CEC 25th Anniversary Tour Project Launch in Montréal
Concordia University Music Department
Friday, 11 November 2011
The launch of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community’s 25th Anniversary Tour was hosted by Concordia University’s Music Department, with the participation of the Concordia Electroacoustic Studies Student Association (CESSA).
Opening up the afternoon were an Open House in Concordia University Music Department’s and Kevin Austin’s seminar “Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25,” which was prepared especially for the Anniversary Tour. In the second part of the seminar, invited guests Eldad Tsabary, Mark Corwin and Ricardo Dal Farra gave talks on their own creative work and research.
Starting a little later in the afternoon, four concerts were held, stretching from the afternoon late into the night: a live, 4-city telematic concert was hosted by CLOrk (member of the Canadian Distributed Laptop Ensemble, or CanDLE), winning works from JTTP 2011 were featured in a multi-speaker concert, the 60x60 Canadian edition concert played 60 works — each having a duration of 60 seconds — back to back, and a laid-back, late-night “lounge” concert up on the plateau capped off the day’s activities.
The official launch of the project also included an informal Meet & Greet, which gave members of the CEC Board and Administration as well as JTTP 2011 guests the opportunity to hang out and chat with the community. Thanks to the many members of the local community who came out to celebrate with us on this very full day of activities!
All events for the launch of the CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour took place in Concordia University’s Music Department (Molson Bldg., 1455 Guy, 8th floor) except for the final concert, which was held at La Plante in the Mile-End district.
12:00–17:30 Open House: Concordia Music Department
12:30–13:45 Seminar: Kevin Austin — Recent Practices in EA: The CEC@25
14:00–15:00 Seminar guests: Eldad Tsabary, Mark Corwin, Ricardo Dal Farra
16:00–17:00 Concert 1: CanDLE with 4-city Telematic link
17:30–19:00 Official Project Launch + CEC Meet & Greet
19:00–20:00 Concert 2: 60x60 Canadian Edition 2011
20:30–21:30 Concert 3: JTTP 2011 — Prize-Winning Works
22:00–00:00 Concert 4: Live EA and DJ sets @ La Plante
Biographies for individual participants, guests, associations and institutions can be found below.
The Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC) was founded 25 years ago in response to the needs and concerns of the growing community of electroacoustic composers and artists across Canada. Concordia University’s Music Department provided foundational support for several years of diligent work and coordination by Kevin Austin and Jean-François Denis leading up to the CEC’s founding in 1986, as well as infrastructural support for many years thereafter. Now 25 years on, the CEC is respected across the country and internationally for the openness and inclusive nature of its many projects and for its support and promotion of the whole gamut of electroacoustic and related practices.
Returning to its roots to launch this cross-country tour to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the CEC invited the public to an open house in the new home and facilities of Concordia’s Music Department: multi-channel classrooms and studios, video tie-ins and much more make this a state-of-the-art department with broad support for electroacoustic creation.
Kevin Austin — Some Recent Trends and Practices in Electroacoustic Studies across Canada: The CEC at 25
Everything old is new again. Kevin Austin’s presentation (at ten venues in nine cities) considered historical precedents and provided a useable map of the background and context of recent trends within the larger discipline of electroacoustics. The trending topics in EA these days are “live EA” and “visual music”; as discussed in the first part of the seminar, current and exploding technologies have allowed these areas of EA to develop very rapidly and proliferate widely.
With more than 40 years of history in EA, Austin looked back at the historical path and presented detailed views of some of the newer manifestations of EA. Some of the historical perspective was provided by his own experiences with live EA, which started in 1971 (MetaMusic, later CECG/GEC), and his use of visual elements as of about 1975.
In the second part of the seminar, invited local artists — active in the 1970s through today — contributed their own perspectives on regional activities to help articulate the unique flavour of EA practice in the various distinct areas that together form the diverse electroacoustic community in Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s.
At Concordia University in Montréal, Eldad Tsabary spoke about Concordia’s comprehensive programme of aural training for EA, Mark Corwin talked highlighted the integrated approach to recording arts at Concordia and Ricardo Dal Farra gave an overview of his work using the voice and instruments in EA.
Eldad Tsabary — Aural Training in EA
The approach to “ear training” in the Electroacoustic Studies courses at Concordia University is informed by a century and a half of knowledge and research of various listening and perception models. Theoretical studies in acoustics and physics through psychoacoustics and Gestalt theories and onwards to auditory scene analysis are complemented with experiential listening and perception modes, such as reduced listening, ear cleaning, deep listening and spectromorphology. A comprehensive approach to ear training is the key to developing improved listening skills and a greater capacity of perception in the students of electroacoustic and related studies.
Mark Corwin — Recording Arts and Electroacoustic Studies
Mark Corwin’s presentation highlights the traditional hierarchical structures — particularly in Europe — of the training and professional work in the field of recording arts. In the programme and courses in Concordia University’s Music Department, he supports a more integrated approach to the education of future producers and engineers that allows for heightened artistic capacity to complement technical prowess. Using the example of surround sound, he also compares the divergence between changing needs in the industry and actual state of technologies available to the average user.
Ricardo Dal Farra — Electroacoustic Composition using Acoustic Musical Instruments and Voice
Live performance was an essential part of the creative process for several of Ricardo Dal Farra’s comprovised works. With the collaboration of guitarist Arturo Gervasoni, Dal Farra created several fixed media works around 25 years ago, using extended guitar techniques that were processed live in the studio. This approach, combined with an interest in emerging technologies, would also provide the creative impetus for many subsequent compositions, as would unique textures and timbres that could only be generated through the recording and processing of complex sounds such as acoustic instruments and the human voice.
Two telematically linked concerts featuring CanDLE (Canada Distributed Laptop Ensemble) were held during the CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour, at the project launch in Montréal (11 November) and at the Calgary stop on the tour (22 November). This collaborative project first took place in January 2010, coordinated by Ken Fields in Calgary, with links to Montréal and Edmonton.
For the Montréal concert, and the first concert of the CEC’s 25th Anniversary project, CanDLE members in four cities performed together via telematic (audio-visual) links: CLOrk (Montréal’s Concordia Laptop Orchestra, directed by Eldad Tsabary), Scott Smallwood (Edmonton), Ken Fields (University of Calgary’s Syneme Lab) and the Cybernetic Orchestra (Hamilton’s McMaster University, directed by David Ogborn).
Each of the groups had a pre-determined role in the performance — sound materials, gestural character, etc. — and the overall performance was a structured improvisation, led by Eldad Tsabary for the Montréal performance and coordinated by Ken Fields for the Calgary performance.
The CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour also provided members of the CEC Board, CEC administrators and JTTP 2011 guests with some time to meet and chat with the local communities of composers, performers and friends of electroacoustic practices across the country. It was a great opportunity to not only reconnect with old acquaintances, but also to meet and hang out with new friends! CEC Admin and Board members and JTTP guests had the chance to experience first hand the incredible diversity of electroacoustic practice all the way from Victoria to St. John’s.
At the launch of the tour at Concordia University, Eldad Tsabary (CEC Board), jef chippewa and Yves Gigon (CEC Admin) were present, as were JTTP guests David Arango-Valencia, Guillaume Barrette, Jullian Hoff and Marc-André Perron. Light snacks and beverages were served.
The second concert of the launch events for the CEC’s 25th Anniversary project presented the works selected for the 2011 Canadian edition of 60x60, coordinated by Eldad Tsabary. The programme featured a range of work by composers living and working right across the broad and diverse country this tour visited in Fall 2011.
The 60x60 project was founded by New York’s Robert Voisey in 2003, with each edition featuring 60 works by 60 composers, each work having a maximum duration of 60 seconds and performed one after the other with no pause or intermission, in “clock time”. Tsabary has coordinated the “Canadian Mix” since 2008.
In memory of Gustav Ciamaga (1930–2011), the 2011 edition of the 60x60 Canadian Mix opened with a piece by him.
The full list of works presented on this programme can be consutled on the 60x60 2011 Canada Mix page.
The CEC’s annual Jeu de temps / Times Play (JTTP) project is comprised of: a competition for young and emerging sound artists from (or living in) Canada, with cash and prizes awarded to the top five placing composers, as selected by an international jury; a focus issue of eContact! featuring all submissions to the project; a CD compilation (Cache) of the top works; and international radio and concert play of the top works.
Each stop on the tour featured a concert of the winning works from the 12th edition of Jeu de temps / Times Play. Those curious to know what the next generation of electroacoustic composers in Canada “sounds like” came out and joined us for performances of works by David Arango-Valencia, Guillaume Barrette, Guillaume Campion, Maxime Corbeil-Perron, Jullian Hoff and Marc-André Perron.
For each of the JTTP concerts at least one JTTP 2011 winning composer was present as an invited guest, and these guests diffused their own works as well as the works of their colleagues. David Arango-Valencia, Maxime Corbeil-Perron and Marc-André Perron were able to join us for the launch of the tour at Concordia University.
Programme (in alphabetical order):
- David Arango-Valencia — Canción de Otraparte / « Chanson d’ailleurs » (2011 / 12:04)
- Guillaume Barrette — Parasite (2011 / 10:00)
- Guillaume Campion — Neige cendre (2011 / 11:22)
- Maxime Corbeil-Perron — Fragments (2011 / 10:00)
- Jullian Hoff — Scratch (2011 / 12:06)
- Marc-André Perron — Effervescence / Somnolence (2010 / 10:24)
Visit the JTTP 2011 page in this issue of eContact! for video montages of performances of each of the works, as well as biographies of the composers.
For the final concert of the launch, things moved to Montréal’s hip Mile-End venue La Plante, where CESSA (Concordia Electroacoustic Studies Student Association) had organised a laid-back evening featuring some of Montréal’s young up-and-comers as well as a sundry mix of tunes provided by Concordia student Kevin Jamey. There were live performances by Meat Parade, Michaël Plante, You are Only Alive For 120 Seconds and Markus Floats, and the evening finished up with DJ sets. A crowd of 75 or so joined us to sit, chat, have a few drinks and generally take it easy after a long day of events.