The 21C Music Festival returns this month for its second year.
What I’m noticing this time is an inroad of the world music, jazz and rock into the programming. Is this how the performances of the contemporary ‘classical’ will be sold in the future, especially in Canada and the US? Being sneaked in amid the “sensual music of Latin cultures” and a new commission by the former drummer of The Police? You could argue that the music with any electronic components is automatically related to the rock and the metal, and that the improv, while customary in jazz, is not entirely foreign to art music. So yes, there are connections, and I’m not against but let’s say I’m agnostic about this kind of mixed programming. The Koerner Hall itself programs with a huge emphasis on the more popular forms of music, and if you look at the last few seasons’ brochures, the classical (old or new) is in the minority. But okay. It’s too early to worry that the 21C will go the same route.
There are also two After Hours concerts, in a more casual setting with video projections on one night, and cash bar on both nights. All positive developments. The tickets range from $21 to about $60, and the $21 ticket can go even lower if you combine it with a ticket for another specific concert or get an all-access pass,
What piqued my interest:
Saturday May 23, 2015 – 5PM
Cinq à sept (involving a cello and three voices)
Raphaël Weinroth-Browne: new worlk for solo cello (World premiere)
Raphaël Weinroth-Browne: Offering
Kaija Saariaho: Grammaire des rêves
Jordan Nobles: π World Premiere (The Royal Conservatory of Music commission)
Saturday May 23, 2015 – 8PM
Spin Cycle (Afiara Quartet performs works by various composers, Skratch Bastid performs the remixes, then SB and Afiara play the four new pieces composed by the original composers after they’ve heard the remixes)
There is a big Kaija Saariaho concert on May 21, with four pieces by her, one by a Polish composer (Jerzy Fitelberg) and one by a Canadian composer (Omar Daniel). I would have normally be interested, but Daniel’s vocal piece uses the words by Yann Martel, possibly the most overrated writer of the last 20 years, so I will skip. Or might go and suffer those few minutes, we’ll see.
There’s much else–the Bicycle Opera peeps (an After Hours on May 21); a multi-media, multi-composer shindig Illusions (May 22, 8PM). The entire schedule finally has its own page, an improvement on last year.