The SPOGreatMusic Podcast Series: S01E12

Release Date: March 5, 2021

There is a long history of composers being inspired to tell stories through instrumental music, with Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” being a famous example. In 2018, the SPO in partnership with its ensemble-in-residence, the Odin Quartet, embarked on the “Drying Ink” project to create new Canadian music for the quartet. Interestingly, each of the composers involved created music with an embedded story. This episode will look at ways composers can tell stories using music and why this type of creation is appealing. Featuring interviews with members of the Odin Quartet and seven Canadian composers connected to this project.

Here’s some additional information and pictures on our special guest interviewees for this episode:


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 String 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.

You can learn more about the Odins on their here, or their YouTube channel here.


Additional interviewees:

Ronald Royer (SPO Music Director/Conductor)

Alex Toskov (Violin I, Odin Quartet) * Samuel Bisson (Cello, Odin Quartet)

Alex Eddington (Composer)

Chris Meyer (Composer, TDSB Physics Teacher)

Elizabeth Raum (Composer)

Bruno Degazio (Composer, Professor) Sheridan College Animation Program


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