Now Hear This Festival

March 19 - March 22, 2020 Multiple Venues Tickets
Photo for Now Hear This Festival

Our ninth annual festival of new music, Now Hear This, is coming your way March 19 thru 22 at venues around the city. We’ve put together a really great collection of events covering a rich blend of artistic practices. Many artists will be giving their Edmonton début during the festival and there will be some returning favourites. In addition to the events listed below, we will be offering a number of outreach activities (more information to come soon!), as well as loads of chances to socialize and meet the artists. Now Hear This is the only festival of its kind in our city and once again we look forward to sharing some amazing performances with you. Keep an eye on this website, Facebook, and all the usual channels as the festival gets closer.

Meanwhile, mark March 19 – 22 off on your calendar as you won’t want to miss any of this! 

City Hall Atrium
The Now Hear This City Hall Players 
Will Northlich-Redmond, Temple of Electryone – free admission

Our ninth annual festival kicks off at City Hall, with the fourth annual presentation of The Now Hear This City Hall Players. This collection of some of Edmonton’s most amazing musicians is assembled each year to fill City Hall’s beautiful space with a kaleidoscopic pool of a sound. This year, we are pleased to present a new work, Temple of Electryone, by Will Northlich-Redmond, aka BlipVert. Featuring astonishing sounds made by mobile musicians, stunning electronics and a display of graphic scores, this promises to be an unforgettable opener for the festival.  

kihêw waciston Indigenous Centre
Grant MacEwan University
7:30 p.m.
Melody McKiver In Concert – free but seating is limited; first come, first served

New Music Edmonton is excited to present Melody McKiver in their début performance with us. Set in the inspiring and welcoming space of the new kihêw waciston (The Eagle’s Nest) at Grant MacEwan University, Melody McKiver’s solo show will highlight their extraordinarily wide-ranging explorations of viola and live electronics. A much sought after performer, McKiver’s diverse work has taken them to festivals and concert series far and wide, and we’re honoured to present them here with the generous partnership of kihêw waciston

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 
Sanctuary, 7:30 p.m.
Phth Vocal Ensemble
Sarah Albu, David Cronkite, Gabriel Dharmoo, Kathy Kennedy, 
Elizabeth Lima, Vahram Sarkissian and Andrea Young

Presenting a new ensemble is always a fantastic part of Now Hear This, and this will be a doozy! Montréal-based vocal collective, Phth, is a collective of 7 of the most accomplished and adventurous vocalists on the Canadian scene. Equally able to present complex classical works, gripping improvisations and all manner of songs and theatricalities, the group’s astonishing live work is gaining them a national reputation for unmissable performances. No matter what kind of singing your into, Phth is definitely going to deliver! 


          • Jennifer Walshe, A Folk Song Collection
          • Kathy Kennedy , Did I mention alliteration
          • Sandeep Bhagwati, Atish-e-Zaban: Bol-Ki-Sangit 
          • Gabriel Dharmoo, Vaai Irandu
          • Vahram Sarkissian, Myself On
          • Claude Vivier, Love Songs
          • Plus: improvisations by the ensemble

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 
Upper Hall, 9:30 p.m.
Live Mix I

Each year, Now Hear This makes a point of presenting local artists in programs curated from a call for proposals from artists interested in giving shorter performances alongside each other on programs that likely would not otherwise happen. The results are always a rich mixture of ideas and practices coming under the banner “new music” and we’re proud to have had dozens of Edmonton artists share the Now Hear This stage on these programs. This year, we will have two Live Mix shows.   

Mairi-Irene McCormack (mezzo-soprano), and pianist TBD
Cecilia Livingston, Give Me Your Hand
A versatile teacher and performer, Mairi-Irene McCormack is a Cape Breton native, now relocated in Edmonton with international experience performing both operatic and solo repertoire. Give Me Your Hand was composed in 2015 by award-winning Canadian composer, Cecilia Livingston. It is a take on Lady Macbeth’s famous sleep-walking scene: an imagined scene on a similar night. The plucking of the piano strings effectively turns the piano into a strange harp. 

Duo Vietto 
Viktoria Grynenko, violin
Thomas Mathieu, piano
Maxim Shalygin, Duo by Maxim Shalygin
Formed in 2018, Edmonton’s Duo Vietto has a particular interest in seeking out unusual repertoire for an instrumental combination that is among the most familiar in the Western canon. Keenly interested in new music, they have commissioned and premiered numerous works. Maxim Shalygin’s Duo is an incredible showcase of virtuosity, and will be heard for the first time in North America during Now Hear This.   

Jessica Wagner (soprano)
György Kurtág, József Attila Fragments 
Edmonton soprano Jessica Wagner is widely experienced in music of all periods and has performed as both a soloist and chorister. Her work has included performances of many world premieres. Hearing the works of György Kurtág is rarity in Edmonton, and we are excited to bring you this, Kurtag’s only solo voice piece, a setting of twenty poems by József Attila.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 
Upper Hall, 11:00 a.m.
Kids Hear This! – free admission

Kids Hear This will be a lively and fun opportunity to learn about musical instruments and the many avant-garde, noisy noises they can make! It will be like a musical instrument petting zoo with an avant-garde focus. This is a very kid-friendly event, so feel free to come and move around and make some noisy noises yourself!  Your hosts for Kids Hear This will be Ainsley Hilliard and her pup Jezebel!

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 
Sanctuary, 7:30 p.m.
Trio Chimera
Françoise Houle, clarinet, 
Norman  Adams, ‘cello
Tim Crofts, piano

Get ready for a phenomenal night of improvisation with three of the best! Featuring Tim Crofts and Norman Adams from Halifax, and Vancouver’s Françoise Houle, this amplified trio has performed many times since their first show together in 2018. Born of a unique Canadian improvisational practice, the trio projects a compelling northern perspective, but with powerfully infused influences from the contemporary classical world. The three musicians’ combined work and achievements as individuals are stunning, and Edmontonians are in for something special when they come to Edmonton as part of a short tour of The Prairies.   

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 
Sanctuary OR Upper Hall, 9:00 or 9:30 p.m.
Live Mix II

Chenoa Anderson (flutes), Jane Berry (voice), Shawn Pinchbeck (electronics), and Kate Stashko (movement)
Over the years, our Live Mix shows have resulted in some great new multidisciplinary collaboration. Buzzz! promises to be just that, as four Edmonton favourites come together with a multifaceted new work all about… BEES! Featuring ambisonic recordings of bees, flute, voice, dance, and live electronics, the performance will combine improvised and composed music in a gripping artistic dialogue.   

St. Crispin’s Improv (Don Ross, Clarinet and electronics, Cam Neufeld, violin and electronics)
Best known to local audiences for their work in The Gadjo Collective, Don Ross and Cam Neufeld have also performed free improvisation together and in numerous contexts for BEAMS and New Music Edmonton. Pangaea is a 10-20 minute free improvisation featuring a Boss VE20 triggered by clarinet and Ableton Live triggered by a violin. Anything can happen: ethereal ambience, noise…. Or perhaps even Parisian street music!

Matthew Cardinal
As part of the phenomenal, Juno-nominated trio, nêhiyawak, Matthew Cardinal’s work is widely known, but he is also a formidable and very in-demand soloist. Performing live and as the creator of film soundtracks, his work with synthesizers, samplers and analogue electronics offers an exhilarating sonic environment ranging from ecstatic ambient sounds to driving beats. We are very pleased to present this important music in Matthew Cardinal’s début performance with New Music Edmonton. 

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 
Sanctuary, 2:30 p.m. 
Roger Admiral In Recital

It’s impossible to talk about new music in Edmonton without talking about Roger Admiral. As a soloist, and as a member of such ensembles as The Hammerhead Consort and, more recently, UltraViolet, Roger Admiral has, for decades, connected local audiences with new works by composers from our region and from around the world. His concert appearances have taken him to international venues and residencies where he has given dozens of compositions their world premieres. This is Roger’s first solo recital for New Music Edmonton, and he has put together an incredible program of recent repertoire, much of it never-before heard in Canada. We’re excited for what we sure will be a great close to the ninth Now Hear This Festival and hope everyone will stick around after the show for celebratory refreshments and discussion! 


        • Franco Donatoni, Françoise Variationen
        • Heera Kim, PAR 1
        • Robert HP Platz, Kessel
        • Liza Lim, The Four Seasons (after Cy Twombly) 


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