Arraymusic | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Arraymusic (ARRAY until 1982) was founded in 1972 by the composers Robert Bauer, John Fodi, Clifford Ford, Gary Hayes, Marjan Mozetich, and Alex Pauk (all University of Toronto graduates), to present new works by young Canadian composers. A typical season features up to five concerts in Toronto, tours, radio broadcasts, the annual Young Composers' Workshop, and the operation of a permanent rehearsal studio and offices. Arraymusic also features public Studio Events that include a composers' lecture series and informal concerts.

Early Years

For the first several years of its existence, the performing ensemble fluctuated depending on the requirements of the repertoire. The first concert, 20 April 1972, comprised compositions by the founders. Other concerts followed: three each year 1972–75 and four each year in 1976 and 1977 in Toronto, and one 4 March 1973 in Montreal. Several were broadcast by the CBC.

In 1976, concerts were given under Array's auspices by the Festival Singers and the York Winds. Changes in membership brought changes in aim: by 1977, Array's program had widened to admit all contemporary music, and performance by the organization's own ensemble replaced that by other performers. In 1973, the violist Michael Parker and the soprano Billie Bridgman became the first performer-members, forerunners of an Array ensemble established in 1976: Allen Beard (percussion), Robert Bick (flute), Henry Kucharzyk (piano), Douglas Perry (viola), Paul Pulford (cello), and Cameron Walter (trombone). (Bick, Perry, and Pulford also were members of the Galliard Ensemble.)

Of the founders, Bauer, Ford, Hayes and Pauk had left Array by 1975. Robert Daigneault was a member 1975–76 and Elma Miller in 1977. With the departure of Mozetich in 1977 and of Fodi in 1978, the organization became primarily a performing ensemble under artistic director Douglas Perry 1978-83.

In 1987 the ensemble mounted a program entitled Modern Electrics that gave further evidence of the group's expanding range. Responding to composers' growing interest, the show was entirely electronic, employing technology normally found in rock music. With this program, Array moved away from concert halls to present a program at Toronto's Rivoli club, a venue usually used by rock musicians. The program, described by Robert Everett-Green as "a natural result of Array's continuing flirtation with the loopier end of the pop music spectrum" (Globe and Mail, 27 Apr 1987), put the ensemble in contact with a new audience of pop music enthusiasts. It was so successful that in 1989, it took the program on its first tour of western Canada, performing in Victoria, Vancouver, Banff, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

Tours and Performances

Touring became an important part of Array’s schedule under artistic director Linda Catlin Smith (1988–93). After a visit to Greece in 1989, the ensemble made a tour of Great Britain that included performances at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in England, the Belfast Festival, along with performances in Brighton and Glasgow.

Arraymusic has performed at numerous international festivals: New Music America in Montreal (1991), the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo (1992), Festival Musiques en Scène in Lyon (1994), the Festival International de Musiques Actuelles à Victoriaville (1992), and Debut Atlantic in Halifax (1997). The ensemble made a second European tour in 1996 of Vienna, Mannheim, and Edinburgh. Since 2000, Arraymusic has worked at forging ties with the Consulate General of the Netherlands. These efforts culminated in a festival and an international tour in 2006–07.

Young Composers' Workshop

In addition to performing new music, in 1986 Arraymusic instituted a Young Composers' Workshop, held over a four-week period in Toronto. It became an important part of the group's work in encouraging new composition.

Notable Collaborations

In the 1980s, it began to produce multimedia events involving interdisciplinary collaborations of music, dance, theatre, and the visual arts such as Personal History by Henry Kucharzyk (1985), Fast Forward and Big Pictures by Michael J. Baker (1987), and Nostalgia by Robert W. Stevenson (2000).

In 1999, Arraymusic and Studio Grame of France co-produced Chemin de Ronde - a music/dance collaboration between composers of Toronto and Lyon (Michael J. Baker, Jean François Estager, James Giroudon, Pierre Alain Jaffrennon, Henry Kucharzyk, and Linda Catlin Smith) and the dance group The Company (choreographer Serge Bennathan). Other arts organizations that have collaborated with Arraymusic have included: the Toronto Dance Theatre, Peggy Baker Solo Dance, Dancemakers, Autumn Leaf Performance, New Music Concerts, and Soundstreams. In 2003, Array organized its first live Web-cast performance at the Glenn Gould Studio.

Premiers and Commissions

Arraymusic has premiered more than 300 works by Canadian composers and numerous works by lesser-known, international composers. Commissioned works have included compositions by Bauer (Viola Concerto), Christopher Butterfield, Tomas Dusatko (Nomas II), Fodi (Iz ist in der Werlt), Ford (Alliances for Winds), Peter Hannan (Ground & Stampit), Christos Hatzis, Kucharzyk (Us and Them), Alexina Louie (Cadenzas), Mozetich (In the Air), Parker (Cholê), Rodney Sharman (Dark Glasses), Southam (Networks), and Claude Vivier ('et je reverrai cette ville étrange'). Works have also been commissioned from foreign composers such as Christopher Fox (UK) and Christian Wolff (USA). Composers who have written works expressly for Arraymusic include: Udo Kasemets, Rudolf Komorous, James Tenney, Gerald Barry, Jo Kondo, Terry Riley, Kevin Volans, Christian Wolff, and Walter Zimmerman.

Other Activities

Today, the Arraymusic ensemble is set to the highly individual grouping of clarinet, trumpet, percussion, piano, violin, and double bass. As part of its 2002–03 season, artistic director Allison Cameron created Scratch! — a multi-day music event devoted to exploring experimental approaches to composition and performance.

Four issues of an ARRAY Newsletter were published between 1972 and 1974. In addition, Arraymusic has released five compact discs under its own name: Strange City/Ville Étrange (1988), Chroma (1991), New World (1993), Music from Big Pictures (1998), 25 Miniatures (2001).

Further Reading