Seeing voices?

In this day and age, many composers’ artistic lives don’t revolve around the concert hall.  When it comes to Alanna Ho, what you see is as important as what you hear, and where you do your seeing/hearing is as likely an art gallery as a music venue.  Although educated as a composer and pianist, Alanna pursues a visual art practice that strongly influences her soundmaking.  When she teaches children to compose, she does so by means of visual cues.

On Thursday, we’ll hear about the junctions of vision, sculpture, sound and pedagogy.  And if we’re lucky, we might also hear a performance preview, which – we hear – involves a typewriter and some very old letters.

Toronto to LA

Tomorrow (Tuesday the 9th) Maren will be conducting a long-distance interview with Rob Teehan, which you can tune-in on Thursday to hear us air.  Teehan comes originally from Toronto, but now he lives in Los Angeles, and, fittingly, does a lot of composition for film, in addition to playing sousaphone with bands of various genres (more on this Thursday…).  He also pops periodically into concert-music-land, and the Vancouver Chamber Choir will be singing his piece O nata lux this Friday.

Teehan’s music is very clean-cut: melodies, chords, orchestration, modality and tonality all make themselves readily apparent in his sweeping gestures and appealing riffs.  By applying his talents to the popularly-accessible side of new music, Teehan has found a way to channel his versatile playing, singing and composing experiences into a diverse and busy music-making practice.  This week, we’ll be delving into the choices he’s made along the way.

(photo by Zahra Saleki)


As tragic operas go, air india [redacted] goes straight to the heart of things, bringing to the fore a host of complicated thoughts and emotions embedded deep within the Canadian discursive sphere.  On Thursday we’ll be airing an interview conducted on Monday with Irish composer Jürgen Simpson, who, over the past seven years, has endeavoured to create a balanced and profound piece of music confronting this darkest of historical chapters.

Simpson’s path to the opera project has taken many unexpected turns.  From his time with experimental rockers Nine Wassies from Bainne and the now-more-popularly-oriented group The Jimmy Cake, to his work scoring screen dance and experimental video, Simpson’s work has covered a lot of ground, and on Thursday,  you’ll be able to hear what he has to say about the places where these pursuits converge.

(Photo by Lanka Houche, copyright Jürgen Simpson 2009.)