Ontario Concerts

Just a quick heads up about two upcoming events in Ontario featuring Through closed doors performed from its antique wooded door score. The program, performed brilliantly by Thin Edge New Music Collective, will also feature fantastic works by Ana Sokolovic, Anna Hostman and Brian Harman. If you know me and would like to come to the Toronto fundraiser, get in touch with me please.

September 20, 2014, 8:00 pm (Waterloo, ON, Canada)
The Button Factory (Waterloo Community Arts Theatre), 25 Regina St. Tickets available here.

September 21, 2014 (Toronto, ON, Canada)
A private fundraiser in Rosedale. Entrance by invitation.

I will be selling high-quality copies of four of the pages from the paper manuscript of Through closed doors. They are printed on nice 12×15″ watercolour paper and will be available for $40 each (or $140 for the set of four). I also have 5×7″ postcards for $5 each (just the first two pages). Bring cash or cheques!

Through closed doors, page 1Through closed doors, page 2Through closed doors, page 3Through closed doors, page 4


The door’s reincarnation

As soon as the last coat of varnish was dry, the door score was picked up by the shipper this morning. Less than 24 hours ago I was still painting the last letters. Here are some photos of the door’s journey from a bathroom of a very old house in Vancouver to its new incarnation as a musical score. I am very happy to have given this broken piece of history destined for the landfill a new lease on life.

The door in its original condition.

The door in its original condition

The door was stripped of paint using a heat gun and some heavy duty chemicals. 

Stripping the door

When most of the paint and old varnish was scrubbed off, the beautiful old growth wood was sanded to silky smoothness. I then laid out and transferred the bits of manuscript onto the surface using oil-based paint pens.

Transferring the manuscript onto the door

And here’s the door just before shipping.

Through closed doors, the door manuscript

This door manuscript will be premiered by the Thin Edge New Music Collective in Waterloo on Sept. 20. Details to come soon.


Playing with curves

As I finish up the ‘B side’ of the massive door score for Through closed doors, I get to experiment with curving staves. This is something I didn’t get to do on the paper manuscript.

As soon as the paint dries, this score will be shipped off to Ontario for two events. You can see violinists Ilana Waniuk and Suhashini Arulanandam perform the door in Waterloo on September 20th. More info soon.

Door score excerpt

Door score excerpt

The door

As my departure from Vancouver draws nigh, I am feverishly working to complete the final objects involved in the semi-theatrical piece Through closed doors for the Thin Edge New Music Collective. I don’t think I’ve ever had to use so many different skills in any of my creative projects. There has even been carpentry involved (my ‘day’ job coming in handy). The only thing I haven’t done here is fiber arts.

The final ‘score’ for the piece is an antique door, which the violinists will circle in pursuit of each other. The piece was inspired by it and built around it. You can see some pages of the hand-inked manuscript I made first by scrolling down to some earlier posts.

Here’s the door all ready for engraving with the manuscript laid out below it. 

The door ready for engraving
My original plan was to burn the notes into the wood with a wood burning pen. It seemed like a good idea until the metal nibs started bending from the heat of the tool they were made for (talk about quality!). Moreover, the wood the door is made from has widely varying density and is not that suitable for pyrography (things got rather bumpy).

After an episode of some first rate artistic misery, panic and hair-pulling (“Oh my god, this whole project is a disaster!!!! Who the hell did I think I was trying to pull something like this????), I discovered the Sharpie oil-based paint pens. Life is looking up.

Some music on the door

“Ivan Kupalo” wins award

I am ecstatic to announce that my chamber opera On the Eve of Ivan Kupalo has been awarded the BMO Mainstage Award by the Boston Metro Opera Company. I have no information yet beyond what is available on the website above, but it seems that the opera will receive a fully staged performance in Boston! I will post most details as they become available.

Ivan Kupalo shared the first prize in the Godfrey Rideout category of the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers in the summer of 2013.

Violin duo illuminated

Now that the violin duo Through closed doors has been premiered and the music tested for errors, I have started making the final score. Drawing inspiration from medieval illuminated manuscripts, I am creating a two-colour score with large rehearsal letters built right into the wavering staves.

The first page from “Through closed doors”

Violin duo illuminated, first page

I have estimated that the whole score (title page and notes included) will take up about 16 pages, so this should occupy me for the next month or so.

This work was commissioned and premiered by the Thin Edge New Music Collective.


The Child in Uruguay

On Tuesday, March 25, the lovely French violist Claire Poillion will perform the viola version of The Child, Bringer of Light in Montevideo, Uruguay. Claire and I met at the Banff Centre in 2011. She was living in the Netherlands at the time and now she will be giving my music its South American debut. Crazy how life works these days.

The Child in Montevideo