Port Willy Retreat

For the past eleven days SHHH!! has had the good fortune to be rehearsing and working on new music out of Port William Sound in Frontenac County (rural Ontario, about 1 hour 30 mins from Canada’s capital of Ottawa). Over the course of the 2022-23 season will be spending 6 weeks in this beautiful and inspiring location thanks to generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council!

What are we practicing?

We are working on Kelly-Marie Murphy’s new double concerto Machines, Mannequins, and Monsters which SHHH!! world premieres with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on February 1st, 2023. It’s a bear… it feels right to be learning it in bear country! 🐻

We are also collaborating on an epic new project on environmental themes with composer Frank Horvat. Here is a brief description of the project from Frank:

“With the working title,Β An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene, this composition will index those sounds of our destructive past and present, with the hope that the music becomes a historical catalogue, like a museum gallery, for those destructive reverberations that no longer exist in the wild because humans decided it was time to dismantle them. If we choose this path, we can ensure a future for the sounds that are truly important to us, making certain those continue to thrive for epochs to come. We might be entering a new age out of the mistakes of our past but with a re-birth comes the ability to choose how you want to move forward.”

Frank joined us this past week to brainstorm and collaborate and we are absolutely buzzing with excitement!!!

Of course, it’s not all work at Port Willy… we also took advantage of our beautiful surroundings and got out for a couple of hikes in Frontenac Provincial Park, not to mention the three times daily walk of what can only be described as possibly the most beautiful driveway in the world.

In the Great Indoors:
In the Great Outdoors:

It’s HERE to HEAR

Starting today you can listen to Meanwhile Everywhere! πŸ€«πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜˜

Our debut album is a celebration of big, bold sonority and we are so excited to be sharing it with you today!

Meanwhile features electrifying new music by Jocelyn Morlock, Noora Nakhaei, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Micheline Roi, John Gordon Armstrong, Monica Pearce, and John Beckwith. #listencuriously πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

Meanwhile Album Launches

SHHH!! just wrapped up two successful Meanwhile album launches in Ottawa and Toronto! We are so excited and encouraged by the good vibes and feedback we are getting! It was great to see so many friends, family, mentors, and new faces! 😘😘

Only one week to go before Meanwhile is available everywhere to stream or purchase!

Below, enjoy some photos from the Ottawa launch at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage, shot by Curtis Perry:

Project Announcement

We are so totally smiley/excited/bowled-over/grateful/smiley/ecstatic/weepy/smiley/joyous/thrilled to announce that the Canada Council for the Arts has supported our next BIG project:

Part commission, part recording project An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene will be a new concert-length electroacoustic work written for us by composer and activist Frank Horvat.

We will be collaborating with Frank throughout the 2022-23 season in two workshopping intensives at Port William Sound (Mountain Grove, ON) culminating in a final intensive and recording session of the work on May 7-12, 2023 at Domaine Forget. An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene will also be our second album!

In our preliminary discussions with Frank and our various project partners we have already amassed a collection of 200+ emails, several hours of Zoom and phone calls, and numerous brainstorming sessions at all hours of the day… not to mention boundless levels of excitement and anticipation! We can’t wait to get started in earnest on this important and timely work.

We’ll be sharing updates about AASotLDotH (perhaps pronounced “eh-sottle-doth”… its a mouthful, we know!) every step of the way, but for now and on a much more serious note, a little taste of what An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene all about:

“What if you could choose the sounds that go extinct? Which ones do you wish never existed? 

The sounds that are forcing us out of the Holocene into a new human-influenced epoch are the ones I’d choose. This composition indexes those sounds of our destructive past and present, with the hope that this piece becomes a historical catalogue, like a museum gallery, for those destructive reverberations that no longer exist in the wild because humans decided it was time to dismantle them. If we choose this path, we can ensure a future for the sounds that are truly important to us, making certain those continue to thrive for epochs to come. We might be entering a new age out of the mistakes of our past but with a re-birth comes the ability to choose how you want to move forward.”

β€” Frank Horvat

Frank Horvat is one of the most inventive songwriters to come out of the contemporary scene in Canada (WholeNote Magazine). This award-winning composer’s music is emotional and intense. As a pianist and multi-genre composer, he has made the tricky musical leap that allows him to pursue a niche of his own (Edmonton Journal). Frank explores a wide array of themes in his music from love to the environment, mental health and social justice issues. He gives his audiences time and space to reflect in this fast-paced world. Frank’s compositions tell deeply personal stories while permitting audiences to ponder their own.

We are so excited to be working with this creative individual!

You can read more about Frank and his incredible work here: https://frankhorvat.com

BIG DAY!

Today is a BIG day for SHHH!! 🎁πŸ₯³πŸΎπŸŽπŸŽπŸ₯°πŸ’ΏπŸ₯³

Its our debut album Meanwhile‘s pre-release single day!

Starting now, you can listen to Noora Nakhaei’s Echoes of the Past in stunning Dolby Atmos on all major streaming platforms! πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

The full Meanwhile album will be available digitally worldwide on October 7th on all major streaming platforms (with physical copies coming on the 14th!)!

Our debut album also features incredible music by Jocelyn Morlock, John Beckwith, Micheline Roi, John Gordon Armstrong, Monica Pearce, and Kelly-Marie Murphy!

Meanwhile Launch Events πŸͺ© πŸ₯³ πŸ’Ώ 🎟️ 

The creation of Meanwhile would not have been possible without the generous support and trust of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Thank you!

Help spread the word and this electrifying new music! Share this blog post or the streaming link on social media, tell a friend, phone your aunt, email a colleague, suggest it to your grouchy neighbour, etc, etc πŸ™ƒ! Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it! πŸ™‚ πŸ₯° πŸ™

Ritual and That Star Is Awake @ Chamberfest

Last week we had the pleasure of premiering two new works by our friends and composers Daniel Mehdizadeh and Edward Enman at Chamberfest’s New Music Now! We have known both composers since our student days at the University of Ottawa in the early 2010s! The concert was made even more special as we shared the program with music by fellow SHHH!! friends, collaborators, and Ottawa connections John Gordon Armstrong and Kelly-Marie Murphy.

Mehdizadeh’s Ritual is an abstract exploration of an imagined and nameless ritual… dark and brooding, at times groovy and at other times spacious and sinister.

Contrastingly, Enman’s That Star is Awake explores “the idea of a child experiencing the sight of the stars, the moon, the sun, and discovering what they are, and how they are what they are… stars are big exploding balls of gas… they can also be a smiling character in a children’s book… this piece is somewhere in between.”

We look forward to performing these two beautiful new works again in a couple of weeks at Γ‰tΓ© Musical de Barachois in New Brunswick!

Photos by Curtis Perry:

May/June Roundup

It’s been a busy (and awesome, and beautiful, and nourishing, and other lovely adjectives) few weeks… here’s the scoop! πŸ₯„πŸ¦πŸ‘‡

May 24-June 1: Back at the barn

We spent a week and a bit at Venturing Hills Concert Studio rehearsing and putting the finishing touches on our Spirits program… we also ogled at birds, horses, and the inspiring sunsets over the Eardley Escarpment.

June 3-5: Open Ears Fest

SHHH!! performed Spirits at the Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound in Kitchener-Waterloo! We had a blast sharing incredible new music by composers like Andy Akiho, Kevin Hanlon, Micheline Roi, John Beckwith, John Gordon Armstrong, Monica Pearce, and Jocelyn Morlock!

It was also great to hear Carmen Braden perform her Seed Songs with a killer band and experience Grace Scheele’s Not Yr Angel Bby Harpist.

June 6: Super News From SOCAN

We got word from the SOCAN Foundation that we have received funding to commission NYC based composer Harry Stafylakis. We’ve asked him to write us a fast and furious “SHHHred-isode”… stay tuned for that!

June 7: World Premiere of “Enable Original Sound”

In the words of SHHH!! percussionist Zac, “I don’t always compose, but when I do it is always for percussion!”

Commissioned by the Centre d’Excellence Artistique d’Ontario at Γ‰cole Secondaire De La Salle, Enable Original Sound engaged graduating music students at the school who, due to COVID restrictions for most of this year, were unable to play their normal (non-percussion) instruments. Zac coached them on basic percussion skills and wrote a piece for them! They rose to the occasion and played beautifully!

June 9: Final mixing session at Le Lab

Meanwhile is almost here! We spent the afternoon at Le Lab Mastering in Montreal with our producer Carl Talbot working on the Dolby Atmos mix. It sounds incredible and we are so excited to share this music with you!!

June 11: “Odaabaanag” at Pique Summer 2022

Together with Debaser, Jumblies Theatre, Ottawa New Music Creators, and No Borders Voices we presented Odaabaanag at Pique Summer 2022. Odaabaanag is a suite of two original musical compositions by Melody McKiver and Beverley McKiver, inspired by the words and stories of Garnet Angeconeb, Josephine King and Tom Chisel from Obishikokaang (Lac Seul First Nation). It was a deeply moving and very special experience for us (and for everyone that attended the concerts!).

What’s Next?

We are working towards the world premieres of Daniel Mehdizadeh’s Ritual and Edward Enman’s That Star Is Awake at Ottawa Chamberfest’s New Music Now event on August 1st, continued preparations for the launch of Meanwhile, prepping a brand new program to be debuted at Γ‰tΓ© Musical de Barachois on August 25th , and planning ONMC’s next season… never a dull moment!

ONMC 2021-22 Look Book

What a thrill it was to curate our first Ottawa New Music Creators season! We relished in the opportunity to expand our creative horizons, feature the work of INCREDIBLE artists, commission new music, and create memorable events for our community.

A BIG thank you to the performers, composers, ONMC board, and our tireless Executive Director and photographer Curtis Perry! Thank you also to the City of Ottawa, CMC Picanto, SOCAN, and the Ottawa Art Gallery for making all of this possible!

Take a peak at the gallery below and check out what ONMC was up to in 2021-22!

CONCERT NO. 1: IN THE LOOP

in the loop showcased the work of loop-pedal-violist performer-composers Kathryn Patrica and Radia!

πŸ“ La Nouvelle ScΓ¨ne, Bistro

Kathryn Patricia

Radia

Concert NO. 2: Vistas

vistas featured guitarist Adam Cicchillitti and flutist Lara Deutsch in an evening of music by Toru Takemitsu, Gabriela Ortiz, Gulli BjΓΆrnsson, Jason Noble, Ottawa-based composer John Gordon Armstrong, and emerging composer call-for-scores winner Jano Williams.

πŸ“ La Nouvelle ScΓ¨ne, Bistro

Adam & Lara

John Gordon Armstrong

Special Project: IN SEA By Jesse Stewart

With the generous support of a Picanto 7X Video Production Grant and the Ottawa Art Gallery, we embarked on a special project commissioning a new piece from Ottawa based composer Jesse Stewart. In Sea is Stewart’s 21st century take on the minimalist classic In C by Terry Riley. We had a blast recording and collaborating with this all star band!

πŸ“ Ottawa Art Gallery (ft. the installation Google Optical Display by AM Dumouchel)

Concert No. 3: Simple Lines of Enquiry

For our third concert we welcomed Montreal based pianist-composer Edward Enman for a livestream performance of Ann Southam’s Simple Lines of Enquiry and the Canadian premiere of Enman’s own work Silver Light.

πŸ“ Venturing Hills Concert Studio

Edward Enman

Concert No. 4: Art CRUSH | ENSEMBL’ARTS

For our season closer, we were thrilled to present Art Crush | Ensembl’arts, an exciting and genre-defying interdisciplinary group featuring violinist Marc Djokic, visual artist Avery Zhao, and dancer/choreographer Ariana Pirela SΓ‘nchez. Marc performed works for solo violin by Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, Philip Glass, Astor Piazzolla, and Canadian composers Ana Sokolovic, Murray Adaskin, and Richard Mascall.

πŸ“ Ottawa Art Gallery, Alma Duncan Salon

Ariana Pirela SΓ‘nchez

Avery Zhao

Marc Djokic

We’re already looking forward to next season! Stay tuned!

Photo credits: Curtis Perry, Ming Wu (top photo of SHHH!!)

Cool friends

It’s been a while since our last blog post! SHHH!! is deep in project planning mode (πŸŒ‹πŸ”₯🎢), so not too much of our own news to write about at the moment!

We thought we would take the opportunity to share some recordings recently released by a few of our friends (#talent)! We’re listening to them lots, and we think you should too! 🀯🎧

Daniel Ramjattan – Inspirations

😎: Solo guitar sorcery, ft. music by SHHH!! collaborators John Gordon Armstrong and Raphael Weinroth-Browne. πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈπŸŽΈπŸ€˜

πŸ”—: https://danielramjattan.bandcamp.com/releases

Radia – Of Glow & Abandon

😎: #BanffBuddy, Radia also performed at our first ONMC concert as artistic directors in October, 2021! This debut EP is slick. πŸ€πŸŽ»πŸ€Œ

πŸ”—: https://radiaviola.bandcamp.com/releases

Lara Deutsch & Philip Chiu – Night Light

😎: fellow Ottawa-based-badass (Lara), ft. music by SHHH!! collaborators Jocelyn Morlock and FrΓ©dΓ©ric Lacroix. πŸŒ‡πŸš—πŸŒ¬οΈ

πŸ”—: https://www.leaf-music.ca/product/lm249/

Martin Daigle – Mossy Cobblestone

😎: also a #BanffBuddy, this one is a BANGER. πŸŽ©πŸ«–πŸ₯

πŸ”—: https://martindrum.bandcamp.com/releases

Monica Pearce (performed by Maureen Batt & Simon Docking) – Aunt Helen

😎: Monica Pearce, SHHH!! collaborator & composer of the awesomest music (including our beloved leather). πŸŽΉπŸŒŠπŸ’―

πŸ”—: https://www.leaf-music.ca/product/lm2012/

Happy Listening! πŸ™‚

Gone Fishhhing

About a week ago we got hit with our biggest COVID-era cancellation. We were devastated. Since then, a big “Gone Fishhhing” sign has been posted on our studio doors. This week we plan to get back into the swing of things: learning new notes and telling everyone about this really cool thing we did! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘‡

One of our dream projects over the past year has been to find a piece that would allow us to collaborate freely with a variety of other musicians in a hip, accessible, and groovy way.

The Answer? Jesse Stewart’s In Sea

In an ocean of open score oeuvres, we came across many good candidates: some were more obvious (like Terry Riley’s In C), some were more obscure (like Erik Griswold’s Action Music), but none felt quite right for this particular project. What we really wanted was a tailor made piece that featured our duo as a sort of anchor (sorry, but there will be many nautical puns here…), augmented by an indeterminate ensemble comprised of any number of any instruments.

Co-commissioned by SHHH!! Ensemble and the Ottawa New Music Creators, In Sea is a new work for flexible ensemble by Ottawa’s Jesse Stewart. Inspired by Terry Riley’s open score classic In C, In Sea is Stewart’s 21st century take on the well known minimalist work.

A huge thank you to the Canadian Music Centre and Picanto (a new video hosting site dedicated to Canadian new music) for their support through the 7X Video Production Fund. We are honoured to be one of seven artists/collectives from across the country to be awarded this funding. Our video premiere drops on February 7th as a part of the Picanto 7X Festival!

On November 15th we filmed the world premiere performance with eight Ottawa New Music Creators at the Ottawa Art Gallery with stunning artwork by Gatineau, QC artist AM Dumouchel as our backdrop. We had a whale of a time! πŸ³πŸŽΆπŸ˜€

The incredible musicians involved in the world premiere recording are:

  • Raphael Weinroth-Browne, cello
  • Travis Mandel, trumpet
  • Ben Glossop, bassoon
  • Yolande Laroche, clarinet
  • Sean Clarke, flute
  • Alex Moxon, guitar
  • Erica Miller, violin
  • Kathryn Cobbler, viola

Audio/video recorded was provided by Julian Bertino Sound and Nikolas Labossiere. Stills and additional footage by ONMC’s Exec-extraordinaire Curtis Perry.

Back in November, we were between waves of COVID and the public health guidelines in Ottawa allowed us to meet to rehearse and record for one glorious day of sonic exploration. In the company of such fine musicians recording was **preemptive cringe** plain sailing.

With so many COVID-cancellations plaguing our winter schedule we have been buoyed by this upcoming pandemic-proof premiere!

Following the premiere screening of In Sea on the Picanto platform, SHHH!! is looking forward to continue to perform this new work and using it as a way to connect with other artists and new audiences!

Some pictures from the recording day by Curtis Perry:

Hope to sea you on the 7th! πŸ™‚