It's been a great season for suddenlyLISTEN travels, and with this exciting announcement, we can tell you about more to come!
2017/18 saw Collateral, travelling across Canada with 12 concerts from St. John's to Victoria. Along the way we met all kinds of people, and revisited old friends. These personal connections are vital to keeping this exploratory music alive: Connections with the musicians that dedicate themselves to developing their craft, and broadening their possibilities; and relationships with the organizers that work behind the scenes to give the performers chances to show people their work! Often performers and organizers are the same people (guilty as charged). Either way, these are hard working, passionate people who, often with very little reward or payment (sometimes none at all!) create opportunities for audiences to experience, and artists to present really new, really exceptional art.
We at sL love to travel and play music in new places for new people. With this in mind we have pursued opportunities that allow this. Sometimes it's cold-calling presenters, and sometimes it's just making friends and music with people from other places, that can return the favour. The latter is certainly the most pleasant way, and it has worked out pretty well over the last year or so.
One of those new friends is Nicola Baroni, an Italian cellist, composer and electronic musician, who through a complicated series of events, came to Halifax, where we met, and talked and played. I took him to meet composers like Derek Charke and Jerome Blais; he spoke to students and led a workshop; we ate Pasta Bolognese (or "Pasta" as it's known in Bologna!) and drank wine and coffee together; We played a concert, which went very well and we parted. Then he emailed with news that he was proposing more concerts for us in Europe. We asked Derek and Jerome to create pieces for us and we built a concert program around these pieces, and those by Vancouver's Arne Eigenfeldt, London's Lawrence Casserley, Nicola Baroni, and more.
Then he announced to me that we had gigs at The Colourscape Festival in London and La Biennale di Venezia!
What THE Biennale? One of the most significant arts festivals in the world? Us? Me?
Yup we're playing in Venice on October 4th.
So I, the organizer, went to work.
I imagined that sL could use these two important opportunities to leverage more important concerts in Europe, for us and for other suddenlyLISTEN collaborations. I could use these travels to make new connections and friends to lead to more music! sL approached Nova Scotia Communities Culture and Heritage's Creative Industries Program and they agreed that this was a good idea. So, we are being supported to go to these festivals and along the way, promote and support Nova Scotian composers, promote Nova Scotia and Canadian art making, AND meet the people that will help us do more of both! We can also fly Jerome and Derek to Venice where they've been invited to speak about their work. Nicola and I will speak about our work too. It's super exciting.
Oh, and I was just in Kromeriz in the Czech Republic for 3 days! This was an offshoot project, where Nicola invited me to join him at the Festival Forfest, a 29 year old festival directed by on one of those arts miracle workers Vaslav, who has presented contemporary music since before the fall of the Iron Curtain. In Kromeriz we worked with composers Yati Durant, an American in Scotland, and Massimiliano Messieri, an Italian in San Marino, presenting their works based on spiritual themes. It was an intense and fun 2 days of 12 - 14 hours of rehearsal, trouble shooting and laughing. I'll include some pictures below.
All of this work is very exciting, and I'm very happy and grateful that we could muster support from our Nova Scotian Government cultural bodies. I will be working very hard to promote and create exposure and work for Nova Scotian artists, and making new friends and meeting new collaborators along the way, to create even more exciting art for people to enjoy. Stay tuned for reports and more news as we embark on this exciting journey!