• Composer Biography

  • Emilie is active in the music community in various capacities: composing, teaching, curating, and organizing. She composes for acoustic instruments and electronic media to create both discrete and mixed compositions and creates intermedia projects that incorporate electronics, video, photography, and acoustic instruments.
Blog posts

    Emilie Lebel:  Continuum Contemporary Music and Jason Doell are pairing up with Jumblies Theatre for a project that explores the role of composer in the community.  Your project is related to the project that I am undertaking with Jumblies and Soundstreams, but the musical composition and results will be quite different.  Could you provide a description of the project?

    Jason Doell:  I find our project a little hard to describe succinctly. From my end of things, I’m writing a site-specific piece of music that is sort of like chamber music being presented in a sound installation (ish) format.  The piece will integrate members of communities that access Jumblies (and Jumblies affiliated) programs with the musicians of Continuum Contemporary Music.  

    Ryan Scott:  I’ve heard and performed several pieces by Jason, and commissioned a work Red Ensign (2015) for Continuum.  For me, Jason is a unique composer, fastidiously intrigued by the subtlest details while simultaneously managing to devour and control large architectural conceptualizations.  He also creates sounds using new combinations of known and found objects (from violin to pebbles on a plate) and in working with him, I trust his vision and intuition.  When I first met with Ruth Howard at Jumblies, I realized I had discovered enormous forces to merge with Continuum, immediately thought of Jason, and next what venue?  After a long search, we agreed that the Kiln at the Evergreen Brickworks was going to be our home for this project.  I imagine this work with cast and musicians filling all 600 linear metres of the Kiln to create a vast structured sonic and visual exploration of the space for a mobile audience, and discussions continue on a regular basis as to how best facilitate all creative needs.

    EL:  For myself, there have been some unique challenges while working on this project.  For instance, successfully creating a piece that is musically compelling for me that also incorporates the interests of the choir, while also taking into account a wide variety of abilities in the community choir.  These sorts of challenges have been really exciting for me to take on and find solutions.  Could you talk about some challenges that you are navigating in your work?

    JD:  Our project when completed will have gone from conception to creation (in June 2017) in just over two and a half years. During that time, everyone concerned has had and will have other projects to work on, and many other things happening in their lives. Being able to reconcile my past understandings of the project with current ideas or situations as the project has been developing has been difficult. Additionally, because of the nature of this project, I feel that my work should not only be personally interesting but it should honour and reflect the mandates of both organizations and this is tricky terrain for a composer. 

    RS:  I had the opportunity to work with Jumblies in a Tapestry co-production, and learned that the process of realization and the culture of Jumblies is vastly different from the streamlined approach of Continuum’s rehearsal and concert preparation and execution.  My concern in the initial planning stages of this project was primarily that both organizations would be wholly supported in doing what they do best, with the goal being to combine artistically in a new way, merging both the professional artists of Continuum with the community members of Jumblies; learning from each other and creating something meaningful.  It’s no small task, and that’s why a project of this nature takes time to develop and the right combination of people.

    EL:  What significance do you think your project will have to the new music community, and to Toronto's inhabitants?  What sort of lasting impact do you hope this project will have?

    JD:  I’m not sure I can even begin to speculate on the impact this may have on any community. I know that personally this process has really informed how I go about imagining sound when I work. This collaboration has set new parameters on my process, specifically concerning who is making the sound, and the types of activities that can generate sound. The lessons that I’m learning from creating this piece will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on my future work. 

    RS:  I have made a dozen or so trips now to the Kiln, and each time I am lost in my thoughts as to all the people who worked there in the past (no doubt manufacturing the bricks for my Don Mills home), the long period of time the space was left abandoned and the immaculate state of its current revitalization and surrounding infrastructure.  In the Kiln, evidence remains from each of these stages of its existence, from abandoned industrial relics, to period artful graffiti and the latest trends in sustainable eco-friendly renovation.  The space itself is an incredible concert hall, and combined with Jason’s imagination, the musical expertise of Continuum and the spirit of Jumblies Theatre, I anticipate and hope that this experience will resonate with those who witness it, and that they will carry this uniquely Toronto experience with them.

    EL:  Is there anything else that you would like to share about the project?  When will it be presented?

    JD:  The project will be presented in its entirety on June 2 & 3, 2017. There is a reduced 10-minute work-in-progress presentation scheduled for 5:00pm, June 19th 2016 at the Evergreen Brickworks. 

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  • Ask the Composer

  • Question
  • You split your time between Toronto and Missoula, MT, where you currently teach composition and music technology at the School of Music, University of Montana. What’s your favourite thing about each city?
  • Answer
  • Favourite thing about Toronto: the vibrant and diverse arts community. Favourite thing about Missoula: the mountains and fresh air.