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Banff Festival 2018 - Part I. Ensemble Evolution

  • Banff Centre 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive Banff, AB, T1L Canada (map)

I. Ensemble Evolution
June 18-July 7, 2018

Info Here! 

Claire Chase & Steven Schick, co-artistic directors
Fiona Digney, artistic associate

Tuesday, June 19
Faculty Concert: Portrait of Anna Thorvaldsdóttir
International Contemporary Ensemble
Rolston Recital Hall

Pre-concert Talk at 6:45
Rolston Recital Hall
Steven Schick in Conversation with Anna Thorvaldsdóttir

Icelandic-born composer Anna Thorvaldsdóttir is a musical poet whose art reflects the intersection of sound and nature, creating evocative overlays of harmony and texture; sound and meaning. These intimate works for small ensemble are gems of color and emotion.

Trajectories (2014) — A collaborative work for piano, electronics and video projection. The music is by Anna Thorvaldsdottir and the visuals are constructed by Sigurður Guðjónsson.

Sequences (2016) — for bass flute, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, and baritone saxophone

Aura (2011) — for percussion trio

Aequilibria (2014) — for chamber orchestra


Wednesday, June 20
A Welcome Concert by Claire Chase & Steven Schick, co-artistic directors
Rolston Recital Hall
Pre-concert Talk 6:45 Claire Chase and Steven Schick - Rolston Recital Hall

A concert of primal statements from the original voice for solo flute, Varèse’s landmark Density, a titanic work expressed in just a few minutes of music to Kurt Schwitters’ tour-de-force for solo voice to Vinko Globokar’s ?Corporel which literally strips the music to its barest form, to the mothership of flute playing, Pan.  Join us for the big bang(s) that started the flute and percussion revolutions.

Kurt Schwitters (1887-1946): UrSonata (1932) — a sound poem

Marcos Balter (b. 1974): Suite from “Pan” (2018), an opera for solo flute and ensemble, featuring Ensemble Evolution participants and Banff community members*


Thursday, June 21
Introducing Ensemble Evolution’s 2018 Participant Composers!
Rolston Recital Hall
Pre-Concert Talk from 6:45 Claire Chase, Ryan Muncy, and Participants - Bentley

This celebratory concert features world premieres of hot-off-the-press new works by the five extraordinary young women in the 2018 Ensemble Evolution program: Camila Agosto, Lisa Atkinson, Lucy Hollier, Diana Rodriguez, Bekah Sims, featuring participant and faculty performers collaborating side by side.


Saturday, June 23
From the Canyons to the Stars, with Bells
Ensemble Evolution + International Contemporary Ensemble
AMP (Margaret Greenham Theatre/Harvie as rain plan)

AUDIENCE ENCOUNTER 6:30-7:15 - AMP (performance location)

Steven Schick with Nathan Davis, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Barry Lopez

“Uncivilized:  Music in the Natural World”

When Olivier Messiaen first saw the national parks of the western United States, he was struck, as so of us have been, by their simultaneous grandeur and intimacy. The mountains and canyons are enormous and awe-inspiring, but they are the birthplaces of intense individual reactions and personal transformations.   Now in Banff, a little farther north in the same range of mountains, we revisit Messiaen’s visions of canyons and stars; of the small songs of birds and the great terrifying silences of our home on this planet. We’ll precede Des Canyons aux Etoiles with another sonic environment:  this one in Nathan Davis’s Bells, a work for a small cadre of soloists and a large group of performers and audience members playing small bells and cell phones. Join us for two distinctive sonic environments.  

Nathan Davis: Bells (2011) — for winds, percussion, many bells, live electronics,
and audience members' cell phones

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992): Des Canyons aux étoiles… (1974) — for orchestra


Tuesday, June 26
Faculty Concert: Jennifer Curtis, Levy Lorenzo, Peter Evans, Matana Roberts, Cory Smythe, Mazz Swift
Rolston Recital Hall

Pre-concert Talk from 6:45 Claire Chase and Steven Schick with selected faculty

Join us for the newest of the new: improvisations by Matana Roberts, Mazz Swift, Peter Evans, Levy Lorenzo and Cory Smythe.  Jennifer Curtis and Claire Chase join in new music by Pauchi Sasaki and George Lewis.

Solo improvisation
Cory Smythe, piano

Solo improvisation
Matana Roberts, saxophone

Pauchi Sasaki (b.1982): Mayu (2017) — for solo violin
Jennifer Curtis, violin

George Lewis (b.1952): Emergent (2014) — for flute and electronics
Claire Chase, flute
George Lewis, electronics

Peter Evans, Mazz Swift, Levy Lorenzo


Friday, June 29
World Premiere by George Lewis
Rolston Recital Hall

AUDIENCE ENCOUNTER 6:30-7:15 - Bentley
Claire Chase with George Lewis and Selected Participants
“Community Building through Musical Action”

The brilliant George Lewis, a true polymath—composer, technologist, philosopher, writer, and teacher—creates a work for the entire community of Ensemble Evolution participants.  A mix between strictly notated and highly improvised, Lewis’s new work creates multiple avenues of experience among performers and with listeners. Hear for yourself as lines of contact emerge between players and groups, only to shift and reformulate themselves as new associations and new musical experiences.  Witness musical communities in the making.  Not to be missed!

International Contemporary Ensemble + Ensemble Evolution

A new Banff Centre-commissioned work featuring all Ensemble Evolution Faculty and Participants!


Saturday, June 30
Rolston Recital Hall
2:00pm Concert

World Premieres by Peter Evans, Matana Roberts, Cory Smythe, Mazz Swift
International Contemporary Ensemble + Ensemble Evolution

Four Banff Centre-commissioned new works by Ensemble Evolution’s Improvisation faculty: Peter Evans, Matana Roberts, Cory Smythe, Mazz Swift.


Tuesday, July 3
Faculty Special Concert: Morton Feldman’s five-hour masterpiece
Claire Chase, Cory Smythe, and Steven Schick

When long time friends composer Morton Feldman and painter Philip Guston fell out over an aesthetic disagreement, it seemed like they would never speak to each other again.  Guston’s death not long afterwards confirmed that.  That is until Feldman addressed his friend posthumously in the extraordinary 4.5 hour long For Philip Guston.  Starting with haunting melody based on the name of another close Feldman friend, John Cage (C, A-flat, G, E-flat) the work moves among colors and qualities, very much in the manner of a Guston canvas: by questioning the function of line and connection and by demanding that we pay attention to the common cause between music and real life.  The result is emotional and life-affirming.

Pre-Concert Talk 6:45 Sabrina Schroeder, Vivian Fung and Aiyun Huang - KC303
Claire Chase, flutes; Cory Smythe, piano; Steven Schick, percussion

Morton Feldman (1926-1987): For Philip Guston (1984) — for flute, percussion and piano


Saturday, July 7

Claire Chase, Steven Schick, with Faculty Composers and Improvisers
“Beyond Repertoire:  Making Music Outside of Conventional Habits”

Featuring a marathon day of Ensemble Evolution participant-curated, produced and created work developed over the course of the three-week program, alongside a faculty program of Banff Centre-commissioned world premieres by Canadian composers Sabrina Schroeder, Vivian Fung, and Michael Oesterle. The marathon will culminate in an orchestral version of Julius Eastman’s Gay Guerrilla.