The SPOGreatMusic Performance Series: S41E03
Release Date: November 6, 2020
On this third episode of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 41, 2020/2021), we’re pleased to present the following videos:
J. S. Bach’s “Partita No. 2 in D minor” BWV 1004
The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra is thrilled to have this complete and intimate performance by our SPO Concertmaster, Mr. Corey Gemmell. While Corey is used to playing with our full ensemble, this solo performance is simply beautiful. It’s also a huge effort in support of our 2020/2021 online music performance series. Corey also prepared the video of his performance. Watch in high definition to follow the score.
Emily Shapiro’s “Utter Zoo – Part 2”
Enjoy the second and final part of “Utter Zoo”, featuring music composed by Emily Suzanne Shapiro and words by Edward Gorey. Contributing artists include declaimist, Megalodipticus, and two talented musicians, Elizabeth Brown (oboe, english horn), and Emily Shapiro (clarinet, bass clarinet). Movements are: Mork / Ombledroom / Posby / Quingawaga / Ulp / Yawfle. Mixing and mastering was done by Alexis Hählen.
Program notes from Emily:
When I started writing Utter Zoo in 2008, I’d long been wanting to start composing more actively but was at a loss about how to begin. I found a lucky perfect combination of inspirations in my obsession with Edward Gorey, my friendship with Elizabeth and Meghan, and another collection of short pieces (17 one minute pieces for bass clarinet and casio mt750 by Christopher Hobbs). I loved the idea of minute-long pieces as a fun and lighthearted way to play with different ideas. Oboe and bass clarinet seemed like the ideal mix of sounds to match Edward Gorey’s work, although I’ve taken advantage of the doubling potential of both players to add some variety to the sonic pallet and give me more flexibility to express the different characters. Elizabeth and Meghan had the right skills and could (and twelve years later, still can) be counted on to be up for a strange and silly creative project.
Edward Gorey’s Utter Zoo is a collection of very short poems about imaginary animals- one for every letter of the alphabet. At first I imagined that I could write all 26 pieces in one go, but that proved extremely over-ambitious. I wrote and premiered the first six pieces in 2008 (at a farewell concert in a cafe called Our Town in East Vancouver the day before I moved to Montreal) and wrote another four in 2018. My hope is to keep chipping away at this project, and one day finish all 26. The four new pieces (Boggerslosh, Epitwee, Mork and Posby) have never been performed so this project is their world premiere.
The inspirations and composition processes for each individual piece varied widely. Ampoo and Quingawaga came about in very organic ways and were composed almost exclusively by ear. I was stuck on how to end Ampoo for a long time and was extremely frustrated, but one day the answer came to me, seemingly out of the blue, while I was sitting on the bus. Others were almost formulaic – for Yawfle, I decided that a relentlessly repeating rhythmic cell was the right way to express the absurd repeating “and stares” in the poem. I picked a tonality that went with character and picked a rhythm and the piece almost wrote itself. For Ulp I imagined a waltz in the style of the Amelie soundtrack, but I gave it a twist by laying down a melody in 5/4 time over the 3/4 accompaniment, adding a little quirky crunch to the nostalgic sweetness.
In addition to the 99 B-line bus in Vancouver and the usual practice rooms/home studios, I’ve worked on this piece in the dressing room before performing in a Balinese gamelan concert and at least six cafes spread between Vancouver and London.
“Ed” – Animated Short Film
Taha Neyestani, filmmaker and animator; Ludwig van Beethoven (from Symphony No. 9), music. This highly creative short animated film tells the visual story of the visual model. Created by a graduate of the Sheridan College Animation program. Many Beethoven epics have been featured in great films, and “Ed” uses parts of the 9th Symphony perfectly. For more information on the Sheridan College Animation program, visit https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/programs/bachelor-of-animation.
Performer and Composer Bios
COREY LYLE GEMMELL: Corey is a native of Hamilton, Ontario. He has distinguished himself as a soloist and chamber musician with performances in Canada, Germany, the United States, and China. Concerto appearances include performances of such works as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Brahms’ Violin Concerto, and Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello. 20th Century solos with orchestra include Mozetich’s Affairs of the Heart for Violin and Orchestra and Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending.
Mr. Gemmell is concertmaster of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Hamilton Orchestra. He has also performed in this role with the Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Orchestra, and Esprit Orchestra. He performs frequently with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Corey Gemmell was concertmaster for the fall CBC television production of Over the Rainbow with Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. He has performed as concertmaster for a number of musicals including recent productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Hugh Jackman Show, and Next to Normal. He has worked with such pop icons as Hugh Jackman and Chantal Kreviazuk. Mr. Gemmell was concertmaster for the 2010 production of Miss Saigon at the Four Seasons Centre and the 2009/2010 production of The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales. He is also active in commercial studio work in Toronto and has recorded for numerous movies and commercials.
Mr. Gemmell can be heard on compact disc in recordings of sonatas by Brahms, Ravel, Robert A. Baker, David Eagle, and Hope Lee. He was one of the contributing artists to record the Royal Conservatory of Music’s violin syllabus on compact disc.
Much in demand as a teacher, Mr. Gemmell’s students have distinguished themselves at provincial and national competitions. He is presently on faculty at the Western University, the National Music Camp of Canada, and is a member of the Royal College of Examiners.
EMILY SHAPIRO: Emily is a bass clarinetist and clarinetist dedicated to exploring and creating new music. Originally from Canada, Emily pursued her studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Academy of Music, Concordia University and the Domaine Forget academy. Emily has a special love for the sound and scope of bass instruments and constantly pushes the limits of what she can do on bass clarinet. Alongside performing contemporary music on bass clarinet, Emily is involved in many other musical endeavours. Composing and improvising are central to her career, and she has been an active performer of Balinese gamelan for 10 years and has also explored jazz, klezmer, rock and electroacoustics. She is always seeking out new artistic experiences to enrich and motivate her work. She is a proud member of Duo Arasari, the London Improviser’s Orchestra, the Corner Quartet and Lila Cita and has performed all over London, including iklectik, Café Oto, Hundred Years Gallery, LSO St Luke’s, the Vaults festival, the Barbican and many more. She founded and manages the Mellifera arts platform, a monthly interdisciplinary arts performance event. Outside of music, Emily loves gardening, running, whisky and making friends with animals. Discover more about Emily on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Emilysuzanneshapiro, or on her SoundCloud page https://soundcloud.com/ennazu. Photo by Pierre Bouvier Patron.
ELIZABETH BROWN: Elizabeth is an oboist, flautist and organizer. She studied under Marea Chernoff and Beth Orson and holds a Bachelor of Music from UBC and an Artist Diploma from the Vancouver Academy of Music. She was awarded the 2004 and 2005 Mildred Johnson Scholarship in Music, the 2007 and 2008 Vancouver Academy of Music College Scholarship, and the 2007 W. R. Bingham Family Scholarship. Elizabeth enjoys seeking out and performing odd, entertaining, and silly music as well as playing standard repertoire. She has performed with Lions Gate Sinfonia, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Canada West Orchestra, Opera Appassionata, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Southern Ontario Lyric Opera and of course the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra! While she adores symphonic repertoire, she also seeks out chamber music and co-founded the comic chamber opera group, OperaFeHk in Vancouver BC with several friends. Elizabeth currently organizes and plays with Untitled Ensemble; a chamber music collective dedicated to playing underplayed and forgotten works with an emphasis on works by women composers. When not rehearsing in the garden or researching new scores to explore, Elizabeth can be found chasing cormorants on Lake Ontario in her very petite sailboat, or pampering her two luxurious cats, Bacon and Hotdog. Learn more about Elizabeth on her websites, http://www.UntitledEnsemble.ca/ and https://www.oboistic.ca/. Photo by Elizabeth Brown.
MEGALODIPTICUS (aka MEGHAN): The Megalodipticus is an amphibious bipedal herbivore that dwells primarily in temperate wetlands. They can be observed emerging from hibernation in lowland swamps in early June to mid July at which time they commence their annual migration in search of coffee. They have adapted well to urban areas where they are often found grazing in backyards, and occasionally in kitchens where they are lured by the scent of freshly brewed coffee. Some efforts have been made to domesticate the Megalodipticus however they are generally considered an intractable and noisy pest, so this is not really recommended. Historically, captive Megalodiptici, have occasionally been incorporated into the entertainment at travelling fairs and carnivals, as they are seen as something of a novelty outside their natural range. To discover more about Megalodipticus, visit here website https://megalodipticus.yolasite.com/. Photo by Elizabeth Brown.
TAHA NEYESTANI: Taha is an incredibly gifted animator and storyboard artist. Discover more about Taha on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tneyes. For more information on the Sheridan College Animation program, visit https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/programs/bachelor-of-animation.