Three evenings of performance coming to BU for annual ‘New Music Festival’

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Brandon University’s annual celebration of newly composed works – the New Music Festival, under the auspices of the School of Music and the pro series – returns this week. Dubbed “CANADA150: Mosaic of VISIONS” this year, the three-day event will feature evening performances by established, accomplished interpreters of contemporary music. As well, the Brandon University New Music Ensemble (BUNME), a group comprised of student musicians, will join in two of the concerts.

“The New Music Festival at BU is one of the highlights of our academic and performing year. What a treat for audiences, students and our faculty members to hear such first-rate performances of brand-new music,” said Greg Gatien, BU’s Dean of Music. “It’s so exciting to hear these beautifully-composed works take to the stage, and among the works this year are some very accessible ones, with innovative fusions of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements.”

The first of three evening performances will feature Toronto-based composer, ethnomusicologist, violinist and violist Parmela Attariwal, who is this year’s Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professor. Joining her on the Lorne Watson Recital Hall stage for her programme will be Montreal tabla player Shawn Mativetsky. Melding Asian and Western music traditions, they venture into unchartered, but exciting territory. That performance will take place Sunday, March 26.

The following evening, in the Evans Theatre located in the BU campus’ George T. Richardson Centre, festival director and pianist Megumi Masaki introduces a programme entitled MUSIC 4 EYES & EARS: VISIONS. Joining her on stage will be the BUNME as well as composer Douglas Finch, video artist Sigi Torinus, and the BU Orchestra with conductor Leanne Zacharias.

“BUNME students will be performing an improvised – what I call real-time composition – with Parmela Attariwala. Music doesn’t get any newer than that!” Masaki said. “On March 27, BUNME is also performing Hollywood by Canadian composer Fjola Evans, Simulacrum by Jordan Nobles and The Endlings, especially written for BUNME by Luis Ramirez, featuring the extinct Hawaiian bird song of Kaua’i o’o. As well, the BU Orchestra led by Leanne Zacharias will perform Ostinati, also by Jordan Nobles.”

To conclude the Festival on Tuesday, March 28, in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, Instruments of Happiness, a touring quartet of electric guitar players from Montreal — Jonathan Barriault, Simon Duschene, Marc-Olivier Lamontagne, led by Tim Brady — will present a programme unequalled by any other, with a lineup of commissioned works by composers from across the country.

“During the New Music Festival, it’s not just about new compositions. Audiences will also hear new approaches to composition or to performance, and new pairings of instruments and other media, which contemporary composers use to voice their contributions to the advancement of music,” Gatien said. “If you love music of any kind, this is a terrific opportunity to join us for adventurous first glimpses into the future; an adventure of new works and riveting performances.”

All New Music Festival performances – with the exception of Megumi Masaki’s – will be held in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, located in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building, at Brandon University. Masaki’s concert will take place in the Evans Theatre. Start time for all three concerts is 8 p.m. Admission to all New Music Festival performances is free.

The final recitalist in the 2016-2017 pro series season will be British pianist Murray McLachlan. His programme will include Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Op. 28. That recital will take place at 8 p.m., on Tuesday, April 18, also in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall. Tickets will be available at the door prior to the performance or in advance at the School of Music main office. They are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, students and BU alumni, and $10 for Conservatory students.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit


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