Now Hear This

March 22-25, 2018

2018 marks the 7th annual festival hosted by New Music Edmonton. Now Hear This may be the most unique music festival to take place in Edmonton. Showcasing truly underground contemporary practices in sound and sound-related arts, including classical composition, electronic music, improvisation, and cross-disciplinary performance, Now Hear This is this city’s annual celebration of cutting edge new music. The 2018 festival will include all the usual features for which we’ve become known and will include a fantastic gathering of artists. With a compelling mix of local performers and guests from as far away as Argentina, styles ranging from noise to string quartets to experimental jazz and electronica, plus a plethora of music never heard before in Edmonton, we know that Now Hear This 2018 will be weekend to remember.  

Thursday, March 22

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

The festival starts in the heart of downtown as some 25 Edmonton musicians and dancers convene for an hour-long performance in City Hall. Strategically placed around this beautiful space, the artists will create an immersive, meditative sound and movement environment. Audiences will be able to move among the performers and maybe even join in!  

Studio 96 (10909 96 St NW)

Don Berner Trio Featuring Nico Árnaéz, electronics, 7:30 p.m.

Known to all in the Edmonton jazz community, Don Berner brings his trio into action in an incredible concert-length collaboration with Edmonton’s Nico Árnaéz. Combining the trio’s unique, virtuosic compositions and improvisations with the scintillating electronic music of Árnaéz promises our opening-night audience something very special.   

Live Mix I, 9:30 p.m.

One of the constants of our festival has been the presentation of later-evening programs combining a wildly wide range of shorter performances by local artists and  drawn from an open call for proposals. The only thing to expect is the unexpected, as we ditch traditional ideas of programming in favour of bringing together a diverse, experimental collection of shorter performances including live electronics, chamber music, video, dance and sound art. These events are definitely one of the most popular and memorable parts of Now Hear This. Details coming soon!  

Listening Lounge I, 10:30 p.m.

In this new feature of Now Hear This, we will offer a free, relaxed gathering space at which pre-recorded media can be shared and experienced alongside refreshments. Pieces will include other works by the composers in the festival, albums by the festival artists, and films. It will be a space to experience and show new work, interact in a casual environment, and to hear pieces that will not be performed live in the festival.

Friday, March 23

Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Ave NW)

Ongoing: sound installations

Located in various parts of Holy Trinity (and possibly elsewhere in the neighborhood!) we invite you to take in an exhibit of sound installations and displays. These will be available free throughout the Friday and Saturday portions of Now Hear This.  

Kagelian Ensemble, with Special Guest Miguel Belllusci, 7:30 p.m. 

Composer and conductor Miguel Bellusci will be coming from Buenos Aires to Edmonton for the duration of the festival. As part of his visit he will conduct this intense programme of Argentinian music for ensemble and electronics. None of these works has ever been heard before in our city. Performed by a hand-picked ensemble of some of Edmonton’s best musicians, the programme will include works by the late, great Mauricio Kagel and premieres of new works by Miguel Bellusci himself and by Edmonton’s very own Nico Árnaéz.    

Live Mix II, 9:30 p.m.

Listening Lounge II, 10:30 p.m.


Saturday March 24

Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Ave NW)

Ongoing: sound installations  

Workshop, 11:00 a.m.

Stay tuned for more information on this! As it has since the beginning, Now Hear This will include a number of free special specials sessions to enhance our concerts. Past events have included Deep Listening instruction, music technology introductions, soundwalks and open discussions. We’ll be making announcements and calls for participation as soon as our plans are finalized!

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

There is nothing quite like a March afternoon recital in Holy Trinity’s exquisite sanctuary. An Edmonton native, oboist Catherine Lee returns to our city for this show that explores the continuum between the improvised and the strictly notated and the extraordinary melding of oboe and oboe d’amore with the richness of electronics sounds expertly diffused in the space. The all-Canadian programme includes works by Dorothy Chang, Jerome Blais, Tawnie Olsen, Taylor Brook, Emily Doolittle and Catherine Lee herself.  

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

Dave Burrell and Steve Swell have been playing together since 2011 and are veterans and legends in the jazz world. We are honoured to welcome them to Edmonton. The duo has invited percussionist Mark Segger to expand the duo’s reach in the realm of improvised music that will include approaches to this art form from all corners of the jazz and new music worlds. Their sensitivity to the moment and to each other’s musical language demonstrates the commitment these musicians have had in honing their skills over so many years in this arena. 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 in several of bassist/composer William Parker’s ensembles. Mark Segger is a creative and energetic improviser providing just the right timbres and tempos to make for what is sure to be a musically satisfying evening.

Live Mix III, 9:30 p.m. 

Listening Lounge III, 10:30 p.m. 


Sunday, March 25

Workshop – venue TBD, 11:00 a.m.

Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way)

UltraViolet Ensemble, 3:00 p.m. 

Closing our festival this year is Edmonton’s fabulous UltraViolet: Roger Admiral (piano), Chenoa Anderson (flutes), Allison Balcetis (saxophones) and Amy Nicholson (‘cello). The group gave a stunning debut performance of new, multi-media works during our 2017 festival, and we have every reason to believe they will outdo themselves in 2018. This quartet can play anything! Final decisions about the programming are underway and details will be announced as soon as possible, but we know this will be amazing, so join New Music Edmonton in our first time at The Yardbird Suite as UltraViolet brings the 2018 Now Hear This Festival to a close.   

After-party, 4:30 p.m. 

After the UltraViolet show, please join us in The Yardbird Suite for some refreshments and discussion!