This past Thursday was, in many ways, a personal “season finale” — and I can’t think of a better way of spending it than with friends and colleagues from across the country. The Four Elements featured a roster of amazing Vancouver flutists (known collectively as the Tempest Flutes) performing new works by Canadian composers, each inspired by one of the Four Elements: Emily Hall (Air); Edward Top (Earth); Jocelyn Morlock (Fire); and Éric Champagne (Water). Véronique Lacroix, artistic director of Montreal’s ECM+, steered us through these challenging and fascinating works, and guest cellist Mariève Bock was a star in Top’s quasi-concerto for cello and multiple flutes, AS8 Earthrise. Morlock’s piece, Salamander, featured some of the most satisfyingly extroverted piccolo writing I’ve ever played (even if you weren’t at the concert, chances are you heard it). Another highlight of the show was Champagne’s piece, Rivières et marées, scored for a massive twenty-two flutes plus cello. For this piece, the Tempest Flutes were augmented by an additional fourteen players from the community; it was a unique opportunity for young players and adult amateurs alike to participate in the performance of a major addition to the Canadian flute ensemble repertoire — and, I might add, they sounded fabulous.
The concert also featured two solo flute performances: Paolo Bortolussi performed East Wind by Shulamit Ran and I performed Foundry by the Canadian composer Paul Steenhuisen. It was an extra special treat to have Steenhuisen in town for this event — I had the opportunity to play Foundry for Paul before the show, and his insights really helped make the piece come alive for the performance.
Below are some pictures from the dress rehearsal and concert, courtesy of Jordan Nobles, who was suspended in a net above the ensemble for most of the evening! Also, hats off to our production manager, Nicholas Jacques, who helped make everything go so smoothly on the day — and who helped bring the set to life with lighting that reflected the spirit of each piece.