Vic­to­ria fes­ti­val takes sym­phony to the peo­ple

Times Colonist - - Go - SARAH PE­TRESCU

What: Vic­to­ria Sym­phony New Cur­rents Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic When: To­mor­row through Feb. 5 Where: Var­i­ous lo­ca­tions down­town Tick­ets: $7 - $19: Tel. 386-6515 or visit www.vic­to­ri­asym­phony.ca

When Ta­nia Miller first came to di­rect the Vic­to­ria Sym­phony, her vi­sion was to one day host a fes­ti­val of con­tem­po­rary mu­sic that in­cluded all the ma­jor or­ga­ni­za­tions in town.

“I wanted a real com­mu­nity feel,” Miller says. “Some­thing hip.”

Miller will see her dream come to fruition this week, as the Sym­phony’s third an­nual New Cur­rents Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic part­ners with the Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria’s Sonic Lab and Open Space at venues around town — even a swim­ming pool and a rock mu­sic bar.

“I’m so thrilled about this,” Miller says. “Pre­sent­ing new mu­sic this way en­com­passes who we are and how the arts work to­gether.”

Miller says the fes­ti­val has been re­ceived well by the sym­phony’s main au­di­ence in pre­vi­ous years, with pop­u­lar per­for­mances by pi­anist Eve Egoyan, Aventa Ensem­ble and the Emily Carr String Quar­tet.

The fes­ti­val gives the orches­tra a chance to try some­thing new, “Like play­ing their in­stru­ments in a way they are not used to,” she says.

It also show­cases the Sym­phony’s com­posers-in-res­i­dence. Last year, Tobin Stokes pre­miered Bits of Beauty. This year, Anna Höst­man pre­mieres Trace the Gold Sun on open­ing night.

This is Höst­man’s fifth orches­tra piece in her three-year res­i­dency, which she says, “has pro­vided me an in­cred­i­ble amount of ‘trial by fire’ growth as a com­poser.”

Writ­ten for flute, alto flute and cham­ber orches­tra, the work fea­tures new-mu­sic flautist ex­traor­di­naire Mark McGre­gor. Höst­man had McGre­gor in mind when com­pos­ing the piece.

“I felt quite com­pelled to work with Mark af­ter hear­ing him per­form on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions,” Höst­man says. “He was also gen­er­ous both with his en­thu­si­asm and time, and as an ar­tic­u­late col­lab­o­ra­tor through­out the cre­ation process.”

Miller says the in­clu­sion of other arts groups and gen­res will open the orches­tra’s au­di­ence to ideas and reach out to new, younger au­di­ences.

The Reel Mu­sic con­cert on Satur­day night part­ners with the Vic­to­ria In­ter­na­tional Film and Video Fes­ti­val. The orches­tra will per­form five pieces of mu­sic by eight dif­fer­ent com­posers ac­com­pa­ny­ing two short in­de­pen­dent films, Lily by Vic­to­ria’s Scott Amos and Run­ning by Ann Marie Flem­ing. Win­ning pieces will be cho­sen at the end of the night as sound­tracks for the films.

Open Space Gallery — an his­tor­i­cal hub of ex­per­i­men­tal mu­sic and arts in Vic­to­ria — has also part­nered with the Sym­phony for New Cur­rents.

Tina Pear­son, mu­sic co-or­di­na­tor at Open Space, says, “Open Space and the Vic­to­ria Sym­phony have not of­ten worked to­gether. The New Cur­rents Fes­ti­val pro­vides a good ground for col­lab­o­ra­tion ... it will be ex­cit­ing to see what de­vel­ops in fu­ture years.”

Pear­son will lead the Quan­tal Strife Sound Event at Open Space on Mon­day night. The event com­bines the vis­ual in­stal­la­tion Quan­tal Strife with mu­sic in­spired by it.

Res­o­nant Cham­bers, at the Metro Theatre on Feb. 1, will also ex­plore the re­la­tion­ship be­tween sound and art — in­spired by Alvin Lucier’s work Cham­bers.

One of the big­gest nights of the fes­ti­val will in­clude 40 mu­si­cians and 53 bits of mu­sic on stage at once in the Alix Goolden Hall, for Terry Ri­ley’s sem­i­nal work In C. UVic’s Sonic Lab and Christo­pher Butterfield per­form the piece in Inside/Out­side, which also in­cludes Gor­don Mumma’s Ex Streams from his Ren­di­tion Se­ries and Butterfield’s Grotto.

Per­for­mances by re­puted en­sem­bles have been the high­light of New Cur­rents in past years and this one looks no dif­fer­ent. Van­cou­ver’s well­known Stand­ing Wave gives a rare Vic­to­ria show this Sun­day, lo­cal vo­cal ensem­ble Hexa­phone per­forms at the Crys­tal Pool Feb. 2 and Vic­to­ria Sym­phony vi­o­list Kenji Fuse ar­ranges songs by indie rock star Dan Boeck­ner (Wolf Pa­rade, Hand­some Furs, At­las Strate­gic) for the metapop orches­tra (a group of VS and non­mu­si­cians) at Logan’s Pub on Feb. 5.

Clock­wise from back left: Ta­nia Miller, Tobin Stokes, Christo­pher Butterfield, Anna Höst­man and Tina Pear­son team up as part of the sym­phony's New Cur­rents Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic.

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