I hope that you all have enjoyed your summer as much as I have! I’ll be posting several updates as to what I’ve been up to, starting with my experience at Labo this June in Montréal.
A bit about Labo from their Facebook page
“The Montréal Contemporary Music Lab (MCML) was formed in 2011 by seven emerging musicians in Montréal. Its aims are to foster relationships between young and emerging composers and performers of new music, and create new connections and opportunities within the Montréal artistic community.
Our central activity is an annual 10-day performance and composition workshop in the city of Montréal, open to emerging performers and composers internationally.
Now in its eighth year, MCML continues to be a tremendous success. This year, we hope to create another excellent experience and build on our accomplishments to create even more opportunities for collaboration, learning, community-building, and outreach.”
I was very fortunate to be able to participate in this years iteration of Labo along with about three dozen other musicians, composers and artists from around the world.
I was put into two ensembles – a string trio and a mixed ensemble of cello, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano and singer.
The string trio featured Natalie Dzbik on violin, Arie Verheul-van de Ven on viola and myself on cello – each of us composers in our own right, and with Isaac Zee, a violinist as our composer. The four of us immediately had excellent chemistry which made the entire process so much fun and intensely collaborative.
Our piece ‘Storm of Sands’ is informed by Isaac’s interest in spectralism and microtonal music but also the improvisational aspects of notated music as well. You can here our performance of it here!
My second ensemble was another excellent and memorable experience in another way – we were premiering a short opera!
The ensemble was made up of Emilia Segura on clarinet, Julia Lougheed on bass clarinet, myself on cello, and Kristin Sofroniou on piano and our composer / lyricist pairing was the sister duo of Rachel and Rebecca Gray.
This project was based around the idea of a morning newscaster named Brenda struggling to maintain composure and a sense of order after an apocalyptic event the nature and cause of which is left unclear to the observer. As the piece develops, we see Brenda become progressively more and more unable to hold herself together and soon she becomes haunted by the specter of phantom news stories and the spirit of her former co-host, George. These spirits appear to the audience as a cadre of macabre papier-mâché puppets.
Needless to say, we had loads of fun with this piece!
See for yourself! Watch our performance of ‘Today!’ here!