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Winners of 2021 ACWC Initiative Fund – Véronique Girard, Emily Hiemstra, Thais Montanari

Véronique Girard, Emily Hiemstra and Thais Montanari are the three co-winners of the 2021 ACWC Initiatives Fund celebrating the ACWC 40th Anniversary and relating to music-making during COVID-19.

Véronique Girard‘s project, “Mentorat – Université de Montréal” is a mentorship project for students of Université de Montréal initiated by the Cercle de Composition (CeCo) de l’Université de Montréal (UdeM) in partnership with the Association of Canadian Women Composers (ACWC).  This project offers a unique chance to both men, women and gender nonconforming students from UdeM to work directly with one of three composer-mentors from the ACWC: Cecilia Livingston, Lieke van der Voort and Sophie Dupuis. Participants will benefit from the support of their mentor as they will initiate and develop a new musical composition or a sound art project. This project will benefit both the mentors and the mentees by connecting established ACWC composers with students from Montreal. This will give visibility to the ACWC in Quebec while offering a chance for the community of UdeM to learn more about the organization.  The ACWC will reach a wider audience to promote the work of women composers.

Véronique Girard is a visual and sound artist, an educator and vocalist whose work has been showcased at film festivals and concerts in Quebec and internationally.  She uses a corporeal approach to create animated images and sound environments in which technology becomes a support for the affirmation of human vulnerability. Guided by movement, she seeks to reveal the authenticity of the body and of the voice in a way that is both enchanting and advocative. She is interested in the imperceptible, kinaesthesia, contemplation and intimacy.  She is completing the digital music program at the Université de Montréal.  See more here.

Emily Hiemstra‘s “Solo Viola Commissioning Project 2021” involves a call for scores from ACWC composers for solo viola pieces which Hiemstra will perform and video-record for presentation on the ACWC website.  This project will support the music of ACWC members, and also allow for wider ACWC promotion.

Emily Hiemstra is a composer and violist whose music has performed throughout the USA and Canada, and heard on CBC Radio. As violist, she has performed at festivals around the world including Banff Centre for the Arts, and the North American Viola Institute. Her orchestral and operatic background as a performer has deepened her understanding of colour and texture which she readily applies in her compositions to create clear and innovative works.  See more here.

Thais Montanari‘s project “Moi_Espace Public” consists of a series of videos created by people who identify as women and wish to share their personal experience of how they express themselves and behave in different public spaces, including virtual ones.  It brings together  collaborative work between the Montreal-based composer Thais Montanari, and Brazilian composers Nathália Fragoso and Sara Lana whose work as artists is affected by the pandemic reality and the lack of assistance for the artistic class in Brazil. The videos will have images and sounds inspired by the statements of those composers.  The project hopes to capture the vision of women in arts within the pandemic context, encouraging them to express themselves creatively and with courage.

Thais Montanari creates interdisciplinary and collaborative projects, often including political and social ideas. Her work mixes instrumental and everyday sounds, as well as music and image.  She is completing her doctorate in Composition and Sound-Art at l’Université de Montréal.  She also works with free improvisation.  See more here.

ACWC 40th Anniversary

Happy 40th Anniversary, ACWC!

Upcoming Online Events

Watch here for upcoming live events.

Watch last month’s ACWC Zoom Panel on ACWC History below:

Upcoming Concerts

East Coast Concert

In celebration of the ACWC/AFCC’s 40th anniversary, there was a live-streamed concert from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 8th, 2021, at 1pm, AST.  It broadcasted from The Music Room and featured Jennifer King, performing piano works by, Monica Pearce, Holly Winter, Alice Ping Yee Ho, Amy Brandon, and Emily Doolittle.

Watch below!

SHHH!! Ensemble Celebrates the ACWC/AFCC

NightCAPS w/ SHHH!! Ensemble is a monthly video series of new Canadian music for piano/percussion duo.

Each episode begins with a composer/performer interview moderated by CMC Ontario Region Director Matthew Fava and ends with a never-before-seen performance by SHHH!! Ensemble.

NightCAPS w/ SHHH!! Ensemble is your late-night new music fix and the best way to cap off the last Saturday of each month at 9:00pm EST.

An ACWC Anniversary special event concert will be happening on April 24, 2021 at 9PM Eastern time. The concert will be available to watch on the ensemble’s website, as well as their YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

ACWC/AFCC live-streamed concert from Toronto

Here is another of our 40th anniversary events on line concert events.  In partnership with Canadian Music Centre Ontario division we will be presenting a concert of music by current and new ACWC/AFCC members: Catherine Bevan, Rebekah Cummings, Sophie Dupuis, Monique Jean, Heather Hindman, Naomi McCarroll-Butler, Roxanne Nesbitt, and Cleo Palacio-Quintin, performed by Amanda Lowry (flute), Naomi McCarroll-Butler (bass clarinet), Marketa Ornova (piano), and Yang Chen (percussion). Watch for it in late May!

ACWC Playlists

We’re celebrating music from ACWC members all year long!

You can find all the ACWC Anniversary Playlists here

 

ACWC Initiatives 40th Anniversary Fund 2021-Covid-related

ACWC Initiatives Fund, Deadline – March 15, 2021, is available to all ACWC members.  This special 40th Anniversary ACWC Initiatives Fund will celebrate the 40th anniversary and/or relate to music-making during COVID-19.  Opportunities include:

  • creating new compositions to be played and recorded within Covid-era realities
  • creative compositional networking
  • create 40th Anniversary projects including video interviews
  • documentaries on ACWC history and/or music of  BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), racialized, or minoritized women’s musical work in Canada.

To apply, download this form and after completing it, email to: caweaver@uwaterloo.ca

ACWC History

Watch the ACWC History Panel from February 2021 below!

Stories from ACWC Members– Interview with Sylvia Rickard by Patricia Morehead can be found here!

Do You Know?

Some of the earliest known music written by women in Canada, comes from the Ursuline and Augustinian nuns of Quebec, between the years 1639 and 1760.  Singing was an integral part of their worship, as well as their instruction of young women, and the music, while anonymous, is believed to have been written by the nuns themselves.  One, a mother superior, Marie-André Regnard Duplessis de Saint-Hélène, wrote a treatise on music performance and theory.  Marie-Andre was born in Paris in 1687 and died in Quebec in 1760.  Her parents emigrated to New France when she was young, though she remained in France until she was 15.  She joined the Nuns Hospitallers of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec when she was 20 and rose to become mother superior, seeing the convent through many difficulties such as fires, and even the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Please Donate

If you would like to help support celebrations for the ACWC/AFCC 40th Anniversary, including special concerts, workshops, projects, publicity and online initiatives, please donate by clicking on the Donation button below. Your support would be very helpful! Any donation of $25 or more will receive a tax receipt. Thank you!



Stay Tuned/Stay Informed!

Keep up with all the ACWC Anniversary related events here!

Brenda Margaret Muller, Winner of 2020 ACWC Initiatives Fund

Brenda Muller

Brenda Margaret Muller has been chosen as the winner of the 2020 ACWC Initiatives Fund for new creative work projects or compositions. Muller’s project relates to her Riversongs Festival of community-based music, through which she will, in turn, sponsor an award to an ACWC member for a new composition for the Riversongs Festival. The new work will be scored for community orchestra and/or community orchestra and choir. Muller is founder and Artistic Director of the Riversongs Festival, which occurs in Parry Sound, Ontario. The festival, involving Whispering River Orchestra and Community Choir, is tentatively scheduled for August/September, 2020, but will be further rescheduled if required, due to coronavirus.

Muller’s project relates to her Riversongs Festival of community-based music, through which she will, in turn, sponsor an award (named ACWC COMPOSITION AWARD) to an ACWC member for a new composition for the Riversongs Festival. The new work will be scored for community orchestra and/or community orchestra and choir. 

Muller is founder and Artistic Director of The Riversongs Festival which occurs in Parry Sound, Ontario. The festival, involving Whispering River Orchestra and Community Choir, is tentatively scheduled for August/September, 2020, with full regard to the coronavirus situation at that time. If need be, it will be rescheduled accordingly. This annual event celebrates authentic Canadian and Parry Sound creative community through music, poetry and art. The small string orchestra
produces five to six concerts annually, typically with two in June that bookend this unique week of workshops in composition, string playing, art, poetry, speaking
Anishinabek, musical yoga coffee houses, banner painting and a
musical Canoe and Sail Regatta. The music from the ACWC will be used to
sponsor one of four Riversongs awards for compositions for community
orchestra and/or community orchestra and choir. However, ACWC is only sponsoring Riversong’s ACWC-focused award, which will be granted to another ACWC member.

Although the event is traditionally held during Summer Solstice, the upcoming festival is tentatively rescheduled for late August into September, around the fall equinox, dependent on the coronavirus situation at that time.

About Brenda Margaret Muller:

From her roots as a classically trained cellist, Brenda Margaret Muller has
gone on to create conceptual events that weave together poetry, music and
song. Working as a Musician, Poet, and Song-writer, as well as Artistic
Director for the past 32 years, Muller has created inter-arts events across
the province, founded and directed the Ardeleana Chamber Music Society, and released 6 recordings with her trio, Ardeleana, including a
CD of original cabaret songs, Wolf At My Door, and the first CD to feature
only music by Canadian women – Spinners of Starlight (1997). She is the creator of two story operas – Melissa’s Song and Jonathon’s Storm, both of which have
toured across the province to the critical acclaim of enthusiastic young
people. Muller has commissioned and premiered over 150 works of music by
Canadian composers. She holds an Honours degree in Music Performance from
the University of Western Ontario, a Mus. Ed and Honours Specialist in Music
from O.I.S.E. University of Toronto. She is currently the founder and
director of the Whispering River Orchestra, and Riversongs Festival, a 10
day Community Celebration of Music, Poetry and Art in Parry Sound, Ontario.

Information on previous 2019 Initiatives Fund winner, Stephanie Orlando here.

Laura Hawley & Maren Lisac, recipients of 2019 Roberta Stephen Composition Award

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Canadian composers Laura Hawley (left) from Edmonton and Maren Lisac (right) from Montreal are recipients of the 2019 Roberta Stephen Composition award.

Laura Hawley is a composer, choral conductor and pianist. She holds an M. A. in music theory from the University of Ottawa, and has also studied composition at the Banff Centre. Hawley was the founding artistic director of the Hypatia’s Voice Women’s Choir, and winner of the National Council of Canadian Muslims Community Builder award for her work, “Live, Love, Share.” She is regularly commissioned by some of Canada’s most distinguished choirs, including the Elektra Women’s Choir, the Canadian Chamber Choir, and the Avanti Chamber Singers. Now residing in Edmonton, Hawley will use her award to further her development as a composer through private studies with Dr. Allan Bell, focusing on instrumentation. She hopes to explore innovative ways of combining instrumental and choral ensembles, and to write chamber and orchestral works.

Maren Lisac is a composer who lives in Montreal. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts, her works have been performed by the Dissonant Disco Collective and the Saxophilia Quartet. She plans to use the award for Bad Mirrors, a collaborative work for JUNO Award-winning guitarist Gordon Grdina and live electronics which will be premièred at the 21st-Century Guitar Conference in Ottawa this August. Bad Mirrors will feature the guitar tuned in an approximation of the Indonesian pelog scale, a scale related to the order of the universe, with distorted reflections of the guitar sounds manipulated by Lisac in real time through playback software. The work will thus be a sonic commentary on how distorted views of reality give rise to extreme ideologies.

The Roberta Stephen Award offers support to a Canadian woman composer aged 36 or older for professional development such as further studies, conferences, or workshops, or composers’ festivals. Established by Calgary composer and publisher Roberta Stephen, the award is administered by the Association of Canadian Women Composers.

Mary-Catherine Pazzano, New ACWC Web Manager

Mary-Catherine Pazzano, ACWC Web Manager Photo: Brian Lockyer

Mary-Catherine Pazzano has been chosen as the new web manager of ACWC, effective March 1, 2019.

Mary-Catherine Pazzano is a vocalist and music educator based in Kitchener, Ontario. At home in both classical and jazz worlds, Mary-Catherine’s performance highlights include: Birdland (NYC), various venues in Harlem, the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, The Rex (Toronto), and Jazz Bistro (Toronto). She has also toured New Zealand, and has been a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Mary-Catherine has been lucky to share the stage with jazz notables such as Billy Stritch, as well as the world-class chamber ensemble Penderecki String Quartet. Mary-Catherine holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Music and Drama from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education from University of Toronto/OISE.

Find out more about Mary-Catherine at: marycatherinepazzano.com.

Stephanie Orlando, 2019 Winner of the ACWC Initiatives Fund

Stephanie Orlando, ACWC SoundBox Manager

Stephanie Orlando has been chosen as the first winner of the new ACWC Initiatives Fund Award, which supports members who are composing/producing new creative work projects. Orlando’s project is titled ‘wave’ is composed for flute, percussion, and electronics. It explores negative thought patterns with an influence of new wave music. The funds will be used for equipment rental and travel to the premiere in New York City in June.

Stephanie Orlando (b.1993) is an emerging composer and pianist based in Toronto. Her music has been performed worldwide by such performers and ensembles as the junction Keyboard Collective, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Penderecki String Quartet, Arcady Singers, The Rosewood Consort, Jeff Stonehouse, and Olivia Shortt. With experience writing for a variety of styles and instrumentation, her catalogue contains works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, and electronics. Stephanie has composed music for a variety of mediums including opera, theatre, dance, and film. Her music is filled with traditional, contemporary and pop culture influences. Stephanie holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is currently pursuing her DMA at the University of Toronto.

Recent Events

Émergences – Two Concerts– Friday, August 2, 2019, 8:00 pm at Canadian Music Centre (Toronto), and Monday, August 5, 8:00 pm at Galerie d’art Le Livart, Montreal, Quebec, presenting five new commissioned works for a flute-guitar duet (Sara Constant flutist, An-Laurence Higgins guitarist) by five new ACWC composers from Montreal and Toronto, Véronique Girard, Gabrielle Harnois-Blouin, Shelley Marwood, Thais Montanari, and Lieke van der Voort.   See members above, watch for further details, and read more about the concert here.

The ACWC Art Song Concert – in honour of Rebekah Cummings (1980 – 2019) – occurred on Saturday, May 18, 8:00 pm at Conrad Grebel Chapel/University of Waterloo, Ontario. Clarisse Tonigussi, soprano & Narmina Efendiyeva, piano, performed music of 9 ACWC composers: Rebekah Cummings (The Way I Dream), Jana Skarecky (Green and Gold), Carol Ann Weaver (Timbrel in her Hand), Edith Covach (Cultivo una Rosa Blanca and Hoy lo Llamo Mi Pago), Christie Morrison – also singing – (Tooth or Consequences), Nephenee Rose (I Break with the Quiet), Karen Sunabacka (Shhh), Julia Jacklein (Three Summer Songs) & Fiona Evison (Evening Prayer).

Leila photo - Mar 05

Soundtrack: The Music of Leila Lustig – Augmented Trio Promotions presents a 75th birthday celebration of the music of Canadian (and Victoria!) composer Leila Lustig.  ACWC composer Diane Berry is also featured on this concert.  Leila Lustig’s life’s work is writing expressive and poignant music for the human voice, often in atypical combinations with other instruments, and frequently on her own texts. This concert will feature  Marnie Setka-Mooney, soprano; Diane Berry, flute; Erik Abbink, saxophone; Nathan Friedman, clarinet; and Kathryn LeGros, piano.  More information here. Tickets are $15 on-line, or at the door
Monday, Apr 29, 7:30 pm, St. Matthias Church,  600 Richmond St., Victoria, B.C.

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diane berry
Pierre Simard, music director, Diane Berry, ACWC secretary, Paolo Bertolussi, principal flute (photo – Dirk Heydemann of HA Photography)

ACWC and Vancouver Island Symphony Gender Equality Initiative – On Saturday, January 19, 2019, at their concert in Nanaimo, British Columbia, the Vancouver Island Symphony announced a commitment to gender equity in their programming of new music. The ACWC’s secretary, Diane Berry was on hand to help them with their announcement. It read, as follows:

“Tonight, the Vancouver Island Symphony is formalizing its commitment to equity in the compositional world. In recent years, we have established ourselves as leader in commissioning and promoting new works by Canadian composers. Tonight, we take this dedication to creation and build on it with a commitment to gender equity across all of our new music endeavors, in programming and commissioning new music. From this point on, we are pledging all future commissions will respect and abide by this principle of gender equity”

This is an exciting pledge for an orchestra to take. Diane congratulated them on being leaders in this, and hopes others will follow. The announcement was warmly and enthusiastically received by the audience.

caution tape

Spark to Stone– presented by Caution Tape Sound Collective and the ACWC Saturday, March 24 2018, 8:00 pm Array Space, 155 Walnut Ave, Toronto, ON. Featuring music by 7 ACWC composers:

  • Amy Brandon – new work (flute, cello, piano, electronics)
  • Hope Lee – …I, Laika… (flute, cello, piano)
  • Julia Mermelstein – wonted (acousmatic)
  • Sarah Reid – new work (cello, piano, amplifed objects)
  • Ivana Jokic – new work (violin, cello, flute, piano, percussion)
  • Lesley Hinger – from within (violin solo)
  • Bekah Simms – new work (10tet Toronto Emerging Composer Award piece)

Missed the concert? Check out the YouTube playlist here.

ACWC Toronto concert Oct27'17,v3-1

The Climate Change & Endangered Species Concert / Concert de l’AFCC : Changement climatique et espèces en danger – Featured the music of 12 ACWC composers. Friday, October 27, 2017, Heliconian Club, Toronto, ON.

ACWC Piano Collective Concert— Premiere event featuring music by ACWC Piano Collective members occurred Sunday May 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM at Conrad Grebel Chapel, University of Waterloo, Ontario. Pieces were composed for and performed by student pianists, many of them students of ACWC members.  Music featured was by Joanne Bender, Sarah J. Coles, Edith Covach, Emily Doolittle,  Hanna Kim, Kye Marshall, Colleen Muriel, Paulette Popp, Jana Skarecky, and Carol Ann Weaver.

A Spirit Indominable- The ACWC presented a concert of the music of Canadian women, April 7th, 2017, First Church of Christ Scientist, Victoria, BC, celebrating the anniversary of the passing of the bill granting B.C. women the right to vote. It featured the Emily Carr String Quartet, the women’s choir Ensemble Laude and introduces soprano Elizabeth Gerow, with works by Dorothy Chang, Jocelyn Morlock, Sylvia Rickard, Carol Ann Weaver, Kim Baryluk, Georgina Craig, Eleanor Daley, Sarah Quartel, and the music of an anonymous Ursuline nun.