Toys vs Instruments

There’s no denying that Nancy Tam writes pretty music.  Whether lyrical or percussive, her sounds display an approachable dramatic sense familiar from many musical worlds.  Her unearthly taste in visual art comes as a stark contrast, while all of her works bear bold and evocative titles suggesting a drama of objects more than of humanity.  Matt interviews Nancy tomorrow, to talk about a multiplex corpus that gets more so by the day.


Contemporary Metal

Harry Stafylakis describes his work as “contemporary metal.”  But alas, his rhythmically driving compositions call for no mosh pits or stage makeup; rather, the metal is in the notes  – a little bit bluesy, mostly minor (although rarely diminished) and without a trace of spectralism.  Stafylakis’s metal is a kind of folk tradition.  The infamous rock’n’roll drama is still their, though, beneath a classical veneer laced with postminimalism.  For Stafylakis, you can dress it up, but it’s still metal when you take it out.

A Composer’s Guide to Multiple Continents

Jazz and classical sounds find a collective home in Elizabeth Knudson‘s in latest work, a concerto for jazz trio and orchestra.  No stranger to symphonic forces, Knudson and her music have travelled far and wide, collecting musical odds and ends from around the world.  (Knudson chronicles her adventures on her blog.)

Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that folk songs play a major role in her teaching and composing work.  Simultaneously, as a cellist with the West Coast Symphony Orchestra, Knudson is well acquainted with the high classical ultragreats.  Ultraclassicalness?  Ultrafolkness?  Ultrajazzness?  Let’s find out how they meet!


Matthew Ariaratnam is at home in many types of performance, whether or not they involve Compositing with a capital ‘C’.  Prevailingly delicate and inviting, Matthew’s concert music contrasts starkly with the arid soundscapes of our previous guitarist-guest.  Close-miked sounds and domestic spaces figure in his electronic music, the most recent of which is a soundscape for a room featuring a couple of homemade pillows.

Like Katerina Gimon, a classmate at Wilfrid Laurier University, Matthew is a singer-songwriter and improviser.  In singing, he tends toward a gentle, melodic style that eschews drama in favour of geniality.  Improvising finds him employing a more challenging palette, involving, well, whatever seems most interesting at the time.  We’ll get to hear a bit of all of the above when Matt joins us in the studio on Thursday.