Times are strange right now, so one needs to create reasons to celebrate where one can. And for me, the above video is absolutely a cause for celebration, because it represents the end of a major multi-year project for me: to create three music videos of solo flute music by Canadian composers with strong connections to Pacific Rim culture and/or heritage. Nova Pon‘s piece Wrenegade is a virtuosic showpiece inspired by the call of the Pacific Wren — but more than that, it’s a response to my lifelong fear of birds (and also my fascination with that fear). By presenting the wren’s song at various speeds (including “as fast as humanly possible”), Pon gives us a glimpse into the sound world with which birds communicate, all the while lightheartedly playing with the old trope of the flutist as the extrovert, flamboyant exponent of birdlike virtuosity. The video was filmed by Mark Mushet in Musqueam territory (aka Pacific Spirit Park on UBC campus) with the playful, oh-so-kawaii animations of Cindy Mochizuki.
This next video is very much a response to current events. As the coronavirus began shutting down public gatherings across Canada, the Canadian Music Centre BC Region quickly realized that local musicians would be deeply affected. Their response is Unaccompanied, an online concert series that showcases Vancouver musicians performing solo works by Canadian composers. I’m feeling very honoured to be the first of this series, performing the beautiful work Four Directions by Vancouver composer (and dear friend) Jennifer Butler. Four Directions was originally composed as a piece to announce the day at R. Murray Schafer’s Wolf Project — but here, with the chiaroscuro camera work of Jordan Nobles, the work takes on a more sombre, pessimistic tone.