Director, students and friends perform at BU’s annual ‘New Music Festival’

This article is over 6 years old.

What does music look like? What do text and movement sound like? Those are questions that are integral to the 2017 edition of the New Music Festival at Brandon University, which has been dubbed CANADA150: Mosaic of VISIONS. And they are questions explicitly addressed by festival director and pianist Megumi Masaki in her second-night programme on Monday evening. Masaki’s concert, titled MUSIC 4 EYES & EARS: VISIONS, will introduce Canadian compositions for piano, electronic sounds and video that were written specifically for and with her.

“This all-Canadian programme is designed to explore how the integration and interplay of image, movement, text and sound can create new expressive potentials,” Masaki said.

Included in her choice of works will be the world premiere of Epiphanies for piano, with a text by Alice Munro and live interactive video by Winnipeg-UK composer-pianist Douglas Finch and video artist Sigi Torinus.

“Virtuoso pianist-composer Douglas Finch has been helping to revive the lost art of classical improvisation in concert by asking the audience for any words or quotes (musical and literary) and improvising them into a piece to thank and include them into the performance,” Masaki said. “Sigi Torinus’ videos and installations explore how we navigate through ideas or space, and over-under-along cultural boundaries. Douglas, Sigi’s and my love for the work of Alice Munro and Andrei Tarkovsky have inspired Epiphanies.”

Also on the programme are Brent Lee’s Ferrovia – a work commissioned by Masaki – Agency and Structure also by Lee, and BU alumna Nicole Lizée’s Kubrick Études for piano, glitch, soundtrack and video, another composition commissioned by Masaki. Along with playing the piano, the latter will also use a variety of sounds, including a typewriter, ping pong balls, and backing vocals, to underline Lizée’s musical ideas. Both commissioned pieces received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.

“As a pianist, I am continuously fascinated by seeing sound,” Masaki said. “New ideas in my research are ignited by collaborations with composers, video-media artists, writers, dancers, choreographers to capture what music can look, move and feel like as well as how image, text and movement can sound like.”

Sharing the evening with Masaki will be the Brandon University New Music Ensemble (BUNME), a student-musician group, which will be performing HOLLYWOOD by Canadian composer Fjola Evans, Simulacrum by Jordan Nobles and The Endlings, especially written for BUNME. A highlight of this work by Luis Ramirez is the extinct Hawaiian bird song of Kaua’i o’o. The BU Orchestra led by Leanne Zacharias will contribute as well, performing Jordan Nobles’ Ostinati.

On Monday, March 27 at 8 p.m., in the Evans Theatre, located in the George T. Richardson Centre, New Music Festival director and pianist Megumi Masaki, along with composer-pianist Douglas Finch, Sigi Torinus, BUNME, as well as the BU Orchestra under the direction of Leanne Zacharias will present the second of three New Music Festival events. The third and final NMF offering will feature Instruments of Happiness, a touring quartet of electric guitarists from Montreal: Jonathan Barriault, Simon Duschene, Marc-Olivier Lamontagne, led by Tim Brady. That performance will be held Tuesday, March 28, at 8 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall. Admission to all New Music Festival concerts is free.

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


To receive any BU publication in an alternate format please contact

About BU

Success is built at Brandon University. Our growing, progressive campus welcomes a diverse and inclusive community that combines proud tradition with shared ambition. Through our excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, we educate students to make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. Join us at