Onyx is a banded variety of chalcedony. The colours of its bands range from white to almost every colour (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white. — Wikipedia.org

Also, it should be added that as of today, June 21st 2014 — Summer Solstice to be precise — Onyx is the name of a new trio of musicians, specifically harpist Joy Yeh, violist Marcus Takizawa, and myself on the flute. Here, can you tell which one is us?

 

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(I’ll give you a hint: it’s the photo taken by the incredibly gifted Nimus Dilasso one afternoon out at the Vancouver International Airport.)

So today, on the brightest, longest day of the year, one of the darkest stones will be making music in public for the very first time — in mere hours, we’ll be performing some glorious music by Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel (cunningly arranged by Jocelyn Morlock) and Arnold Bax at the Surrey City Centre Library as part of Music on Main’s Surrey Sounds. Come check us out — or wait for our upcoming season which will include many more performances throughout BC! In the meantime, the Onyx Trio will hold court at its very own website, www.onyxtrio.com, designed by our very own Marcus Takizawa.

Sins & Fantasies cover image
Sins & Fantasies cover image

I suppose if one is going to shamelessly horn-toot, a personal blog would be one of the very few places where such an indulgence might be considered socially acceptable (God, what did the boastful introvert do before the internet?). My latest album, Sins & Fantasies, which features seven new works by Canadian composers, each inspired by one of the Seven Deadly Sins, received a wonderful review by Alison Melville in the most recent edition of WholeNote Magazine. Melville writes:

What a brilliant conceit – seven pieces, each by a different living Canadian composer, and inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins. Beginning in 2010, Vancouver-based flute virtuoso Mark Takeshi McGregor gave life to this project, and the results are gloriously presented here. The disc begins with Dorothy Chang’s Wrath, a hissing, spitting and raging exploration of tone, breath and vocal sound, followed by Gregory Lee Newsome’s Avarice and Owen Underhill’s Three Reflections on Pride which employ flute, piccolo and alto flute. Jocelyn Morlock’s take on lust makes exquisitely erotic use of the alto flute, McGregor’s voice, and words from a 20th-century icon which completely spooked me out. James Beckwith Maxwell’s Invidere (envy) wanders into the far reaches of extended techniques, and Benton Roark’s Untitled gives a meditative and melancholy spin to sloth.

In all these, McGregor’s remarkable gifts as a player are mesmerizing. Besides his extraordinary technical mastery, his is playing of the most imaginative and creative kind. And to top it off, the disc closes with McGregor’s own Le dernier repas de M. Creosote, inspired by the infamous Monty Python character and an absolute tour de force any way you slice it. … As Chaucer says in The Parson’s Tale, the deadly sins “all run on one Leash, but in diverse manners,” and here their diversity is astonishing, inspiring, and only dangerous in the best possible way.

The entire review is available online HERE. Needless to say, I’m over the moon about this review — and I’m particularly thrilled that these outstanding works are getting the national spotlight they so intensely deserve. Dorothy Chang, Gregory Lee Newsome, Owen Underhill, Jocelyn Morlock, James Beckwith Maxwell, and Benton Roark: I can’t thank you enough for contributing such savage, weird, colourful, erotic, virtuosic, and introspective music.

Sins & Fantasies is now available through the Canadian Music Centre and on iTunes.