Composer's Toolbox: Allison Cameron

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Event Title: Composer's Toolbox: Allison Cameron
  • Region: Ontario
  • Venue / Location: Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph Street
  • Time: 7:00pm
  • Price: $(PWYC)
  • Genre: --
  • External Link: Click here to register

Composer's Toolbox: Contemporary Compositional Resources

  • Allison Cameron 
  • Thursdsay, March 16 @ 7pm
  • Canadian Music Centre*, 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto
  • PWYC

Toolbox is a series hosted by the Canadian Music Centre (Toronto) designed to bring attention to the range of techniques and strategies being used in contemporary music composition. The proliferation of these resources has been linked to a breakdown in separate, isolated musical traditions in favour of mutual influence; by concerns shared between different segments of contemporary arts, including interest in spontaneity, in overlapping time scales, and attention to gesture and fine details; and by the introduction of new technological possibilities and social imaginaries. The contemporary composer's toolbox includes, along with forms of staff notation and oral transmission, a range of visual and instructional approaches, techniques for real-time involvement in decision making by performers or conductors, and possibilities of creating unique, idiosyncratic compositional languages.

By presenting hybrid lecture / performances, Toolbox opens up the theory, history, and method behind contemporary composers' work. As well as hoping to educate and inspire musicians, the series is aimed at practitioners and programmers working in other contemporary artforms that share many of the concerns and strategies that have shaped contemporary music. By doing this, the series hopes to encourage further development of the interdisciplinary thinking so important to artistic development and mutation. 

Allison's presentation will involve a lecture, illustrated with scores and audio, rooted in her training and her compositional practice. She will be discussing the sources and inspirations for her work with different notation strategies, emphasizing how -- despite the range of approaches she's used -- all of them answer to related concerns and intentions. She will also be talking about how the performance practice of the musicians she is writing for -- often a result of training or of belonging to different styles or traditions of music -- affects her own practice as a composer.

The presentation will end with a live performance of some of Allison's work, giving a practical demonstration of some of the issues she's been discussing.
About Allison Cameron: “…intelligent, earthy, and playful.” – Jennie Punter, Musicworks Magazine #122, 2015. Allison Cameron is a professional composer, performer and improvising musician in Toronto. She has been commissioned in Europe and North America by many ensembles and festivals. Since 2000, she has been performing improvised music using electronic keyboards, ukulele, banjo, piano, mini amplifiers, radios, crackle boxes, cassette tapes, miscellaneous objects and toys. Allison has been celebrated in Musicworks Magazine, the UK’s The Wire Magazine, I Care if You Listen and a variety of other online publications. Her reputation for writing compelling compositions for contemporary music ensembles is international. She is also a sought after improviser with a strong national following. She has completed two national solo tours in the past four years. In 2007 she founded the Allison Cameron Band with fellow musician/composers Eric Chenaux and Stephen Parkinson to explore uncharted territory in her compositions by integrating a variety of musical forms into her work.  The result has been a critically acclaimed CD on the Rat-Drifting label of several genre-defying pieces. In 2009 she formed a trio with trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud and drummer Germaine Liu called c_RL (pronounced curl) who released the CD ‘Friends’ to critical acclaim. In 2015 she completed several new graphic and instructional scores that will soon be published together.  These experimental scores have been performed by Ensemble Supermusique (Montreal), Contact, Suddenly Listen (Halifax) and by various ad hoc groups in Toronto.

*The Canadian Music Centre (CMC) is an accessible building with street level access to the right of the main entrance. CMC has gender neutral washrooms.