UltraViolet – free event

Nicolás Arnáez, Emilie Cecilia LeBel, Rio Houle, Sointu Aalto, George Lewis

November 25, 2023 7:30 PM Betty Andrews Recital Hall (11110 104 Avenue NW, MacEwan University)
Artist photo UltraViolet
UltraVioletBW. Credit Nicolás Arnáez.

 

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Our second show of the season features Edmonton powerhouse new music ensemble UltraViolet, who will be premiering four new works by Edmonton composers, paired alongside Shadowgraph 5 (1977) by living American legend, George Lewis. We’re thrilled to present brand new pieces by Sointu Aalto, Emilie Cecilia LeBel,, and Nicolás Arnáez. Rather than focusing on a particular sound or theme, UltraViolet is highlighting a sense of place – amiskwaciwâskahikan/Edmonton – and the vibrant scenes and sounds this city inspires. Free admission.

Free outreach event – join Allison Balcetis and Chenoa Anderson for a free woodwind techniques for composers and performers workshop on November 24. 11-12:30  Room 11-363 of Allard Hall (11110 104 Avenue NW, MacEwan University).

The Program

Giants* (2023) – Sointu Aalto

… and the higher leaves of the trees seemed to shimmer in the last of the sunlight’s lingering touch of them … * (2022) – Emilie Cecilia LeBel

Shadowgraph 5 (1977) – George Lewis

even if nothing but shapes and light reflected in the glass (2021) for alto flute, baritone sax, tactile transducers on prepared snare and tom drums, and electronics – Emilie Cecilia LeBel

Después* (2022) – Nicolás Arnáez

*Commissioned by UltraViolet with funding from the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton

The Artists

UltraViolet is the only instrumental ensemble in Edmonton whose mandate focuses exclusively on the creation and performance of new classical compositions. The group was formed in 2014 as the in-house ensemble for New Music Edmonton’s annual Now Hear This festival. They have since performed over fifty new pieces, most of them Canadian. Many of these have been works by Edmonton composers, and almost all were given their Edmonton premiere by the ensemble. UltraViolet comprises four local artists who are committed to bringing new music to local audiences: pianist Roger Admiral, percussionist Mark Segger, flutist Chenoa Anderson, and saxophonist Allison Balcetis. Individually, the musicians of UltraViolet have premiered hundreds of solo and chamber works and have been active in commissioning and performing new works. They are forward-thinking, virtuosic, dedicated artists who have decades of combined experience in communicating the diverse and compelling languages of today’s composers. The quartet is named in honour of composer Dr. Violet Archer, who encouraged her students at the University of Alberta to create their own opportunities for their music to be performed. Her impact was broad and deep in Alberta and throughout Canada.

The musicians of UltraViolet believe that faith in emerging composers and extending opportunities for their works to be heard in public is necessary for the continuation and flourishing of the contemporary classical music art form. UltraViolet’s core aesthetic is to hold up a mirror to today’s society and reflect back an artistic truth.  The group is committed to equity and diversity in programming and is a signatory to the Canadian League of Composers Gender Parity Pledge.

Accessibility

Betty Andrews Recital Hall, Allard Hall, MacEwan Univeristy – accessible building with gendered, multi-stall washrooms.

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Program Information

Program Information

November 25, 2023 7:30 PM

Watch on Vimeo!

Program

Giants* (2023) – Sointu Aalto

… and the higher leaves of the trees seemed to shimmer in the last of the sunlight’s lingering touch of them … * (2022) – Emilie Cecilia LeBel

Shadowgraph 5 (1977) – George Lewis

even if nothing but shapes and light reflected in the glass (2021) for alto flute, baritone sax, tactile transducers on prepared snare and tom drums, and electronics – Emilie Cecilia LeBel

Después* (2022) – Nicolás Arnáez

*Commissioned by UltraViolet with funding from the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton

Notes

Giants – An idea I have been interested by when writing this composition is scale: scales of time and life and form and society and role. In particular, I have been struck by this statement: When everything grows, we grow too. Giants deals with these sometimes in a playful way, sometimes with bleak, empty, understated sadness, sometimes with big sound: in Giants, I aim for a balance of the assertive and the fragile and the funny. Structurally the piece binds together quite different sections within a classical form.

…and the higher leaves of the trees seemed to shimmer in the last of the sunlight’s lingering touch of them… for chamber ensemble (flute, baritone saxophone, percussion, piano), and electronics Written for the UltraViolet Ensemble The sound-world for this piece is based on my Giant Prairie Wind Harmonica project, generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Shadowgraph, 5 is the last in a series of works for creative orchestra, written in 1977. Orchestra implies a group of musicians, typically grouped into types of instruments like strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion. In this case the orchestra is creating the work, rather than recreating note for note, dynamic, articulation, rhythms, etc. of an authoritative score. There is no centralized score or conductor, and any number or combination of players can perform the piece’s task instructions, choosing them as needed. The tasks include things like cluster, glissando, pizzicato, open improvisation, lip buzz, copy preceding event, etc. Each task is written in a one of 16 squares on a one page, specific to that instrument group. An individual decides on the selection and order of the individual squares. Outside of music, a shadowgraph can give image to something normally invisible, or ephemeral, like air flow. In this case the score indicates possibilities of musical flow in time.

Después (“After” in English) was born as the sonification of a particular event in life that ignited its existence. It almost composed itself, notes and rhythms were put on paper innately, purposelly without much theoretical control. I understand listening to non-cultural influenced aural stimuli as a positively selfish experience: we only can listen for ourselves, I cannot listen for you, and you cannot listen for me. Then, the meaning to what we listen to is to be processed personally, it only can trigger self-centered connections between sound and sense. If this is true, you will never hear what composed Después, it is actually meaningless. Consequently, the opposite should be stimulating: what this could mean, and how you connect with it will be unrepeatable, one and only experience.

Artists

Sointu Aalto is an artist who is interested in the intersection of disciplines. She is currently studying music and mathematics at McGill University. Their compositions have been performed by ensembles including Kymi Sinfonietta in Finland, MATA Jr festival in New York with Bergamot Quartet, New Music Edmonton, and Continuum Contemporary Music in Toronto. Her compositions often feature multidisciplinary elements. She also performs lots as a cellist, and last year, she performed Lutoslawski’s cello concerto with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra.

Canadian composer Emilie Cecilia LeBel specializes in concert music composition, the creation of mixed works that employ digital technologies, and intermedia concert works. Emilie’s artistic practice has been recognized through several significant awards and appointments, including Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (2018-2022), Composer-in-Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (2015), TD SoundMakers Composer-In-Residence with Soundstreams Canada (2015-16), Land’s End Ensemble Composer Competition (2016), Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award (2015), Canadian Music Centre Toronto Emerging Composer Award (2012), and the Canadian Federation of University Women Elizabeth Massey Award (2012). Active as an educator and mentor, Emilie currently teaches at MacEwan University, and is Composer Advisor for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

George Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, Composition and Historical Musicology at Columbia University in the City of New York. Much of his compositional training was with Muhal Richard Abrams through a school of music at Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (usually referred to by the acronym AACM.) The AACM is significant in tonight’s concert because of its collective nature, where one could say that composition and improvisation often intermingled and members of the collective typically performed each other’s music. The AACM, active since 1965, avoided hierarchy, working in the spirit of consensus where everyone makes decisions.

Originally from Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, Argentina, Dr. Nicolás Arnáez is now based in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. His music compositions use as a root the concept of interactivity in music, which applies in electroacoustic pieces with real-time sound processing, the creation of interactive sound installations as well as into acoustic ensembles. Nicolás’ works and contribution to the cultural scene have been awarded in Argentina and Canada. He also is a composition and music technology educator at the University of Alberta, and sound technician and projectionist in both, the popular and new music scenes.