The SPOGreatMusic Performance Series: S41E16
Release Date: May 21, 2021
On this sixteenth episode and season finale of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 41, 2020/2021), we’re pleased to present the following videos:
Ronald Royer’s “Mirage” with special guest, Máté Szücs
Joyce Lai, violin / Máté Szücs, viola / Andras Weber, cello / Kaye Royer, clarinet / Talisa Blackman, piano. An SPO/Canadian Sinfonietta co-production.
Notes from the composer: “My intent in this composition is to explore the shifting and illusionary world of the dream state. Mirage begins with a slow meditative introduction representing the act of falling asleep. A solo viola cadenza follows, starting a sequence of musical episodes, each emphasizing different emotions and parts of a dream. As the ensemble enters, the music takes on a melancholy air with occasional mysterious interludes. In the next section, the music speeds up and takes on a restless and more intense character employing a bluesy and jazz-infused theme. The music moves into a more flowing and serene section before leading into a faster and more agitated section representing the dream taking a more troubled direction. Leading to an unsettling climax, the music abruptly stops leaving silence. The original meditative music returns as the dreamer starts to awake entering that in-between world of wondering if the dream was real or not.”
This performance features Máté Szücs, a prominent international artist. Máté was principal violist for several season with the world-famous Berlin Philharmonic, having left that position to embark on a solo touring career in 2019. “Mirage” was performed and recorded when Máté was on tour in southern Ontario, fall 2019.
Learn more about Máté Szücs through his NAXOS profile here.
Find more videos with Máté on YouTube (including performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker) here.
See more performances from Andras Weber here.
Video directed and edited by Saul Pincus, Splice Heist Productions, Inc..
Audio recorded and edited by Jeff Wolpert, Desert Fish Toronto.
Learn more about the Canadian Sinfonietta here.
Shreya Jha’s “Spring in the Step”
Performed by Odin Quartet (Alex Toskov, violin / Tanya Charles Iveniuk, violin / Emilie Gelinas Noble, viola / Samuel Bisson, cello)
Audio and Video edited by Samuel Bisson | Recorded at St. John’s York Mills Anglican Church in May 2021
Notes from the composer: “‘Spring In The Step’ was written one cold October 2020 night in the middle of midterms when what I needed was exactly that – something to put a spring in my step. With this piece, I aimed to explore a variety of techniques, including use of a percussive bassline as well as counterpoint that was not necessarily grounded in tonality. With both of these techniques in mind as well as a desire to create something uplifting, I ended up with a piece that pushed my compositionally but also ‘grooved’ in a way. I hope this was the case for performers and listeners alike!”
Shreya Jha is a New Generation Artist and has participated in the SPO New Generation Composers Workshop program. The SPO is thrilled to present Shreya’s work and appreciate the Odin Quartet for finding a way to perform and present this amazing video, especially during the Covid pandemic. Learn more about Shreya on her website: https://www.shreyajhamusic.com.
This performance was made possible in part thanks to funding from the Toronto Arts Council and the SOCAN Foundation.
“Bigger” – Animated Short Film
Performer and Composer Bios
ODIN QUARTET : Born in early 2015 on the Philosopher’s Walk in downtown Toronto, the Odin Quartet unites four musicians who represent the diversity that Canada takes pride in. Violinist, Alex Toskov, is originally from Belgrade, Serbia. Tanya Charles Iveniuk, also a violinist, grew up in Hamilton, Ontario with roots in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Veronica Lee, born in South Korea, is a violist from LaSalle, Ontario. French-Canadian cellist and composer, Samuel Bisson, hails from Ottawa, Ontario. In June 2015, the Odin Quartet was selected to be one of the few ensembles to participate in the Luminato Festival’s epic production of R Murray Schafer’s, Apocalypsis. Through this, the Quartet had the opportunity not only of being mentored by the award-winning Afiara and Cecilia Quartets, but were also invited to collaborate with them on outreach and performances shortly thereafter. Since then, the Odin Quartet has been frequent performers of the Ottawa Valley Music Festival, Barrie Concert Series, Guelph Connections, Music in the Atrium, Music at Mount Pleasant, and Music Niagara. The Quartet, which takes its name from the one-eyed Norse deity, aims to promote modern Canadian compositions in addition to collaborating with other musicians and artists of other disciplines.
The Odin Quartet has served as the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ensemble- in-Residence since September 2017. In 2018, the ensemble premiered a new piece by Samuel Bisson, entitled EPITAPH foratonality, which featured the Quartet as soloists with the Scarborough Philharmonic, conducted by Ronald Royer. Collaborations have included artists such as Atis Bankas (violin), Victoria Kogan (piano), Raffi Altounian (guitar), Carmen Romero (flamenco dancer), Christopher Kelk (actor, storyteller), the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Spectrum Music. In 2019, the ensemble celebrated the inaugural concert of its Drying Ink series, performances dedicated to the premiere of new, Canadian works written for the Quartet. Currently, they look forward to incoming compositions from their Lockdown Lullabies call for scores. This project, initiated in May of 2020, aims to inspire composers, worldwide, to continue to create and stay in positive spirits during the challenging times related to the COVID-19 health crisis. Learn more about the Odin Quartet on their website.
SHREYA JHA: Shreya is a former SPO New Generation Composers Workshop participant and has a very bright future on so many levels. Shreya is in her final year studying neuroscience in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She completed her Bachelor of Music in composition at the Faculty of Music in June 2020. She is keenly interested in music composition, musical theatre, music education, and interdisciplinary research.
Shreya’s first musical “Statistics” (book, music, and lyrics) premiered at the U of T’s Drama Festival in February 2019, where it won an award of merit for composition. It then went on to win the Adams Prize for Musical Theatre at the Toronto Fringe Festival and was showcased at the Fringe Collective in July 2020. Her second musical “Connections” was premiered in November 2019 and will make its Cambodian debut with Mosaic Productions. “LUV”, written as a collaboration, will debut online in 2020-2021 and 18 Palace Road, a current work in progress, will debut in early 2021.
The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra has commissioned Shreya thrice. They have performed her pieces “String Sonata Op. 8 Mvt 4 – Allegro Vivace”, “Adversity”, and her arrangement of a traditional Inuit song, “This Child”. In March 2017 and 2018, the Gryphon Trio premiered her pieces “Vexation” and “Two Left Feet” at their Trinity College coffeehouse. The Bold City Contemporary Ensemble selected her piece “Journey Through A Daydream” for programming in their 2017-2018 season. She is an active composer in Ryerson University’s Radio and Technological Arts program. Shreya has been playing the piano for 15 years, violin for 11 years, and the viola for 5 years. She received her Associate of the Royal Conservatory (ARCT) in piano performance with honours in June 2016. She was a violist in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra’s 2015-2016 season and a violist and pianist in the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-2017 seasons and 2017-2018 seasons.
Shreya continuously explores the intersections between music and science, including education and research. She presently teaches composition at Sistema Toronto and is a research assistant in the Music and Cognition Lab. She is also investigating the relationships between musical rhythms and heart rate variability.
Learn more about Shreya on her: Website or Twitter. You’ll also want to check out her composition, “Fearless”, performed by Rovina and the Sistema Scarborough Youth Choir during an SPO holiday concert (pre-Covid-19, of course) here or her recent work with Prime Mover Theatre.
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