On Harvest Moon

Subject: On Harvest Moon
From: Ned Bouhalassa (ned@nedfx.com)
Date: Sun Sep 25 2005 - 11:32:14 EDT

I'd like to preface this by saying that due to circumstances way beyond
my control, I was only able to attend the last day of Concordia's
Harvest Moon festival.

Here are a few random thoughts for a Sunday morning:

- Why were there so many US composers programmed compared to Canadians
and Europeans? Not that I have anything against Americans, of course,
but given this city's fantastic output of exceptional electroacoustic
pieces and the historical ties with France, and more recently the UK,
it seems quite a turn. Did it have to do with the projection format? A
Concordia student came up to me after the concert (Tim? If so, he and
his friends are a great addition to Concordia's electroacoustic group)
and said that my music sounded very different from what he had heard up
until now at the festival, he called it much more cinematic. Clearly,
he does not know that acousmatic art is (was?!) the dominant form of
electroacoustics in this city.

- I really enjoyed the conference aspect and wished I had attented
other presentations. In particular, I was very stimulated by Eliot H's
questions. In the future, he should be the official interviewer for the
festival, particularly when it comes to presentations that deal with
composition specifically. Réjean Beaucage has played that role very
well during Réseaux's festivals. I also thought the atrium installation
in front of the library was fun and important in that it allowed for a
more public context for electroacoustics.

- The webcast aspect threw me off at first and it took me a while to
get used to it. In retrospect, I think it's absolutely great to have
such a resource. Thank you to those that made it possible at Concordia
(Yves G?!!).

- The sound in the hall was terrific. The system is top notch. I had
brought my piece on my laptop and it was a joy to be able to adjust
individual levels from the audience's vantage point (I was connected
via a long FireWire cable). My only question is whether the 8 speakers
have a lot of low end? It seems that even while lowering the LFE output
in my sequencer, I was still getting much low end from the other
speakers - was I dreaming? Oh, and sorry, kind of, for distorting the
live stream. Next time, I'll try to... nah, I'll probably do it again!

- While I was happily surprised when KA threw out 450 as the number of
students who are studying sound at Concordia, I was disappointed
(again) by the relatively low turn-out at the concert proper. There
should have been 100 students, at least. For this, I blame the
teachers. And I fear that this is a 'problem' (maybe only for me?!) in
many universities/colleges. Why do I blame the profs? Because it's so
bloody hard to get newbies to become regulars, that IMO, you have to go
_out of your way_ to set an example, show them that this can be an
exciting music and that concerts can be fun to attend, and _most
importantly_ that there is room for motivated composers/performers. My
teachers included Jean-François Denis, Kevin Austin, and Francis
Dhomont. All incredibly active, and _involved_ in the scene, but also
terrific motivators, not just (!) good teachers. Once again, there were
_no_ other active Montreal ea composers at a Concordia concert. Why?
Distance and timing (Friday night, in the West end of town)? Yeah, that
played a role, but I also blame the programming. 15 years, I used to
program Québécois composers regularly at Concordia. They would come and
bring other composers and friends with them, and their powerful works
would rock the hall. They would marvel at the quality of the system in
this out-of-the-way university, and the audience would marvel at the
quality of Montrealer's output. Now?...


__ Ned Bouhalassa __
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