Soundcheck for Piling Sand - Piling Stone IV by André Cormier at Galerie sans nom, Moncton.
Soundcheck for Piling Sand – Piling Stone IV by André Cormier at Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton.

Back in September I was in New Brunswick to premiere Piling Sand – Piling Stone IV, for flute and Max MSP, by André Cormier. This mammoth, ninety-minute work was performed in both Moncton and St. John: every six minutes the flute is recorded and looped back through speakers surrounding the audience. Gradually, over the course of an hour-and-a-half, the music becomes denser, richer, and more elaborate, until the final six minutes reveal the “complete” piece: all swirling flute lines, Tibetan finger cymbals, and whistle tones. My final day in Moncton included an absurdly large portion of fried clams, some local beer… and a recording session, where we laid down André’s piece for posterity. Below is an excerpt from this utterly unique and otherworldly piece.

McGregor performing "Foundry" by Paul Steenhuisen.
McGregor performing “Foundry” by Paul Steenhuisen.

This week I’m heading to Montreal for the IAMA (International Artist Managers’ Association) Conference. This is the first time the Conference will be hosted in North America. Moreover, thanks to the incredible efforts of the folks at the Canadian New Music Network, there will be two evenings devoted to the performance of Canadian music — and this is where you’ll find me on November 7th. I’m thrilled and honoured to be presenting three solo flute works that are very dear to me: Foundry (1991) by Paul Steenhuisen, the alto flute movement from Three Reflections on Pride by Owen Underhill, and Lachrymose for solo piccolo by Derek Charke. This concert will also feature the Montreal based Fiolûtröniq as well as my good friends from Victoria, the Emily Carr String Quartet. The following evening (November 8th) will feature performances by Montreal’s ARTefact, the pianists Eve Egoyan and Roger Admiral, and Vancouver’s own Orkestra futura

Montreal is a very special place for me: for two years I studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, obtaining my Concours de musique in 1997. My “Montreal years” were definitely interesting times: even by student standards I lived in squalor. I shared an apartment near Berri-UQAM with half the McGill Symphony double bass section, scavenged my furniture from back alleys, and committed culinary atrocities too horrid to print. But they were fabulous years, too: it’s difficult to describe how thrilling it was to hear the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal on a regular basis, as well as powerful performances of contemporary music by ECM+ and SMCQ. I also studied in a passionately francophone conservatory, practised six hours a day, and made friends who remain close to this day. I think it’s safe to say that the cultural energy in Montreal is unique in North America and I’m looking forward tremendously to experiencing that energy all over again — this time with maybe not quite so many double bass players…

Canadian New Music at Off-IAMA Montreal

Fiolûtröniq (6:00pm) — Emily Carr String Quartet (6:30pm) — Mark Takeshi McGregor (7:00pm)

Red Roof Church

137 President Kennedy (across the street from Maison symphonique), Montreal, QC