February has been a month of change: last week I stepped down from my position as Co-Artistic Director of the Redshift Music Society. After seven incredible years of working with an inspiring roster of performers, composers, and friends, I felt it was time to explore new career directions and dedicate more time to performing. With that in mind, I couldn’t be more excited about the coming weeks. On February 26th, Tiresias — my duo with pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa — departs for the Banff Centre for a week of intense rehearsing, followed by the recording of our new CD. This album, entitled Halos of the Moon, is a project that is very dear to both Rachel and me, as it is a musical exploration of the ties that unite Japan and Canada (both Rachel and I are “Hapa”: individuals of both Japanese and Western heritage). Halos of the Moon will feature music by Japanese composers who have had links to Canada (Toru Takemitsu and Jo Kondo),Canadian composers of Western descent who have been influenced by Japanese musical culture (Elliot Weisgarber, Derek Charke, and Anthony Genge), and Canadian composers of Japanese heritage (Kara Gibbs and Hiroki Tsurumoto). It’s a beautiful, challenging programme. And, I must admit, Rachel and I are so excited about returning to Banff we have to control ourselves from spontaneously squealing with delight during rehearsals (actually, if you knew either of us, you’d know we’re not the types to squeal. But we still feel like doing it).

Mark Takeshi McGregor & Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa

I felt it was time to send out an update about the Bach Project, my recording endeavour with organist Michael Murray (you can read more about the project, and the incredibly generous individuals who supported it, by clicking here). It’s ended up being a busy season, so it took a bit of time for Michael and me to make all the necessary edits (Chop! Chop! Chop!), and now we’re waiting for our recording technician to return the final versions to us (Stitch! Stitch! Stitch!), so we can move on to mastering, jacket design, and manufacturing of the final physical product. There are a lot of balls in the air at the moment, but we’re confident that the CD will be ready this Spring — which, I realize, is fast approaching! In the meantime, we’d love to give you another taste of what’s to come: here’s a link to our recording of the first movement of Bach’s b minor sonata, which is one of my favourite flute pieces of all time. Enjoy, and expect to hear from us soon!