New Music Edmonton and Good Women Dance Collective present Summer Solstice Series – nine nights of new sound and movement works by Edmonton/amiskwaciy artists. Events were streamed live on YouTube at 7 PM each evening, and are now available to watch on Vimeo. Scroll down for the full schedule, or click on each event link for more information. This series is funded in part by a Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund grant.
Sounds phasing in and out of time together, constantly changing and evolving. Choose a sound to follow and let the phases wash over you. Headphones highly recommended. These meditations are made up of asynchronous loops, phasing in and out of time. Focus on how the sounds interact, choose a sound and follow it, listening to how it bounces off and pushes other sounds around. Listen to it evolve. You may find some phases to be more enjoyable than others, this is like life.
About the Artist
Parker Thiessen is a filmmaker, sound artist/musician and designer originally from Northern rural Alberta, now practicing in amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton in Treaty 6, with an interest in collaboration, experimentation and DIY. Through his work, Thiessen has explored and propelled the growth of the experimental music scene in Edmonton, initiating the Ramshackle Day Parade noise collective and label, co-founding Pseudo Laboratories cassette label, and performing in Zebra Pulse, Private Investigators, and solo. His film work includes experimental shorts, live projections, music videos and video glitch experimentation.
Northern Sunrise expresses Mother Nature’s reaction to the welcoming warmth of the spring sun in the northern areas of Alberta, Canada. The sun is a rare commodity in the north, especially during the winter months, and the light of a spring sunrise is a refreshing treasure. There are moments which represent the gentle rose and violet hues of the sunrise slowly cascading above the horizon and birds waking up to sing, insects buzzing, wild animals grazing and the wind gently blowing and whistling through the tall grass. Further on in the composition, there are segments where cold and blustery winds bring in ominous clouds and rain, as they often do in the northern areas of Alberta during the spring season. As the earth wrestles with the changing season, a northern spring sunrise symbolizes hope of the forthcoming renewal of life and the promise of increased warmth and light.
The performance accompanying Northern Sunrise explores images of submission and renewal, focusing on the transitional period between day and night. The composition is juxtaposed by the visual of the sun setting over the horizon, evoking a feeling of simultaneously holding on and letting go.
About the Artists
Alida Kendell is a dance artist and mother to her 3 year old daughter. She works primarily in Treaty 6 territory with the Good Women Dance Collective as a performer, choreographer and teacher. Pandemic restrictions have returned Alida to a solo practice that investigates durational improvisation as an escape from and return to self. Alida’s recent participation in the Hack Lab (Theatre Direct) has inspired her to create work that allows for the experience of motherhood rather than trying to work despite it.
Mari Alice Conrad is an emerging, award-winning composer in Edmonton, Alberta with a Bachelor of Music Degree in composition. She has composed works for Babɛl Choir (Toronto), Standing Wave Chamber Ensemble (Vancouver), Exultate Chamber Singers (Toronto), pianist Allen Stiles (Vancouver), the Allegra Chamber Orchestra (Vancouver), the SHHH!! Ensemble (Ottawa), the East Chamber Music Emerging Composer Festival (Toronto) and has had her music read by members of Pro Coro Canada (Edmonton) and recorded by the Obsessions String Quartet (Edmonton). Her current 2021 summer projects will feature performances of her works at Ottawa Chamberfest, Vancouver’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra FestivELLE, Toronto’s East Chamber Music Emerging Composer Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the New Music Edmonton and Good Women Dance Summer Solstice Festival. With her life perspective, authenticity, open mind, and passion for composing, she brings enthusiasm, variety, and depth to her compositional practice and teaching studio. Mari Alice has studied composition with Emilie LeBel and Kent Sangster and has had mentorships with Canadian composers Jocelyn Morlock, Matthew Emery, Daniel Mehdizadeh, Jennifer Butler, Edward Top, and Vince Ho. She will be attending graduate studies in composition at the University of Alberta in the fall of 2021.
Obsessions String Quartet was founded in 2005 as an extension of a previously formed string trio, named Trio Con Brio. Once the Kent Sangster ’s Obsessions Octet was created, the string group became an integral part of the octet and the ensemble automatically became Obsessions String Quartet.
The String Quartet consists of four respected Edmonton musicians who are members of Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and other chamber groups.
Joanna Ciapka-Sangster – violin
Yue Deng – violin
Leanne Maitland – viola
Ronda Metszies – cello
minim is a work for solo guitar and electronics. It was initially inspired by Bach’s “Crab Canon, a piece that is the same when played forwards or backwards. I was also influenced time-bending works of science fiction, and the alleged satanic messaging found in backwards rock music, these short movements are duets for the past and present. The piece is made up of two layers – an unaltered recording of the piece, and a duplicate of the same recording played in reverse. When the two are overlaid, the harmonies, counterpoint, and syncopation between the parts emerge. In the exact center of each movement, the two layers intersect and become the mirror image of one another. Each movement is built around different mechanics of time manipulation and narrative structures developed by Christopher Nolan in his films.
About the Artist
Shea Iles is a Métis composer from Grande Prairie, Alberta. “I have recently completed the Bachelor of Music program at MacEwan University, where I found my way into contemporary classical music out of a love for rock, pop, and jazz. This presentation will be the first public premiere of my work.”
A collaborative, improvised trio between Ben Whittier, Kate Stashko and an unruly technology
About the Artists
Kate Stashko is a dance artist currently based in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan / Edmonton. She works both independently and with Good Women Dance Collective and has danced with artists including Peggy Baker, Justine A. Chambers, Mélanie Demers, Helen Husak, Mile Zero Dance, Lin Snelling and Heidi Strauss. Kate has performed throughout Canada, including collaborations with musicians, poets and spoken word artists, and (in non-pandemic times), loves travelling to train around the world. She studied at the School of Alberta Ballet before graduating from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Kate teaches dance and Pilates, and is completing a degree in Psychology and Political Science at Athabasca University. She is an avid cyclist, climate activist, gardener and coffee drinker. Right now she is working with KO Dance Projects, collaborating with Heidi Strauss and Krista Lin on a new duet, and making a solo dance for/about her pelvis.
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Ben Whittier has been active in the Edmonton Arts scene since moving to Alberta in 2017 to pursue a Doctorate of Music degree in music performance at the University of Alberta. Highlights from Ben’s performance career include performing Ida Gotkovsky’s Saxophone Concerto with the University of Alberta Wind Ensemble and Michael Colgrass’ Urban Requiem with the University of Northern Colorado Wind Ensemble. In addition to these notable performances, Ben enjoys collaborating with other improvisers, composers, and performers of all backgrounds creating new works for the saxophone. When not performing, Ben enjoys an active life of teaching music and promoting the arts in his community.
The sounds in this piece are modulated by the luminance values created by the sunlight in a video that I shot of the Saskatchewan river one afternoon from Emily Murphy Park. As well, some of the sounds in the piece are drawn from the sonification of solar data collected by Aurora Watch, led by professor Ian Mann (https://www.aurorawatch.ca/), from the University of Alberta Physics department and used with permission.
About the Artist
Wayne’s mother was an accomplished pianist and taught him piano in the Royal Conservatory program. From there he spent some time studying jazz piano with Earl MacDonald and Marilyn Lerner. He’s sure that the jazz ensemble he played with let him stay because he kept them busy with gigs. At the same time he began contributing sounds and music to events at the St. Norbert Arts Centre, which led to contributing music for live theatre in Winnipeg and Edmonton, where he’s worked with directors such as Micheline Chevrier, Jan Selman, and Bob Baker. He’s been a member of the Boreal Electroacoustic Music Society for several years and often contributes pieces to BEAMS events.
The Creek is a collaboration between Ainsley Hillyard and Matthew Cardinal. It was filmed in Mill Creek ravine, a place very close to Ainsley’s heart, where she walks her dog daily and has found a sense of grounding during the pandemic. Ainsley feels it has been a true joy to be able to dance to Matthew’s beautiful creation in such a meaningful spot.
About the Artists
Ainsley Hillyard is an Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton)-based choreographer, performer and educator who works in contemporary dance and theatre. Her work is immersed in the curiosities and connections between movement and theatre. She has worked as a choreographer and performer for various theatre companies in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). One of her favorite ‘heart’ projects was creating Jezebel, at the Still Point, a performance staring her French bulldog, Jezebel, where they travel through space attempting to figure out time travel so that Jezebel never has to die. In her free time she enjoys reading feminist sci fi and is building her first Kayak this summer.
Matthew Cardinal is an amiskwaciy (Edmonton, Alberta) based musician, composer, and sound designer, known for his work with Polaris Short List nominee group nêhiyawak. Cardinal’s solo full-length album “Asterisms” was released in October 2020 on Arts & Crafts. Cardinal’s music moves from delicate, minimalist pieces to vast drones and sparkling, modular synthesizer beats. He has been performing music across the country for the last few years in various groups, as well as doing soundtrack work in film and sound for museum installations.
THINK THINK THINK THINK THINK is a multimedia poem, based around concepts of ignorance and thought: Why do we sometimes close our eyes to the problems around us? Why don’t we think more? A strictly defined mathematical context which informs both the visual and the auditory (stochastic distributions) is the glue that binds everything in a constantly changing space, and justifies the stark spontaneous juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated sounds and images. So what becomes important is not the sounds or sights in themselves, but rather the connections a perceiver makes between them; and the specific interpretations themselves become not as important as moreover the creation and acceptance of a space where one is allowed to (and must) think. In this way, THINK THINK THINK THINK THINK is at the same time highly personal and highly abstract.
About the Artist
Sointu Aalto (b.2004 in Helsinki, now based in Treaty 6) is a cellist and composer interested in the connection between music, mathematics, social justice, and philosophy. Her music centers around the question: what art is there to be done on an almost dying planet? She has had the opportunity to learn something about composition from Heather Hindman, Andrey Talpash, Christina Volpini, Dinuk Wijeratne, Charles Stolte, Steven Rice, and Allan Gilliland. These people have described her music as “daunting”, “disturbing”, “daring”, “truthful and gripping, and simultaneously polished and raw”. She is the recent winner of Frost School of Music’s 2020 Ensemble Ibis International Composition Competition, Penn State 2021 International High School Composer Competition, Arcady Ensemble’s 2019 emerging composer competition, Continuum New Music’s 2021 Teen Composer Award, CFMTA’s national 2020 student composer competition, and ACNMP’s national 2020 and 2021 composition competitions. She is also interested in academics, and especially climate science. Sointu studies cello with Josephine van Lier, and likes to play music for people, in orchestra, chamber ensemble, and solo.
An intro to creating art and performing in immersive virtual worlds. Accelerated by the pandemic, artists have been looking towards virtual means to share their work worldwide.
Considering the increased interest in crypto currencies, NFT’s and VR technology, are avatar based virtual worlds the future of engagement with art? Kelly Ruth is a visual and sound artist who has spent the past 20 years in and out of virtual worlds and this past year has been creating, performing, collaborating, djing and community building alongside artists around the globe inside an avatar based user generated virtual world.
She will share what is possible and explore the multiple worlds that artists are creating in, as well as where virtual world technology is going.
Register and join us via Zoom on June 27, at 2 pm (MST) to learn more! The access link will be sent out one hour in advance, please check your spam inboxes to ensure you don’t miss it. New Music Edmonton’s 2021 Summer Solstice Series is free of charge to enhance accessibility and is made possible due to the support of our partners and funders as well as individual donations. If you have the means, please consider donating the price of a concert ticket or a festival pass to NME so that we can continue to support new music in Edmonton that is accessible to all.
About the artist
Kelly Ruth is a Textile/New Media artist from Winnipeg in Treaty One territory, currently living in Edmonton in Treaty Six territory. Most recently she has been activating her textiles and tools through using electronics, sound, and integrating microcontrollers into the foundations of her woven cloth. She has created several bodies of work using fibre, dyeing with plants and weaving, recognizing these as early technologies, and a relationship that humans have had with the land. In her work, she is primarily concerned with the interplay between class, economics, and ecology.
In performance, she uses contact microphones and effects pedals on her weaving loom and other related tools. Kelly has a background as a textile dyer/painter for dance, theatre and film companies across Canada, primarily working for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She performs solo and with an improvisational trio named Civvie. She has performed solo at the Vancouver New Music Festival, Handmade Assembly, Forthwith Festival and has exhibited a textile/sound installation as part of Send + Receive Festival. Working with Civvie she has performed at Jazz Winnipeg, New Music Edmonton, Sounds Like Festival and has opened for an improvisational collaboration between Venetian Snares and Daniel Lanois, as well as opening for Merzbow + Balázs Pándi as part of Bend Festival.
In this collaboration, chamber and orchestral horn player, Molly Wreakes plays Hildeghard Westerkamp’s Fantasie For Horns II, while dancer and performer Rebecca Sadowski, responds in movement to the musical score. They were curious to improvise within the filming process and were inspired to play with various themes and inspirations embedded within the set music score. Some of these themes include nature verses cityscapes, darkness verses lightness, and movement through spaces with innate feelings of locomotion and the essence of travel built in.
Fantasie for Horns II written in 1979 by Canadian composer HildegardWesterkamp combines the Canadian coastal soundscapes of train, fog, factory and boat horns into a4 channel audio that is played together with the modern horn to create a captivating and layeredeffect that challenges listeners to view traditional horn sounds from a different perspective.Additional sound sources found in the work are sampled from an alphorn and a creek, focusing onthe landscape and how sound is naturally altered and amplified depending on its environment. Thetape works to create the acoustic landscape allowing the modern horn and its capabilities to be explored, showcasing how it can mimic environmental horns through various compositionaltechniques.
About the Artists
Rebecca Sadowski is a dance and theatre artist in Edmonton and is thrilled to take part in this music and movement collaboration with the Good Women and New Music Edmonton.
Molly Wreakes has performed internationally as both a chamber andorchestral musician. Molly served as the academist with the Royal Stockholm PhilharmonicOrchestra for the 2018/19 season. In this position, she performed with the orchestra, participated inchamber music initiatives and received training from the horn section along with other members ofthe orchestra. Before moving to Stockholm, Molly was selected to represent Canada in theOrchestra of the Americas European Summer Tour, acting as principal horn performing acrossPoland, Ukraine, Germany and Scotland.
She received her Bachelor of Music from McGill University and then pursued graduate studies inGermany at Folkwang Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) completing her Master of Musicin 2018. In addition to orchestral performance, Molly is an avid chamber musician who also seeks toexpand the musical possibilities of the horn through alternative arrangements. Going forward, Mollyis inspired to explore community outreach opportunities through music and musical creativity. The2020 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, Anne Burrows Foundation, AlbertaFoundation for the Arts and Winspear Fund have generously supported Molly Wreakes’ work.
Conversations – still – silent… is a collaboration between the three artists. We had some joyful and creative virtual conversations. We decided that our goal in performance would be to continue the conversation by way of our movement and sound expressions.
About the Artists
Alison Kause is a founding member of the Good Women Dance Collective and a teacher in Dance Education with Edmonton Public Schools. She is a graduate of the Grant MacEwan Dance Program and the School of Contemporary Dance at SFU, as well as the Education program at the University of Alberta. She has performed across Canada and been inspired by work with local and international colleges Alison is inspired and challenged by Edmonton’s dance community and is committed to its development.
Marynia Fekecz is a Polish dancer/performer/choreographer/teacher/producer based in Edmonton where she was part of a residency program and Creative Incubator at Good Women Dance Company. She first came to Canada a few years ago to Calgary where she collaborated with W&M Physical Theatre dance company as part of a residency program. She danced in the WM2 project “RICING”. During this residency she also created a duet “Still a number” with Nicole Charlton Goodbrand. Also, Marynia was a choreographer for Alberta Dance Festival in Calgary during the years 2017 and 2018. In 2017 she choreographed a piece “Lake”, with Artistic Director Davida Monk. In 2018 she choreographed the piece: “Is about you, not me”, with Artistic Director Sasha Ivanochko. Also, Marynia was a part of Fluid Festival Spring Board in Calgary. She was a dancer in the piece “Place where I dream and you live”, choreography by Su-Lin Tseng. Marynia was invited by Good Women Dance Collective to present her work at Expense at part of the Chinook series Festival. She was dancing her solo premier “Marynia’s house of awkward pleasure”. Marynia was a part of residency program “Artist in Residency” at Mile Zero Dance in September 2021 with her new project “Face-to-Face”.
Marynia studied Dance in Poznan School of Social Science. She has collaborated with artists such as David Lorenc (Ultimate Vez), Anna Krysiak, David Zambrano, Melissa Monteros and Wojciech Mochniej, Przemyslaw Blaszczak (as a teacher assistant in Kokyu Studio in Institute of Grotowski).
Mehdi Rezania, born in Abadeh, Iran is a composer, santur player, and researcher. He started music at age 13 and studied the advanced method of santur playing under Ardavan Kamkar in Tehran. He co-founded Baarbad music in Toronto with Toloe Roushenas and has performed numerously with many local and international musicians including Salar Aghili, Keivan Saket, Hossein Behroozinia, Sinfonia Toronto. His music projects have been supported by grants from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Edmonton Arts Council and Canada Arts Council. He has been music advisor to Iranian Heritage Day at the Royal Ontario Museum and artistic advisor to Tirgan Festival in Toronto.
He has a BFA and MA in music composition from York University (under Professor David Mott and Professor Michael Coghlan) and an MA in ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta (under professor Michael Frishkopf). He is pursuing his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta supported by Social Science and Humanities Research Council. His interest is in contemporary classical music of Iran inside and abroad the country; the impact of politics, migration and globalization on its performance, composition and dissemination.