Now Hear This

March 21-25, 2018

All information is subject to change without notice.

Welcome to Now Hear This 2018, New Music Edmonton’s 7th annual celebration of cutting edge practices in sound and music. Planning for this festival has been underway for well over a year, and we’ve assembled a fantastic roster of artists and music rarely, if ever, heard in Edmonton. The festival includes a superb roster of local artists and visitors, all of them certain to bring us amazing new musical experiences. We hope you’ll consider joining us for the entire weekend: consider buying a pass for the whole festival – it’s a great deal, and we’re confident that you’ll want to see everything in this wonderful lineup of events. *If the cost of admission is an issue, please email and we can work out a solution. 

Wednesday, March 21

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, (10037 84 Ave NW) 12:10 – 12:50 p.m.

Preview Event

Join us in the beautiful surrounds of Holy Trinity Anglican Church for this informal festival warm-up. A select group of festival artists will offer offer exclusive performances of music not included elsewhere in Now Hear This. We are delighted to partner with our friends at Holy Trinity in making Now Hear This part of their regular series of afternoon concerts. Watch for an update of exactly who will be on hand to perform. Admission is by donation.

Thursday, March 22

City Hall (1 Sir Winston Churchill Square), 12:00 p.m.

Earth Ears: A Sonic Ritual, by Pauline Oliveros with the Now Hear This City Hall Players

Spend your lunchtime with us at City Hall and be prepared for an astonishing, moving and deeply profound experience as a band of some 20 Edmonton musicians present Earth Ears, a work by musical pioneer and prophet Pauline Oliveros. The City Hall Players will each bring musical materials of their own invention and, under the leadership of Raylene Campbell and Allison Balcetis, will assemble a beautiful, meditative ritual. With the musicians spread throughout the City Hall atrium you can sit in the middle of the sound on the chairs provided, or take a stroll around to experience the result from different perspectives. Free admission.

Studio 96 (10909 96 St NW)

Tapestry – Don Berner Trio Featuring Nico Arnáez, electronics, 7:30 p.m.

Don Berner – Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute

Ryan Timoffee – Keyboards and Piano

Gord Graber – Drums, Cymbals and Percussion

With special guest Nicolás Arnáez – Live Processing, Bass and Found Objects

Don Berner, Ryan Timoffee and Gord Graber are familiar names in Edmonton music circles, and New Music Edmonton is proud to feature them on our opening night show. Moving way beyond the confines of a standard jazz performance, Tapestry, with guest artist, Nicolás Arnáez, promises a scintillating, possibly startling, combination of straight ahead and free form jazz, dance, electronic, electroacoustic and  chamber music.

Live Mix I, 9:30 p.m.

After the Don Berner show, stick around Studio 96 for the second show of the night when we present a unique double bill of performances beyond categorization. Mixing live music, electronics, theatre and text, Live Mix is our chance to shine the spotlight on remarkable innovators from Edmonton and beyond.   

Tab C.A. and Ocra: Moonbathers

Moonbathers is an interdisciplinary collaboration between poet Tab C.A. (2016 Edmonton Slam Team finalist and original member of The Edmonton Poetry Brothel)  and experimental musician Ocra (the solo project of Myles Bartel). The duo formed for the purpose of performing at the release party of Tab C.A.’s Moonbather chapbook. This will be their second live collaboration based on that material. Tab C.A.’s  poetry strives to create honest, heartfelt connections and bring their audience into shared catharsis, while the music of Ocra specializes in sounds of brooding and meditative drones, loops and excursions via prepared guitar, vocals, and more.

Gel Nails: Under the Sea

Under The Sea is a narrative about being invisible and in plain sight at the same time. The performance is built using cassette samples with elements of Musique Concrète and the influences of Michele Chion and Steve Reich. The cassette medium is truly central to this Gel Nails’ show, but not just with recorded sounds: tape warble and hiss are features of the work, not to mention the mechanical sounds of cassette decks opening and closing. There’s also going to be plenty of sonic contributions emanating from the sound of the  stop/ play/ pause/ rewind and eject buttons being called into action. Connecting it all: looping live electronics, slabs of guitar and vocals.

Tab C.A. and Ocra and Gel Nails are both appearing for the first time on a New Music Edmonton program. It’s a unique chance to experience these Alberta artists performing on the same bill, and a great close to the first day of Now Hear This.

Friday, March 23

Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Ave NW)

Windrose – Kagelian Ensemble with special guest Miguel Belllusci, 7:30 p.m. 

Chenoa Anderson, flutes

Don Ross, clarinets

Charles Stolte, narration

Mark Segger, percussion

Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp, keyboards

Haley Simons, keyboard

The Vaughan String Quartet:

Neda Yamach, violin

Mattia Berrini, violin

Fabiola Amorim, viola

Silvia Buttiglione, ‘cello

and Jeff Johnson, bass

Conducted by Miguel Bellusci

Conducted by Miguel Bellusci

The 2018 Now Hear This Festival is pleased to welcome renowned Argentinian conductor and composer Miguel Bellusci to Edmonton to lead some of our finest musicians in a brilliant evening of music by composers from his own country. This is a rare opportunity to hear works by Mauricio Kagel, a towering figure of the post-war era, in selections from his mammoth opus, Die Stücke der Windrose. In these complex, yet inviting and humorous works, Kagel re-interprets aspects of traditional Argentinian music such as tango and carnavalito through the lens of a new music chamber ensemble with and amazing percussion set-up that including anvils, electric fans and stones. The program also includes a mind-blowing, kaleidoscopic work for string quartet and octophonic, three-dimensional live electronics by Edmonton’s very own Nicolás Arnáez, performed by local favourites, The Vaughan Quartet.

To finish the show, we are thrilled to present the world premiere of a new work by Miguel Bellusci himself, a very Kagelian piece of musical theatre, in which a doctoral candidate in the future (played by none other than Charles Stolte) talks about the music of the 20th century, asking such questions as, “Why does the piano have keys, when everyone just plays the strings from the inside?”     


Mauricio Kagel – Die Stücke der Windrose: Norden

Mauricio Kagel – Die Stücke der Windrose: Osten

Nicolás Arnáez – Sobre Como Pintar en el Tiempo

Miguel Bellusci – “Doctoral Thesis Dissertation by Prof. Yack Pineda Machaca”

Listening Lounge I, 9:30 p.m.

We’ll be around after Windrose is over and you should be too! The Listening Lounge will be a free, relaxed gathering space for festival-goers to relax and enjoy the festival in a unique way. You can meet some of the festival artists, look at scores and other artifacts, and enjoy refreshments and discussion. We’ll also be setting up some places for attendees to listen to and share recordings, and to watch videos of music and sound art. This is kind of an experiment for us, but we’re looking forward to enjoying an hour or two spending time with you!  

Saturday, March 24

Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Ave NW)

Social Sounds, With Catherine Lee, Oboe and Electronics, 2:00 p.m.

On the first weekend of spring, especially, with the sun shining through stained glass, an afternoon recital in Holy Trinity’s exquisite sanctuary is an extraordinary experience. Now Hear This is delighted to welcome Edmonton-raised oboist Catherine Lee as she returns to our city for a performance certain to be part of the magic of the newly minted spring. Her compelling, beautifully curated program of Canadian works will bring to mind many aspects of the natural world – flowers, wind, colour, the movement of sand and rock sediment through water and the irresistibly hypnotic nocturnal songs of whales.  

Catherine Lee is a renowned oboist able to produce the full range of sounds from lyrically traditional to grittily experimental. She is also a highly regarded and sought-after improviser and has chosen this program specifically to explore the continuum between improvised and strictly notated music, often within the same composition. Combining oboe and oboe d’amore with a rich stream of expertly diffused electronic sounds, this recital will fill the phenomenal acoustic of Holy Trinity with magical and memorable music.    


Dorothy Chang – Still

Catherine Lee – a tiny dance

Jérôme BlaisRafales

Dana Reason – Chanson de fleurs: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Taylor Brook – Alluvium

Emily Doolittle – Social Sounds From Whales At Night

Listening Lounge II, 3:30 p.m.

Please see the note about our Listening Lounges for Friday, March 23!

Trio in Trinity – Swell/ Burrell/ Segger Trio, 7:30 p.m.

Dave Burrell, piano

Steve Swell, trombone

Mark Segger, drums and percussion

Collaborations between visiting and local artists have been an important stream of most Now Hear This Festivals. Continuing that tradition, join us and revel in the unique combination of New York’s Dave Burrell/ Steve Swell Duo with Edmonton percussionist Mark Segger. You won’t want to miss this explosive meeting of three great musicians in a show created especially for Now Hear This.

The Burrell/ Swell Duo first worked together in 2011 and have given performances of Dave Burrell’s Civil War Project music at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, at the Vision Festival in New York and in Houston presented by the Nameless Sound Foundation. For Now Hear This, the duo has invited Edmonton’s Mark Segger to join with them in what is certain to be a “masterclass” in infusing improvisation with a stunning array of sound and rhythm drawn from all corners of the jazz and new music worlds. The trio’s highly developed improvisational skills and phenomenal sensitivity to each other’s playing will be radically, readily apparent as they bring us an intense, absorbing evening of music rarely heard in our city.

Dave Burrell is a veteran of the bands of Archie Shepp and Marion Brown and has recorded a number of classic free jazz recordings under his own name. He is a true legend and connection to the early days of free jazz in the U.S.

Steve Swell has been making his mark in the free jazz and new music arena from many years in New York City and has shared the stage many times with Dave Burrell in duo format and in several of bassist/composer William Parker’s ensembles.

Mark Segger is much in-demand as one of the preeminent percussionists in this region. Equally at home in classical, pop, jazz and free improvisation, he is quickly becoming a leading percussionist in Edmonton and many other cities.

Live Mix II, 9:30 p.m.

After The Trio show we’ll have a short break – a chance to grab a snack or drink, or take a walk, but don’t go home! Our third show of the day is the second of our unique Live Mix double bills, once again bringing cutting edge, risk-taking performers into focus. This is going to be fantastic way to finish the day off as we pair…

Ryan M. Hemphill: Overfill Undergrowth

This is an orchestra of a different kind – a collection of a half dozen or so decommissioned propane tanks and some audio transducers. Feed them some pre-recorded voices, sine-wave oscillations and live amplified brass, let the transducers do their work (i.e. converting the sound into vibrations) and voila: an orchestra of resonating propane tanks! Since each tank is unique it will resonate in different way, resulting in the room being filled with gorgeous, bell-like sounds. Overfill Undergrowth can exist as both an installation and live performance, and Ryan Hemphill will offer some of both during this performance. With the gas tanks set up surrounding the audience, expect to be immersed in a rich, warm, constantly changing pool of ambient sound.

blablaTrains: blablaOdyssey_3

blablaTrains is a duo formed by Takuto Fukuda (DIY sensor instrument), and Ana Dall’Ara-Majek (extended Theremin). Respectively from Japan and France, they moved to Canada to study composition and to take the train. The duo develops new ways of narrativity and musical meaning by extending idiomatic gestures to theatrics.

The improvisation performance ‘blablaOdyssey_3’ is a theatrical exploration of two instruments that require a kind of choreography to generate sound. The duo uses electronic sounds generated by their instruments and recordings from different travels by train. Those sounds are processed in real-time with body movements and hands gestures. The performance illustrates a surrealistic odyssey in which they create links between our two instruments and the electroacoustic world.

As with our March 22 Live Mix I artists, Ryan M. Hemphill and blablaTrains are making their New Music Edmonton debut appearances on Live Mix II. We’re excited to be capping off this amazing and varied Saturday with these original, unforgettable performances.

Sunday, March 25

Workshop With blablaTrains

Strathcona Community League (10139 87 Ave NW), 11:30 AM – 1:00 p.m.

In this workshop, blablaTrains will talk about the way they conceived Human-Computer Interaction with their respective gestural interfaces. Participants will have the opportunity to try Takuto’s gyro-based sensor instrument and Ana’s augmented Theremin in order to experience the cause-effect relationship between gestures and sound. After the talk, audience members will be solicited for a demonstration of Human-Computer Interaction by taking part in an audiovisual game-piece that was specifically designed for the improvisors. Audience members that want to volunteer for the game are encouraged to bring their own musical instruments!  

Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way)

Rise Up Singing – UltraViolet Ensemble, 2:00 p.m.


Roger Admiral, piano

Chenoa Anderson, flutes

Allison Balcetis, saxophones

Amy Nicholson, ‘cello

Closing our festival this year: Edmonton’s amazing new music group, UltraViolet. This quartet gave an awe-inspiring debut performance of new, multi-media works during our 2017 festival, and we have every reason to believe they will outdo themselves as the closing act of Now Hear This 2018.  

Amy, Allison, Chenoa and Roger, as individuals and as co-members of various ensembles, have a phenomenal collective experience in bringing new works to Edmonton audiences. There’s really nothing they can’t play, and even the most demanding and unconventional musical scores become magnificent musical experiences in their hands. The program for this year’s Now Hear This closer has been curated by UltraViolet, and promises to bring the festival to a memorable close while also inaugurating Edmonton’s legendary Yardbird Suite as one of New Music Edmonton’s venues.   


Alice Ho – Cothemus

Erin Rogers – Rise Up, Singing

Bernhard Lang – Differenz / Wiederholung 1.2

Doug Hoyer – Theme for the Largest Organism on Earth

Emily Casavant – Fuse

After-party, 3:30 p.m.

Well – the UltraViolet concert isn’t actually the end of the festival – this is! The wonderful atmosphere of Yardbird Suite provides us with an excellent place to unwind at the end of the Now Hear This weekend. So, we cordially invite you to stay for a while after the last notes are played by UltraViolet. Refreshments will be plentiful and it will be a great chance to talk to artists and friends old and new.