kindly allowed the quotation of a few sound propositions, now historic; and to Bénédict Mailliard, Yann Geslin and Daniel Teruggi without whose patience it would have been impossible to domesticate Studio 123 and the Syter real-time sound synthesis system of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France). Novars was commissioned by the Ina-GRM.
IX. Étude aux objets: Objets liés (1959, 71), 3:09 by Pierre Schaeffer
X. InsideOut (1999), 14:23 by Randall Smith
InsideOut explores a new direction in my tape works. It is a piece where all the sounds were derived from four instruments of the orchestra: alto flute (C4), violin (pizz G-sharp4), E-flat clarinet (D-sharp4), and double bass (pizz B-flat2; bowed A2). The objective in this piece with the five sounds was to explore the many avenues of sonic manipulation that the technology at my disposal would permit but at the same time a trace of the sounds original signature would still be perceptible. The processing was a way of reinventing the original sounds instead of deconstructing them. What I was able to refine from the laborious task of processing from so few sounds was textured sustaining material to contrapuntal percussive types sounds. A large variety of material was produced. The next stage was to develop musical ideas from traditional forms of composition like counterpoint, rhythm and harmony into a piece that was intended purely for tape. InsideOut is the combination of the highly abstract process of the creation of sound objects and their metamorphosis into dispersed fields of polyphonic tonal languages. - Randall Smith [xii-99]
The Work and Ideas of Pierre Schaeffer
Co-Presented by Alliance Française and New Adventures in Sound Art
March 3, 2017, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Alliance Française, 24 Spadina Road, Toronto, ON
General $15 , Students $10, Free for 18 or under.
Pierre Schaeffer is one of the founding figures in the development of electroacoustic music. The history of the practice that he helped to spawn with his pedagogical writing and teaching and his forward-thinking compositions, which all began in the post World War II era over 60 years ago, was one of the main points of origin for electroacoustic music in Canada and around the world.

Canada, with its linguistic and cultural ties to France, was certainly among those countries through which Schaeffer's work and writings impacted new explorations of music and post-war technology. Since 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada's founding it is a welcome opportunity to trace the impact of Pierre Schaeffer - and the practice of Musique Concrète - on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada, and in Québec in particular, where this practice continues to flourish through to the present day. This concert will connect Pierre Schaeffer's classic work Étude aux objets to works by Canadian artists who were influenced by Schaeffer's practice and that had an impact on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada.

The Works and Ideas of Pierre Schaffer, an introduction

Pierre Schaeffer

Pierre Schaeffer is one of the founding figures in the development of electroacoustic music. The history of the practice that he helped to spawn with his pedagogical writing and teaching and his forward-thinking compositions, which all began in the post World War II era over 60 years ago, was one of the main points of origin for electroacoustic music in Canada and around the world.

Canada, with its linguistic and cultural ties to France, was certainly among those countries through which Schaeffer's work and writings impacted new explorations of music and post-war technology. Since 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada's founding it is a welcome opportunity to trace the impact of Pierre Schaeffer - and the practice of Musique Concrète - on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada, and in Québec in particular, where this practice continues to flourish through to the present day. This concert will connect Pierre Schaeffer's classic work Étude aux objets to works by Canadian artists who were influenced by Schaeffer's practice and that had an impact on the development of electroacoustic music in Canada.

The first point of influence on Canadian electroacoustic music began when Canadian scientist and inventor Hugh Le Caine heard Schaeffer’s music on the BBC while he was studying atomic physics in Birmingham between 1948 and 1952. This exposure to Schaeffer excited LeCaine, as Lecaine's biographer Gayle Young related to me, because he had been experimenting with acetate discs, a consumer recording standard that predated magnetic tape. When LeCaine returned to Canada and established a base at the National Research Council he went on to invent the Multi-Purpose Tape Recorder in 1955 and several other creations that all pre-dated computer music and analog synthesis by a decade or more. His piece Dripsody was a study to show what his invention could do and is one of the classic works in the history of electroacoustic music. In fact, it was included in one of the first broadcasts of Schaeffer's music in Canada, which was produced by John Beckwith when he was at the CBC.

Many of Le Caine's inventions found their way into the first electronic music studios in Canada, particularly those at the University of Toronto, Queen's University and McGill University. After 1974, the McGill University studio was directed by Alcides Lanza from Argentina. Lanza created a connection between composers wanting to explore the new electronic music at the time and Le Caine's many pioneering inventions. Since that time, Lanza has been very active as a pianist and conductor of contemporary music. In that role he performed a mixed version of Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux's Arksalalartôq for voice, piano and tape with his wife Meg Sheppard.

Coulombe Saint-Marcoux also a had a role in bringing Musique Concrète to Québec where she taught at Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and with Otto Joachim and Gilles Tremblay helped to found a studio there. She was familiar with Schaeffer. She took his course at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris and she created the tape version of Arksalalartôq at the GRM studio in Paris.

Later on at the Conservatoire in the late seventies, Yves Daoust developed the first electroacoustic music-teaching curriculum. He also directed ACREQ, Canada's first presenter of electroacoustic music, where he introduced to Canadian composers the practice of sound projection with a mixing console that had been long established in France by Schaeffer's followers such as François Bayle at GRM, Christian Clozier at IMEB in Bourges and Denis Smalley at East Anglia in the UK. The studio of IMEB's predecessor GMEB was in fact where Quator was composed and the activity at Bourges had a lasting influence on Daoust.

The impact of Schaeffer on Canadian electroacoustic music did not stop at these important points of origin. In fact, a new era of influence and growth began with the arrival of Francis Dhomont from Paris at the studios of the Université de Montréal in 1978. As the advances in digital technology progressed through the 80's and 90's in popular music came the refinement of Musique Concrète practice where composers had greater resources at hand to produce their work. Dhomont's teaching and influence helped to steward the arrival of many leading figures in electroacoustic music that play a central part today, such as Robert Normandeau, Gilles Gobeil, Stephane Roy, Christian Calon and Monique Jean to name a few examples. Interestingly, despite Dhomont's Parisian origins and his age, one would think that he was based at GRM and worked with Schaeffer and his succcesor François Bayle. But, no, he operated outside of GRM for the most part in Montréal and in the south of France. Nonetheless, his work Novars is a tribute to Schaeffer and the history of Musique Concrète.

Musique Concrète activity in Canada was not limited to Québec. There were early studios in Vancouver at UBC and Simon Fraser University and beginning in the mid-eighties technology was becoming affordable enough that composers could start their own personal studios. Among those active here in Toronto was Randall Smith. One of the interesting facts about Randall Smith is that he was able to study and practice Musique Concrète without going through the educational institutions, which were the primary resource for equipment resources, education and dissemination of Musique Concrète. Through avid record collecting, careful listening and study, Smith applied his knowledge of Musique Concrète to his work as a sound designer and composer for experimental films. Through that and through his compositions for the concert hall, Randall Smith developed his own voice and style, which can be heard in his works published on the empreintes DIGITALes label.

Which brings me to one more critical juncture in the development of Musique Concrète in Canada, which is the publication of recordings of electroacoustic music by Jean-Francois Denis and Claude Schryer, who founded the world-renowned label empreintes DIGITALes. The empreintes DIGITALes label is perhaps the leading source for listening to electroacoustic music on recorded media and the website electrocd.com is the main clearing house for purchasing electroacoustic music from around the world. Another key contribution by Denis was his part as the founding President of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community / Communaute electroacoustique canadienne (CEC). Spearheaded by the community building work of Kevin Austin, the CEC is an information, discussion and dissemination portal for electroacoustic music across Canada.

As I mentioned above I am going to intersperse the five parts of Pierre Schaeffer's Étude aux objets in between each Canadian work. I suggest that you listen with an awareness to overlaps in gestures, timbres and musical forms between this work and the Canadian works on the program.

Thank you to Francis Dhomont, Yves Daoust, Randall Smith, Gayle Young and Andra McCartney for sharing their knowledge and insight with me in the preparation of my introductory notes.


Programme:
Hugh Le Caine - Dripsody: An Etude for Variable Speed Recorder (1955)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets rassemblés (1959, 71) #5
Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux - Arksalalartôq (1970-71)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets étendus (1959, 71) #2
Yves Daoust - Quatuor (1979)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets multipliés (1959, 71) #3

(intermission)

Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets exposés (1959, 71) #1
Francis Dhomont - Novars (1989)
Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux objets: Objets liés (1959, 71) #4
Randall Smith - InsideOut (1999)

Program:
I. Dripsody: An Etude for Variable Speed Recorder (1955), 1:28 by Hugh Le Caine

Dripsody: An Étude for Variable Speed Recorder was Le Caine's first project for his new Multi-track (formally known as the Special Purpose Tape Recorder). It was composed in one night using a recording of a drop of water falling into a bucket, re-recorded at different speeds to produce the pitches of a pentatonic scale. - Gayle Young, http://www.hughlecaine.com/en/compositions.html
II. Étude aux objets: Objets rassemblés (1959, 71), 3:37 by Pierre Schaeffer
“L’Étude aux objets n’est qu’une reconnaissance hâtive dans un domaine immense. Non seulement le choix des objets est fascinant, mais les lois de leur association et de leur développement nous sont toutes encore inconnues. […] Dans le premier mouvement, Objets exposés, huit objets sonores différents forment une phrase confiée au premier haut-parleur, le deuxième réplique par un «contre-thème» formé, lui aussi, de huit objets. Les développements sont obtenus par variation du thème qui impose sa forme aux différentes séquences d’objets dans leur succession et superposition.” —Pierre Schaeffer, 1960
III. Arksalalartôq (1970-71), 6:45 by Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux
Beyond the surface meanings of language we may become aware of a world where the play of decomposition, association and juxtaposition produce an unlimited number of sounds and sonorities. A kind of verbal delirium, or vertigo. Arksalalartôq, based on texts by Québec poets Noël Audet and Gilles Marsolais, expresses the vertigo of words and sounds, by analogy with the Inuit game (most often played by women) in which participants test their creative and inventive powers as well as their stamina by emitting sounds most of which are meaningless.

During the creation of this work, Coulombe Saint-Marcoux recognized the resistance of some sonic materials and the importance of openness for the composer. In an interview with Lyse Richer, she said that she worked for two days on a ten-second montage that refused to do what she wished. Suddenly, she decided to play it backwards, and found the result to be marvellous: “one must not be too stubborn. The material at hand has its potential at the start, and its exigencies and its limits” (Richer 1984: 22). [English translation: Andra McCartney.]

Arksalalartôq was realized in 1970-71 in the GRM studios (Paris, France) and premiered on February 26, 1971 during the “Journées-rencontres du GRM” in Les Halles (Paris, France). Arksalalartôq was commissioned by the Ina-GRM. A mixed version—for voice, electronics and tape—was realized in 1976 at the request of actress-singer Meg Sheppard and composer-pianist alcides lanza and recorded on the disc Transmutations: voice, piano & electronics, New Music from the Americas vol. 3 (Shelan, ESP 9601). Notes and work published by empreintes DIGITALes on electrocd.com.
IV. Étude aux objets: Objets étendus (1959, 71), 2:58 by Pierre Schaeffer
V. Quatuor (1979), 18:43 by Yves Daoust
Here the approach is more ‘classical’: the sound sources, although instrumental, are used as objects reshaped with the traditional transformation techniques of the analog studio. The reference to the instrumental nature of the sounds and to the string quartet remains very strong: it is at the source of the process.
During the composition of this piece I was thinking of Beethoven’s Große Fuge, Opus 133, especially of its unbelievable — almost inhuman — tension, as if Beethoven had wanted to make the instrument explode, wanted to reach the limit beyond which reside zones of expression inaccessible to acoustic instruments — other than in dreams — but that the magic and artifices of electroacoustic means now allow us to explore.

Searching for the inflections and articulations characteristic of string quartet writing throughout time, pushing them a little to enter into an imaginary space, transcending the physical limits of the musicians tied to their acoustic instruments remain the objectives of Quatuor (Quartet), intended as an hommage to those performers for whom the formation of a quartet is a little like entering into a religion… - Yves Daoust [ix-91]

Since its premiere, Quatuor has known many different versions and forms of presentation. First, it was composed as the soundtrack for the animation film L’âge de chaise (The Age of the Chair), directed by Jean-Thomas Bédard at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). It was then reworked at the Atelier sonore de l’ONF (‘NFB Sound Shop’) as an autonomous electroacoustic piece. In its concert format, the work was premiered in April, 1979, at the Conventum in Montréal in a concert produced by ACREQ. It was then presented along with a multi-image projection realized by photographer Jean-Guy Thibodeau. Quatuor was awarded the 1st Prize in the Electroacoustic Category of the 8th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1980) and the 1980 CIME Grand Prize, and was first released on the Cultures électroniques 1 compact disc produced by the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB) on the Le chant du monde label (LDC 278043). Notes and work published by empreintes DIGITALes on electrocd.com.
VI. Étude aux objets: Objets multipliés (1959, 71), 3:05 by Pierre Schaeffer
VII. Étude aux objets: Objets exposés (1959, 71), 3:37 by Pierre Schaeffer
VIII. Novars (1989), 19:07 by Francis Dhomont
To musique concrète and Pierre Schaeffer, its ‘ill-fated inventor’
“… one moment transported in beautified memories of the first ‘concrète’ illuminations of my childhood […]. Perhaps I was the only one to be so moved by the sound of these last ‘measures’…” — Marie-Claire Schaeffer-Patris, personal letter to the composer.

Novars salutes the birth of musique concrète, the Ars Nova of our century, by calling upon the resources of the computer. The intention is not to create a pastiche but, on the contrary, to testify that by the most advanced means a language has been passed on. It may also be possible to suggest, without establishing a simplistic symmetry, that there exists a link between these two theorists of a new art: Vitry and Schaeffer.

The ‘classical’ ear will perhaps recognize fragments from Schaeffer’s Étude aux objets (1959) and Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame (1364). These quotations, along with a third sound element — a sort of homage to Pierre Henry and his infamous door — are the sole materials giving birth to multiple variations.
A sign of change: ‘spectromorphologic’ (Denis Smalley) mutations give to sonorities of the Ars Nova and to ‘new music’ (as Schaeffer named it in 1950) the sound of our time. A sign of continuity: something from the original works (their color, their structure…) remains present, indestructible. - Francis Dhomont [ix-91]

Novars — 3rd of the 4 works in the Cycle du son — was realized at Studio 123 of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France) and at the composer’s studio and premiered on May 29, 1989, as part of the 11th GRM Acousmatic Concert Series at the Grand Auditorium of the Maison Radio France (Paris). This piece was selected by the 1990 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’90) in Glasgow (Scotland), and by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) for the 1991 World Music Days in Zürich (Switzerland). The jury of the 1991 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award also selected it for performance at its award concert in Stockholm (Sweden). Special thanks to Pierre Schaeffer who has kindly allowed the quotation of a few sound propositions, now historic; and to Bénédict Mailliard, Yann Geslin and Daniel Teruggi without whose patience it would have been impossible to domesticate Studio 123 and the Syter real-time sound synthesis system of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France). Novars was commissioned by the Ina-GRM. Notes and work by empreintes DIGITALes on electrocd.com.
IX. Étude aux objets: Objets liés (1959, 71), 3:09 by Pierre Schaeffer
X. InsideOut (1999), 14:23 by Randall Smith
InsideOut explores a new direction in my tape works. It is a piece where all the sounds were derived from four instruments of the orchestra: alto flute (C4), violin (pizz G-sharp4), E-flat clarinet (D-sharp4), and double bass (pizz B-flat2; bowed A2). The objective in this piece with the five sounds was to explore the many avenues of sonic manipulation that the technology at my disposal would permit but at the same time a trace of the sounds original signature would still be perceptible. The processing was a way of reinventing the original sounds instead of deconstructing them. What I was able to refine from the laborious task of processing from so few sounds was textured sustaining material to contrapuntal percussive types sounds. A large variety of material was produced. The next stage was to develop musical ideas from traditional forms of composition like counterpoint, rhythm and harmony into a piece that was intended purely for tape. InsideOut is the combination of the highly abstract process of the creation of sound objects and their metamorphosis into dispersed fields of polyphonic tonal languages. - Randall Smith [xii-99]. Notes and work published by empreintes DIGITALes on electrocd.com.