Pro series showcase of Canadian diversity includes music composed by BU grad

January 24, 2019

Three women pose in front of a white wall. The woman on the left is looking at the other two, who are looking at the camera. The women on each end are holding violins.
Ensemble Made In Canada will perform works by composers representing 14 Canadian regions in their upcoming concert at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall. (BoHuang.ca)

The much lauded piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada (EMIC) will perform the next concert in the pro series season at Brandon University (BU).

The pro series concert will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m., at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building.

Trey Lee

Continuing their concert tour across the country, the four award-winning musicians — violinist Elissa Lee, violist Sharon Wei, guest cellist Trey Lee, and pianist Angela Park — stop in Brandon with their formidable project, entitled The Musical Mosaïque. The venture is an hour-long weaving of 14 new piano quartets, each conveying the essence of a particular Canadian province, territory or region.

“We have been thrilled with the reception and feedback that we have gotten for this project!” said Sharon Wei, the group’s spokesperson, adding that the CBC recorded their Toronto performance. “It’s been so interesting to talk to audiences after our concerts, to hear their thoughts and hear to which movements they were drawn.”

The members of EMIC commissioned 14 Canadian composers of varying genres, including classical, jazz, singer-songwriter, electronic and traditional First Nations music, to contribute piano quartets to the project. The concept underlines the diversity and multitude of cultures, styles and sounds fact represented in Canadian music.

Nicole Lizée, an alumna of the BU School of Music, represents Saskatchewan with her piano quartet Bessborough Hotel. The other composers and their works are:

  • Andrew Downing, Red River Fantasy (Manitoba)
  • David Braid, Great Bear River Blues (Northwest Territories)
  • Samy Moussa, Orpheus in Nunavut (Nunavut)
  • Barbara Croall, Nbiidaasamishkaamin/We Come Paddling Here (Gichigami-ziibi miinawaa Nayanno-nibiimaang Gichigamiin/St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes)
  • Julie Doiron, Blessed (New Brunswick)
  • Vivian Fung, Shifting Landscapes(Alberta)
  • Nicolas Gilbert, Ilôts (Quebec)
  • Kevin Lau, Race to the Midnight Sun (Yukon)
  • Richard Mascall, Petroglyphs (Ontario)
  • William Rowson, Short Variations on Waves (Nova Scotia)
  • Darren Sigesmund, Kensington Ceilidh (Prince Edward Island)
  • Sarah Slean, Johnny Pippy of Pouch Cove, on a Bicycle at Dawn (Newfoundland)
  • Ana Sokolović, Splendor Sine Occasu(British Columbia)

While the musicians perform an aural mosaic created by the weaving of these singular quartets, audience members are invited to draw their reactions on tiles, adding a visual component to the evening’s mosaic theme. The tiles created so far can be viewed at MosaiqueProject.com.

“It’s been thrilling for us to have a chance to see into the minds of our audiences after every concert as we go through all the tiles!” said Wei. “We love bringing this project to universities especially as we find that these audiences are the least inhibited to participate in the drawing aspect. We also love how diverse the music that we have received from the composers has been.”

Tickets for Tuesday’s concert are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors and alumni. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at the Main Office of the School of Music. So that this event may be enjoyed by all, please contact Joyce Burba in the School of Music Main Office in advance by calling 204-727-9631 or emailing Burba@BrandonU.ca with any accessibility considerations.

The pro series continues on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m., with an annual highlight, the Faculty Concert, which will also be held in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit Events.BrandonU.ca/Events/Category/Music.