KEYED UP!: the final concert features three works for six grand pianos. Photo courtesy of Facebook page.Women from Space: In last month’s issue, I wrote about the Women from Space festival, which happened from March 8-10. I was delighted to attend some of the events, and came away feeling inspired and energized by what I heard. The festival opener was a spectacular improvisation by Bloop, the duo made up of trumpeter Lina Allemano and her performance partner Mike Smith, whose electronics wizardry was fully on display in the effects processing he conjured from the equipment at hand. At times Allemano also played various gong instruments, such as a large cow-bell with one of her hands, adding different sonorities to the mix.

Read more: Keying Up for an Inventive Spring

Freesound collective. L-R: Wesley Shen, piano; Aysel Taghi-Zada, violin; Matthew Antal, viola; Amahl Arulanandam, cello. Photo by Shawn Erker.As we endure the coldest stretch of the year, anticipating the first signs of thaw around six weeks from the release of this issue, it seems that new music activity in the city is also undergoing a bit of a hibernation, with many of the typical presenters holding off until April to resurge into action. However, as I discovered while perusing the listings, there are some signs of vibrant and percolating life out there. One concert in particular caught my eye – a performance of Morton Feldman’s 80-minute work for piano and cello entitled Patterns in a Chromatic Field, performed and produced by members of Freesound on February 29 and March 1.

Read more: Freesound Collective tackles Feldman

TaPIR director Aiyun Huang. Photo by Bo Huang.Weaving disparate threads together to create something new is a fundamental approach for any creative artist, and in the world of contemporary music, the spectrum of elements interwoven into new works continues to progressively expand. Numerous concerts scheduled for October and November exemplify this trend, with some of these concerts drawing inspiration from the past to achieve this evolution.

Read more: Musical Weavings

“Switchemups”, in Exit Points #36 (March 31, 2023) L-R: Adrian Russouw, Rudy Ray, Owen Kurtz, Nilan Perera, %%30%30, Xina Gilani, Victor O, Michael Palumbo. Photo by Own Kurrtz.It was participating in the Toronto Improvisor’s Orchestra that offered a lifeline for electroacoustic music improviser, teacher, researcher and producer Michael Palumbo. During 2019, Palumbo was experiencing multiple crises in his life which eventually led him into performing improvised music on his modular synthesizer. “It was a form of music making where empathy is very important,” he told me during our phone interview. “I could go and play my heart out. It saved my life that year.”

Read more: Michael Palumbo’s Exit Points Makes Its Mark

Carmen Braden. Photo courtesy of Carmen.Summer and Music Festivals make great partners. Now that concert life appears to be fully alive after the past few years of the enforced doldrums, the summer festivals are alive with several offerings of new music and Canadian compositions. I’ve picked out some of the upcoming highlights, both local and further afield.

Read more: A Summer Musical Mix
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