Ethnocultural Baggage and Contemporary Classical Music


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Music Gallery presents:
Ethnocultural Baggage and Contemporary Classical Music

Doors: 3pm
Concert: The Music Gallery, 197 John St.
Free Event

Prior to the iconoclastic presentation of the Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, Dr. Parmela Attariwala moderates what is sure to be a contentious and thought-provoking discussion.

How does the contemporary emphasis on Canadian “diversity”— ethnocultural diversity in particular—affect contemporary musical composition? Over the past twenty years, multiculturalism and diversity have become keywords used by citizens, politicians, business and media to describe Canadian society. Yet by its very nature, an emphasis on diversity promotes differences that distinguish individuals according to smaller, more localized groups to which the individual belongs (or with which they are identified). In turn, this belonging can foster a sense of ownership of culturally symbolic identifiers, music being one of the most potent symbols. How, then, is diversity heard in Canadian composition?

Moreover, we must be conscientious when incorporating musical symbols from other ethnocultural groups into our compositions. How do today’s composers determine the limits: between borrowing and appropriation; between ownership and sharing? How have these lines changed over the past few decades? Do concerns over affiliation limit creativity or does it promote dialogue? And to what extent can identity influence, predetermine or inhibit the creative route a contemporary Canadian musician might pursue?

In this panel of emerging, mid-career and senior composers, we will begin to unpack and analyze these issues. Featuring Melody McKiver, Nicole Rampersaud and Shawn Mativetsky.


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