Ualberta presents What Boundaries: nOwage pneUmas

At the top of the New Year comes new music to the University of Alberta, with our faculty composers set to animate a wide range of experimental works at What Boundaries: nOwAge pneUmas.

The first mainstage concert of 2015 hits the Timms Centre for the Arts’ stage January 10th, 2014 with an homage to The NOWAge Orchestra, an eclectic creative force dedicated to the theatre of new music in Edmonton from 1992 to 2000.

The program features DectychNeo Alea Fragments and The Quiet, Brief, yet Well-Structured Story, two selections of original NOWAge repertoire composed by Howard Bashaw and rejuvenated with two original NOWAge members, Russell Whitehead (trumpet) and Ken Read (trombone), reappearing in the ensemble, with Allison Balcetis (saxophones), Roger Admiral (piano), and Court Laslop (percussion).

Andryi Talpash

Andryi Talpash

“That’s the ‘pneumas’ part of our concert subtitle – we are breathing a little bit of life back into an orchestra that was important to new music in Edmonton about 20 years ago,” explains concert conductor Andriy Talpash. “Howard’s music is often of two worlds: extremely busy and frenetic or sparse in how he plays with the colours and textures of the ensemble. The Quiet, Brief, yet Well-Structured Story is quiet and sparse in how it plays with the chords on the piano. It is quite slow and deliberate in its movement. Boogie Demon – Let’s go is a solo piece to end the concert with. It is an extremely lively frenetic piece. It is a fun, monster piece played by Roger Admiral, a monster in his own right.”


Scott Smallwood

“One of the big things NOWAge did, and won numerous awards for, was their collaborative efforts with local dancers, video and multimedia artists. Their events were not just your typical acoustic music show with an audience that sits and listens. We’ll be amplifying all the musicians and with it being a theatre space at the Timms Centre for the Arts, we have all the necessary items in place for a multidisciplinary concert of this nature, from the lighting to the backdrops for video projection.”

In the same adventurous multidisciplinary spirit of the NOWAge Orchestra, What Boundaries: nOwAge pneUmas’ roster of performers includes local dance group Jen Mesch Dance Conspiracy as special guests. Toronto-based percussionist David Shotzko will perform Surface Tension, a piece he commissioned UAlberta sound artist and composer Scott Smallwood to create for him.

The setup for Surface Tension includes a horizontally laid bass-drum with different objects like pitched bells on top of the drum’s skin. “It creates one of the coolest sounds when you have duplicate sound made on top of a large resonating bass-drum skin,” he says.

Talpash’s new work The Lava Philosophy is a hippie twist on the lava lamp. “I was watching those blobs move up and down, staring at them, zoning out and I organized my piece in the same manner,” he explains. “With blobs of material moving from one idea to the next. It’s a sonic representation of something very visual.”

markhannesson-headshotMark Hannesson’s new work for solo piano, memory sustained, makes its debut alongside another new work by Scott Smallwood called Lumbering Ice, inspired by a series of field recordings he made in Hamar, Norway in February of 2014.

“This small charming town, about 100 km north of Oslo, is on the edge of Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake, and one of the deepest in all of Europe. Although it was winter and snowy, it had warmed up enough for a partial thaw of the lake, and this created a fantastic soundscape near the docks as large chunks of broken ice on the lake bumped up against each other and pummelled the wooden docks in the restless current,” says Smallwood.
Lumbering Ice requires a unique set of objects as instruments, including a big oil barrel as a drum, two long strips of heavy foil and bubble wrap.

What Boundaries: nOwAge pneUmas

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, January 10, 2015

Where: Timms Centre for the Arts

Tickets: $10 student, $20 adult, $15 senior available at the door or in advance from YEG live

Show time details: 

– Pre-concert talk with the composers 7:15 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. in lobby

– Run Time: Approximately 60 minutes of music. No intermission.

 Featuring Department of Music faculty composers:

Drs. Howard Bashaw, Mark Hannesson, Scott Smallwood, Andriy Talpash


Performances by:

Allison Balcetis, saxophones

Russell Whitehead, trumpet

Ken Read, bass trombone

Roger Admiral, piano

Court Laslop, percussion

Andriy Talpash, conductor


Special guests:

David Schotzko, percussion

Jen Mesch Dance Conspiracy: Alison Kause, Jen Mesch, Jeannie Vandekerkhove



Dectych – Neo Alea Fragments(from New Rage for Now Age, 1997) for ensemble and dancers  — 3:30

Howard Bashaw

memory sustained (2014) for solo piano – 15-20:00

Mark Hannesson

Skitter (from Music for Trombone and Piano, 1998) with dancers and improv percussion –2:45

Howard Bashaw

Screens (from Music for Alto Saxophone and Piano, 2006, revised 2010) with dancers – 4:10

Howard Bashaw

Lumbering Ice (2014) for ensemble, electronics – 10:00

Scott Smallwood

The Lava Philosophy (2014) for ensemble – 8:00

Andriy Talpash

The Quiet, Brief, yet Well-Structured Story (from New Rage for Now Age, 1997) for ensemble and dancers – 3:45

Howard Bashaw

Hard Elastic (from Music for Trumpet and Piano, 2007) 2:10

Howard Bashaw

Surface Tension (2014) for solo percussion and dancers – 11:00

Scott Smallwood

Boogie Demon – Let’s go (from Preludes, Book 1, 1997, revised 2010) with dancers – 3:18

Howard Bashaw

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