*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*
February 16, 2017
Marc Paré - NBBP Chair
EVENT: Nota Bene Baroque Players "A Grand Journey"
DATE: Sunday March 5th 2017
LOCATION: St. John the Evangelist Church, 23 Water St. N., Kitchener, ON, N2H 5A4
Event Description: Water – it is powerful, symbolic and beautiful. Water is intertwined with life. People have always interacted with the streams, lakes, and oceans on the planet’s surface – in industry, in recreation, and in the arts.
On March 5, 2017, at St John the Evangelist church in Kitchener, The Nota Bene Baroque Players - Rona Goldensher, concert master will present a special multimedia concert, celebrating the Grand River, our region’s historic waterway. By exploring the Grand River in words, images, and music we come to realize that rivers all over the planet have much in common. Marianne Brandis, author of The Grand River, reads passages reflecting on rivers in general and on the Grand in particular, while Gerard Brender à Brandis’s wood engravings of scenes along the river, most of which appear in the book, will be on display.
Nota Bene Baroque Players will perform music written by Baroque composers inspired by water, including works by Handel, Telemann, and Vivaldi. Original engravings, and copies of the book, will be available for purchase at the concert.
Of special interest will be the world première of a new composition, Bottlenecked, by collaborative Canadian composers Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan. Their work tells the story of the journey of a drop of water from its source to its final destination. The title of this new work alludes to the many possible economic and political issues currently surrounding water on both a local and global scale, including its protection, conservation, consumption, and control.
In presenting this performance art event, Nota Bene Baroque Players strive to foster a greater appreciation of the Grand River and its ecosystem. We also view this concert as an opportunity to reflect on issues surrounding water security which are currently under intense discussion, both in our region and globally.
About Rona Goldensher, concert master
Violinist Rona Goldensher’s playing has been described by the Globe and Mail as having an “on-the-edge, inspired freshness”. Originally from New York City, Rona received her Bachelor and Master of Music from the Mannes College of Music. Currently a Creative Director of Nota Bene Baroque Players, she has performed and toured throughout North America and Europe as well as the Middle East and Japan with many ensembles including Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Toronto) , Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Lukes (New York), City Musick (Chicago), Elora Festival Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic, and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. As a chamber musician, Rona was longtime founding member and first violinist of Toronto’s Windermere String Quartet a core member of Toronto’s Talisker Players, and continues to collaborate on chamber music projects from early to new music at various venues and festival in Ontario. Her recording credits include Sony, Harmonia Mundi, Analekta, Pipistrelle, Newport Classics and MHS/ Musicmasters. Rona is on the faculty of the Beckett School at Laurier and teaches privately.
About Marianne Brandis, author
Marianne Brandis was born in the Netherlands in 1938 and came to Canada in 1947. After earning her BA and MA from McMaster University, she worked as a writer for private radio and the CBC and taught at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now University) before becoming a full-time writer.
Most of her work has a historical element. She is the author of award-winning historical fiction: The Tinderbox, The Quarter-Pie Window, The Sign of the Scales, Fire Ship, and Rebellion are set in Ontario in the early nineteenth century and have been used in schools to teach history. Elizabeth, Duchess of Somerset is the fictionalized biography of a duchess who lived in England in the time of the Restoration and Queen Anne.
She has also written biographies, including one of her mother – Frontiers and Sanctuaries: A Woman’s Life in Holland and Canada – that draws on extensive family archives and explores important issues of immigration. Another work in this group is a professional biography of her brother Gerard Brender à Brandis.
Pursuing her interest in the relations between people and their surroundings, she has researched and written about Toronto’s ravines, environmental and social issues in Malawi, and urban design and planning projects in her current home town of Stratford, Ontario.
She and Gerard have collaborated on a number of works; his wood engravings appear in most of Marianne’s historical fiction, and the siblings have worked together on several chapbooks. The Grand River: Dundalk to Lake Erie is the most recent joint project. Their collaboration involves a process in which the integration of images and text is part of the fundamental conception of the work and continues throughout the process of creation.
About Gerard Brender à Brandis, wood carver
Gerard Brender à Brandis was born in the Netherlands in 1942 and came to Canada with his family in 1947, living in British Columbia and Nova Scotia before settling in Ontario. He graduated in 1965 from McMaster University with a B. A. in Fine Arts History but set out to establish himself as a studio artist.
Having had some basic lessons in bookbinding at public school, it was natural that he should include book arts in his work, but it was the introduction to wood engraving in 1964 that gave him the focus for his career. He added type-setting and paper-making on his own and learned spinning, dyeing and weaving of flax to make linen book covers for some of his books. In 1971 he bought an 1865 Albion printing press in England and shipped it to Canada. He has produced more than forty limited editions of handmade books from his studio but has also provided illustrations for a number of commercially published books. He continues to work in his studio in Stratford.
In 2001 he created an engraving of the covered bridge at West Montrose, and this turned out to be the first of what was to become a suite of sixty-nine wood engravings of scenes based on his sketches of and along the Grand River. Forty of these were included in a handmade book, A Pebble's Journey, with a text by his sister, Marianne Brandis. This team of siblings has now produced another book, The Grand River: Dundalk to Lake Erie, published by The Porcupine's Quill (Erin) in 2015, which contains sixty images from this suite of wood engravings, all reproduced at their original size.
About Spy Dénommé-Welch
Spy Dénommé-Welch is a Dora-nominated writer, composer, artist, and scholar of mixed Indigenous (Anishnaabe) descent. His work in theatre, opera, and multimedia often examines cultural and social issues. He wrote and co-composed the Dora-nominated opera, Giiwedin, and is now completing his second opera with collaborator Catherine Magowan. In June 2017, his new vocal-chamber work (also composed with collaborator Magowan) entitled, Sojourn, will premiere at the Luminato Festival as part of Signal Theatre’s dance opera Bearing. Recent composing/writing credits include: Spin Doctors for clarinet, violin and piano (2015), Giizhigookwe Falls to Earth (2015), Victorian Secrets (2014), Deux Poèmes Sur La Formation Des Glaces (2012), Bike Rage (2012). Spy plays the guitar and fiddle, and has a special interest in vintage guitars and unusual stringed instruments.
His artistic and academic work has been presented at festivals, theatres and conferences in Canada and abroad, and has been featured in The Music Scene and The Wholenote. He has made appearances on radio shows such as Alexa’s Oasis on Classical 96.3 FM, CBC’s Here and Now, Aboriginal Voices Radio, and Radio-Canada. He is a faculty member at Brock University.
About Catherine Magowan
Bassoonist and composer Catherine Magowan has been principal bassoonist with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra since 2002, and regularly freelances throughout Ontario. She was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award in 2010 for the opera Giiwedin, which she co-composed with her collaborator, Spy Dénommé-Welch, and in 2012 their chamber piece, Bike Rage, took first prize by audience vote in Baroque Idol (Aradia Ensemble). In June 2017 their new vocal-chamber work, Sojourn, will premiere at the Luminato Festival, presented by Signal Theatre. Their comedy duo, Professor Quack & Grunt, has lectured at cabarets, poetry festivals, book launches, and universities. Magowan, who is of Hungarian-Jewish descent, has also presented at conferences on topics such as intercultural collaboration and decolonization through music, and conducted workshops for youth and young adults on music creation and the politics of music.
Catherine’s electric bassoon band, Das Fagott Mannschaft (“the bassoon team” in German) has been making a splash at pubs and festivals including Pride Toronto, Buskerfest, and the Northern Lights Festival Boreal. The world’s first electric bassoon ensemble, Das Fagott Mannschaft is at the forefront of the movement to experiment with guitar pedals and the bassoon.
Since 2001, Nota Bene Baroque Players (NBBP) has engaged its audiences with historically informed concerts in the Region of Waterloo and Region of Hamilton. Performing on period instruments, the NBBP recreates sounds and melodies as were intended by composers of the early Baroque to the early Classical period. With its complement of renowned players, Nota Bene Baroque Players performs events from as small as solo engagements to full orchestral productions. 2013 saw the unveiling of the Nota Bene Baroque Singers as well as outreach programs of the NBBP Mentorship Program as well as "The Lumina Project" performing for in-care facilities. This concert season, the Nota Bene Baroque Players reaches an important milestone as it celebrates its 15th anniversary season.
More information and concert season details may be found on the NBBP website: http://www.notabenebaroque.ca.
Interviews in person or by phone may be arranged by contacting Marc Paré: