Open Waters Festival 2020

NEW MUSIC FOR THE NEW YEAR / MUSIQUE NOUVELLE POUR LE NOUVEL AN
NEVER THE SAME RIVER TWICE...
UPSTREAM MUSIC ASSOCIATION WELCOMES YOU TO THE OPEN WATERS FESTIVAL 2020

With the confluence of parallel traditions, new musical combinations converge bristling with new possibilities, and where the splash of improvisation brings the unknown into being right before our ears!

Hosting varied streams of contemporary music, from our community and beyond, we are united by being up-stream from the main stream, sharing a common spirit of exploration,and celebrating the many ways we can dive into the unknown.

With open hearts we are honoured to present these artists, each different from one another, yet all sharing this path of searching.

Nous sommes ravis d’accueillir des amis du nouveau réseau Excentrés. La présence des artistes francophones dans notre festival est bien ancrée dans notre histoire et ce nouveau partenariat s’inscrit dans cette tradition et cette ouverture.

Upstream Music Association gratefully acknowledges our festival’s presence in K’jipuktuk, (Halifax) on unceded Mi’kmaw territory, where we have supported new and improvised music for the past 30 years

—Lukas Pearse
Artistic Director, Upstream Music Association

JANUARY 3-9, 2020
SIX HALIFAX LOCATIONS
25 EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS

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ALTERNATING CURRENTS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 3RD 

7:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

chik white & Xuan Ye

Xuan Ye, also known as APA (A Pure Apparatus), is a prolific artist and multi-instrumentalist. chik white is an experimental jaw harpist and sound singer. Both are visceral performers and improvisers. As a duo, they push each other towards the sonic fringes of voice and breath.

8:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

Frédéric Alarie and the CEM

Magnitude des échanges synaptiques interdits (The Magnitude of Forbidden Synaptic Exchanges) is double bass player extraordinaire Frederic Alarie’s all-new result of a creative music residency project that took place at the Centre d’Expérimentation Musicale in Saguenay, Quebec, in which he broadens his playing palette on the double bass with modular synthesizers.

9:30 PM AT THE COBURG SOCIAL BAR & CAFÉ

Reception for all musicians, presenters, and patrons

MIXED CURRENTS

SATURDAY, JANUARY 4TH 

12:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

FESTIVAL EXTRA

Improvisation Talk Back

Dani Oore hosts five improvisors from different genres playing together for the first time, performing a collective improvisation. The audience is invited to question the performers about the music played and the outcome. Thanks to the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) for fostering moments where communities and world harmony intersect. Featuring Karen Ng, Robin Servant, Xuan Ye, Shauna DeGruchy and Lukas Pearse.

2:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

Barb Pritchard

Barbara Pritchard shares more than thirty piano miniatures from her Variations project. This intriguing selection, spanning twenty-eight years, is all Canadian and will include some brand new works hot off the press.

Illustration: Susan MacLeod

3:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

VOICE DANCE - with Janice Isabel Jackson, soprano

Voice Dance is a program of solo vocal compositions (many written for Jackson) which highlight the range, strength, flexibility, passion, and mystery of the human voice. Over the past 30 years Jackson has performed and perfected a large body of solo voice pieces from composers around the world.

From pure extended vocal techniques (Marie Pelletier) to theatre without words (Alice Ping Yee Ho) to solo mini opera (James Rolfe) these pieces are guaranteed to excite, stimulate, and amuse.

3:30 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

Norman Adams

Cellist Norman Adams continues his explorations in interactivity and deconstruction, pairing his cello with live processing to create sonic landscapes and musical structures.

7:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

Kind Mind

Kind Mind is a Toronto based improvised chamber ensemble lead by bassist Josh Cole with Karen Ng on reeds, and Michael Davidson on vibraphone. Rooted in in an approach to improvisation that has been brewing in the Toronto creative music hub The Tranzac for decades, the trio explores a fractured, sparse, and timbral approach to improvisation reinforced by brief compositions and a long history of collective music making.

8:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

Excentrés: co-creation

Excentrés is the new network formed by creative music organisations working in areas outside of major Canadian centres. 8 composers/ improvisors from Saguenay, Rimouski, Québec and Halifax assembled at the Centre d’Expérimentation Musicale in November 2019, as a powerful sound hydra, unleashing tremendous grooves and non- grooves through uncanny musical structures.

10:00 PM AT THE MARQUEE CLUB

Andrew Miller Quartet

Halifax drummer and composer Andrew Miller brings his new quartet to the Open Waters Festival for the first time where he will be debuting a new set of original music. This music for this chord-less quartet is inspired by captivating melodies, metric complexity, and group improvisation.

11:15 PM AT THE MARQUEE CLUB

Electro Jacques Therapy

Jacques Mindreau makes music for the soul and the human spirit. His new solo project, Electro Jacques Therapy, uses violin and lyrical voice to combine new sounds that seem otherworldly into vocal and string orchestrations. Jacques has performed and toured with countless musicians all over Canada and the world.

MOVING CURRENTS

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5TH 

1:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

Megan Thibeault: Electroacoustic Piano Therapy

Explore the electroacoustic piano medium with Megan Thibeault as she performs two pivotal 21st century composers’ works. Immerse yourself in the piano’s overtones with Donnacha Dennehy’s ‘Stainless Staining’ and glitch and groove along with Nicole Lizée’s ‘Kubrick Études’. This modern piano recital is truly one to experience.

2:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

Taral Naik and Andrew Miller

Taral Naik and Andrew Miller are two competent musicians of rhythm in their own right. For their performance at the Open Waters Festival, they will be playing a series of North Indian classical compositions, along with several contemporary compositions they have composed for this performance.

3:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

Jennifer King

Jennifer King, piano, with O Mistress Moon — the Canadian Edition, explores the darker side of human nature with recent solo piano music by Canadian composers, emerging and established.

7:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

Upstream in association with Vocalypse Productions presents Teleet+ Ensemble

The Teleet Ensemble with Janice Isabel Jackson (voice), Arash Delavar (guitar), Mohammad Sahraei (tar, setar, beghlama, and hand drum) are joined by Jacques Mindreau (violin), Matt Gallant (percussion), and Lukas Pearse (double bass) for surprisingly refreshing arrangements of international folk music. In vernacular Farsi the word Teleet, borrowed from Persian cuisine, is used to imply a blend, mix, jumble or a collage of different, even unlikely, ingredients. The Teleet Ensemble is the embodiment of programming music which is a collage of styles and innovative approaches to traditional music from diverse regions of the world. Teleet+ is an extension of our quest to explore and expand upon songs ranging from the Appalacian Mountains to the farmlands of Iran.

8:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

subSet: 2+2

subSet: 2+2 brings together four accomplished improvising musicians, collectively exploring exciting new creative music territory.

Ida Toninato (baritone sax) and Jennifer Thiessen (viola d’amore) are Toninato / Thiessen — a Montréal- based duo and 2019 Juno Award nominee for Instrumental Album of the Year.

Upstream co-founders Steven Naylor (electronics and piano) and Jeff Reilly (bass clarinet) are subSet— a duo with a 30-year history of exploratory collaboration.

10:00 PM AT THE MARQUEE CLUB

Upstream Quartet + Visitors

The Upstream Quartet navigates new scores and new sounds, holding the course charted for nearly 30 years by various iterations of Upstream, between the unknown and the newly-known. Each member contributes as a composer, and collectively they improvise within and between the pieces.

MONDAY, JANUARY 6TH 

11:30 AM AT THE DAL ARTS CENTRE, ROOM 409

Artist Talk with Ida Toninato and Jennifer Thiessen

Artist talk with Ida Toninato (baritone saxophone) and Jennifer Thiessen (viola d’amore), who are in Halifax for the festival. They'll be talking about their work together, show their instruments, demonstrate techniques, etc.

7:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dalhousie Ensemble Composers

The work of bold and innovative young composers, performers and improvisors studying at the Fountain School of Performing Arts will come to life in this exciting and not to be missed set.

8:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

Vesuvius Big Band

The Vesuvius Big Band (VBB) is a new music ensemble made up of Nova Scotian musicians that strive to push the boundaries of modern big band. All charts are written and/or arranged by band leader and saxophonist, James Shaw. The VBB will be recording their first full length album live at the Open Waters Festival.

10:00 PM AT ART BAR +PROJECTS

Open Company

Improvisor, composer, educator and guitarist Geordie Haley will be hosting and curating an open invite improvisation session at the Art Bar +Projects.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 7TH 

FESTIVAL EXTRA

6:30 PM AT THE DAL ARTS CENTRE, ROOM 409

Canadian New Music Network: Open Meeting

The Canadian New Music Network (CNMN) / Réseau canadien pour les musiques nouvelles (RCMN) is a network of artists, ensembles, orchestras, production companies, presenters, record labels, music educators, music media, musicologists, music lovers and audience members who believe in the importance of creative music making and its value to Canadian society.

CNMN’s mission is to bring people together to improve communication, understanding and knowledge within the new music community; and to represent this community and its art to wider society. Its activities include a major biennial forum, day-long symposia and workshops crystalizing issues of the day, research, high-level advocacy, and maintenance of a website that serves as a hub for the community.

It is a dynamic and resourceful community. Become connected / become a CNMN member. Visit www.newmusicnetwork.ca.

7:30 PM AT THE DUNN THEATRE

2020 Visions: Upstream Ensemble / Symphony NS

This visionary path of collaboration continues in 2020 as the Upstream Music Association once again joins forces with SNS under the baton of esteemed conductor Dinuk Wijeratne to explore the creative energy that is released when contrasting attitudes and approaches come together.

Featuring 4 premiere performances of short pieces exploring the intersection of notation and improvisation by NS composers including Amy Brandon, Fiona Ryan, Dawn Hatfield, and Christopher Palmer. 

Featuring a premier by esteemed Montreal composer Tim Brady, a concerto for prepared piano, written for Halifax’s piano explorer Tim Crofts. 

Featuring a premiere performance of IHI by renowned UK/Swiss composer/ improviser Barry Guy written 
for Upstream’s bass clarinet virtuoso, Jeff Reilly 

Context provided by historic compositions exploring improvised orchestral colours by “Third Stream” founder Gunther Schuller, featuring Kenji Omar, saxophone, and minimalist forerunner Terry Reilly’s beloved “In C”. 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8TH

7:30 PM AT THE MUSIC ROOM

Thus It Happened

Barry Guy, Double Bass; Maya Homburger, Baroque Violin Composer Barry Guy and his wife make music that defies categorisation. A night of exploration. English bassist Barry Guy is a phenomenal multi-talented musician—improviser, composer, jazz player, teacher, and more. His wife, Maya Homburger, is a visionary baroque violinist who has performed with musicians such as Trevor Pinnock and Christopher Hogwood. We’ll discover a mix of all of the above in this special presentation, from Bach and Biber to free-improv freak-outs.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 9TH

7:00 PM AT THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

MAGICAL MOBILES

The Sanctuary Trio in concert with Barry Guy and Maya Homburger. The Sanctuary Trio have had international success over the past 20 years using liturgical chant as a point of departure to explore the intense colours of contemporary classical music and the energy of free jazz improvisation. Join this trio as they work together with the British bassist Barry Guy and the Swiss violinist Maya Homburger to present an evening of new works for this extraordinary quintet, including a rare performance of Barry Guy’s Recercadas (based on Diego Ortiz’s Recercada Primera of 1553) and his duo for bass clarinet and violin Magical Mobiles and a Meditation written for Jeff Reilly and Maya Homburger in 2006.

9:00 PM AT THE MACALONEY ROOM, DAL ARTS CENTRE

Gordon Grdina's Nomad Trio

Complex, intricate, idiosyncratic, and rockin’—those are the adjectives that best describe this cross-border collaboration between Vancouver guitarist Gordon Grdina, and New York’s Matt Mitchell piano, and Jim Black drums. Juno Award winner Grdina’s compositions give the nod to 20th century classical composition, rock, free jazz, and third stream, and this trio promises to explore those ideas at their highest levels.

Upstream will be presenting the first Paul Cram Creation Award during the Open Waters Festival. This award honours one of Upstream's founding members and a longtime Artistic Director of the association. It is impossible to overstate Paul Cram's impact on new and improvised music in Halifax. He was and continues to be a great inspiration to many. This will be an annual award and we ask you to please consider making a donation at our website to sustain this wonderful legacy.

CLICK HERE FOR FESTIVAL PASSES AND TICKETS