There’s an old story about the famed Swiss flutist, Aurèle Nicolet, during his visit to the Banff Centre for the Arts to give a series of masterclasses: one day, he had a break in his schedule and decided he’d rent a car and explore the vast, craggy wilderness that is Western Canada. Before setting off, he asked a staff member at the front desk where the next major city was (excluding nearby Calgary, which was his entry point into the country) — a nice day-trip, he was thinking. “The next city?” the staff member responded, “That would be Vancouver,” and, pointing west, added, “It’s about 13 hours that way.”
Now, if you’re from Canada, there’s nothing unreasonable about this response — after all, we do live in the second largest country in the world. Long distances between cities are simply a reality. But when your homeland fits very tidily into a single time zone (with plenty of room to spare), I can see how this could leave even an international superstar like Nicolet slightly gobsmacked.
As I begin to cautiously tread into my forties (and toy with the idea of referring to myself as “middle aged”), I’ve had a sobering thought: much of Canada remains uncharted territory for me. It’s true that my country takes up no less than six time zones — and if you live on one end of the continent (as I do), getting to the other side can be a journey of Lord of the Rings proportions. Well, I’m happy to report that next week I’ll be making the hop — five times zones! — to New Brunswick, where I’ll be meeting up with friends I haven’t seen in ages and playing a stunning new work (twice!). On September 29th I’ll be the invited guest of the music series Le Hum at Galerie sans nom in Moncton, New Brunswick, premiering a piece written for me by my the Acadian composer (and dear friend) André Cormier: Piling Sand – Piling Stone IV for flute and Max/MSP. This is a massive tour-de-force for solo flute and delay loop: essentially, Piling Sand – Piling Stone IV is a six-minute sound sculpture — but the entire piece is revealed, layer by layer, over the course of ninety minutes. This concert will be performed again in Saint John as part of the Open Arts series at the Sanctuary Theatre on September 30th. If you live in or near either of these cities, I would love to see you there. And if you live in Vancouver, well, it’s about four days that way.
PILING SAND – PILING STONE IV
by ANDRÉ CORMIER
MARK TAKESHI MCGREGOR, FLUTE
Sunday, September 29th, 2013, 3pm
Galerie sans nom
140, rue Botsford, Moncton
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Monday, September 30th, 2013, 7pm
228 Germain St, Saint John