Cultures And Traditions Come Together In Esprit Orchestra’s Taiko Live!

Esprit Orchestra with Nagata Shachu (Photo courtesy of Esprit Orchestra)

Diverse traditions and cultures are combined in Esprit Orchestra’s next concert, titled Taiko Live! Featuring Nagata Shachu and cellist Cameron Crozman. The concert is presented as part of the 21C Music Festival in Koerner Hall on January 25, 2023.

Programming for the concert by Music Director Alex Pauk is imaginative, to say the least.

The program

Colin McPhee (Canada) | Tabuh-tabuhan (1936) for two pianos and orchestra. Wesley Shen, piano; Stephanie Chua, piano

Colin McPhee has been a favourite composer of Esprit Orchestra for decades. The orchestra recorded Tabuh-tabuhan and many of the composer’s other works in a series of recordings made in the 1990s. In Tabuh-tabuhan, which has been performed around the world, McPhee draws on years he spent researching the music of Bali, the first Western composer to do so. The piece uses the concept of the Balinese gamelan, constructing the sound of its gongs and chimes with two pianos, a celeste and marimba, xylophone and glockenspiel. The piece consists of three movements with shifting metre, and is strongly percussive in nature.

James O’Callaghan (Canada) Overbound (2022) | World Premiere & Esprit Commission, concerto for amplified cello, octophonic electronics & orchestra. Cameron Crozman, cello; James O’Callaghan, electronics

Esprit Orchestra commissioned Berlin-based Canadian composer and sound artist James O’Callaghan to create Overbound. It blends the acoustic orchestra with electronics in a dynamic mode. A solo cello with amplification and octophonic (surround-sound) electronics interact with the orchestra. Suspended microphones near the cello soloist pick up the sound, allow for live electronic manipulation that is played back to the audience via eight speakers. The work was composed for Canadian rising star cellist Cameron Crozman, who will perform it in his debut with Esprit.

From 2018:

Maki Ishii (Japan) Mono-prism (1976) | for Taiko drummers and orchestra. Nagata Shachu, Taiko drums

East meets West through this popular piece by Japanese composer Maki Ishii, performed with Toronto’s own Taiko ensemble Nagata Shachu. The ensemble is making a return to Esprit’s stage since 2018. The “monochronmatic” part of the composition is represented by the traditional Japanese drumming, set against the “prismatic” sounds of a Western orchestra. The piece is inspired by the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

There will be a pre-show talk hosted by composer Alexina Louie, starting at 7:15 p.m. Tickets to the show on Wednesday, January 25th, can be purchased here.

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