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Premiere Title of Commission Composer Listen
11/29/2011 Tango Melancólico Serouj Kradjian Listen Close

Kradjian was moved to compose this piece after hearing a tango on his alarm clock early one morning while he was studying in Germany. The sound of the bandoneón and the fiery accentuated rhythms and melodies of Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla all provided inspiration for this work.

11/29/2011 Tango: Del Amor Imprevisto James Rolfe Listen Close

Rolfe’s own words best describe the challenge he faced in composing this work—the difficulty of writing from outside of the culture and style—and how he rose to meet it: “As an Anglo-Canadian composer writing a tango, I’m skating on thin ice. How can my stolid northern soul find its way into the very particular language, singing, rhythm, and soul of this dance?"

11/29/2011 Serbian Tango Ana Sokolovic Listen Close

The intention behing this commission was to create new approaches to a familiar form by seeing it afresh through a contemporary lens. Sokolović’s contribution is inspired both by jazz and by the traditional Serbian dance known as kolo.

10/30/2011 Uskok Rhapsody André Ristic Listen Close

Though written for brass, Uskok Rhapsody sounds unlike any brass music with which most ears are familiar. To begin with, its instrumentation is unconventional: three brass quintets rather than the standard ensemble. Ristic describes the work as “a catalogue of psycho-geographic memories” that he collected while visiting the Uskok region of Montenegro.

04/28/2011 Symptoms of a Quase Language Craig Galbraith Listen Close

In the poem from which Galbraith has taken his text, Vancouver writer Desirée Jung uses a mixture of Portuguese and English to describe a state of mind in which two worlds collide and, for a moment, coexist with one another, intermingled and inseparable. A subtle use of guitar accompaniment and close harmony lends further expression to the composition’s theme of merging realities.

03/23/2011 Breathe James Rolfe Listen Close

'Breathe' redefines many musical periods through its blending of ancient and modern texts, and through the performance of new music with historical instruments and techniques. Each part of the piece focuses on one of the four classical elements—air, fire, water, and earth—all of which are strongly present in the poems Rolfe has chosen for his text.

02/24/2011 HeX Andrew Staniland Listen Close

'Hex' explores a series of shifting accents, pulses, dynamics, and textures, ranging from explosive ensemble passages to extremely subtle whistled textures, from highly complex melodic sections to the use of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

01/25/2011 Lost and Found Dorothy Chang Listen Close

Lost and Found represents Chang’s embrace of a musical heritage that had hitherto exerted little influence on her compositions, and her exploration of how that heritage might intersect with her own musical voice. Each of the work’s five short movements takes its own approach to integrating the Chinese and Western traditions.