Unsettled Scores presents: Contraries: A Chamber Requiem and RADAR
Text by Spy Dénommé-Welch
Music by Spy Dénommé-Welch & Catherine Magowan
Spy Dénommé-Welch & Catherine Magowan
Thank you to the Brock University Social Justice Research Institute Seed Grant program for research support and the Faculty of Education Discretionary Strategic Initiatives Fund.
Unsettled Scores creates and produces musical and theatrical works that explore and reflect difficult Canadian and global histories, while being relevant to contemporary issues and subject matter.
Unsettled Scores was co-founded in 2006 by Spy Dénommé-Welch and
Catherine Magowan, and together they have created and presented solo,
chamber, orchestral and opera compositions, as well as theatrical and
multimedia works. They have also presented at conferences and festivals, and
conducted workshops on topics such as intercultural collaboration, and
decolonizing through music.
Unsettled Scores is also committed to supporting and encouraging early career and emerging Indigenous performing arts professionals.
RADAR (premiere) is a new work for oboe, bassoon, horn, bass trombone, guitar and timpani that explores the conceptual idea of a palindrome, and the notion of being targeted while invisible. This piece is a musical response to the violence experienced by Indigenous people, particularly Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, and Trans-identified persons.
Contraries: a chamber requiem tells the story of a little boy and his quest to relearn his gifts. After escaping the grip of a tyrannical schoolmaster, he embarks on a journey to fulfill his heroic destiny and transform into a sacred being.
Spy Dénommé-Welch, co-composer, librettist, director
Catherine Magowan, co-composer, music director
Nicole Joy-Fraser, soprano
Rebecca Cuddy, mezzo-soprano
Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuck, bari-tenor
Everett Morrison, bass-baritone
Instruments (RADAR, Contraries):
Colin Maier, oboe
Kevin Harris, bassoon
Iris Krizmanic, horn
Justin McLean, bass trombone
Benjamin Stein, guitar, Assistant Music Director
Laura Savage, timpani
Jean Becker, Knowledge Carrier
Nicole Joy-Fraser (Bear Clan/ Dene Zaa, Métis, European) has had the opportunity to work across Turtle Island with many celebrated companies such as Mirvish Productions, Factory Theatre, Native Earth, Red Sky, Nightwood, YPT, Stratford Festival, Blyth Festival, Charlottetown Festival, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, TSO, National Ballet, Nathaniel Dett Chorale and most recently Carousel Players in Mary Jane Mosquito. She also enjoyed performing across the pond in the multi award-winning musical Jerry Springer-The Opera (West End) and in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (UK and Athens Tour). Nicole is grateful and honoured to be collaborating with these talented artists and loves storytelling with Spy and Catherine.
She still cherishes singing in their Dora-nominated, premiere production of Giiwediin which helped kickstart the reclamation of her Indigenous identity and healing journey. She currently lives in Niagara-On-The Lake with her partner and son.
Everett Morrison is an Aboriginal (Cree) bass-baritone. Everett is originally from Moosonee, Ontario and now resides in Wikwemikong, Ontario. Everett is a band member of The Crees of Waskaganish Quebec.
He is a graduate of Cambrian College’s Music Program (Voice) and a Graduate from Laurentian’s Music Program (Voice). Everett has studied with Marion Harvey-Hannah and Dr. Robert Hall. He has performed throughout Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec. Everett also facilitates Voice Workshops for Aboriginal Youth. Everett made his professional debut spring of 2017 with the Canadian Opera Company. He sang the role of the Wandering Spirit war chief of the Crees in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of the Canadian opera Louis Riel. Everett also sang at the National Arts Centre of their production of Louis Riel in June of 2017. Then in July of 2017 in Quebec City for Opéra de Québec / Festival opéra de Québec in Louis Riel.
Everett made his Opera in Concert debut singing the role of David Joe in Victor Davies’ world premiere of the opera The Ecstasy of Rita Joe March 2018. Everett sang the bass solos for unsettled scores – Contraries a requiem which was based on Residential schools. It was in partnership with The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto June of 2018.
Catherine Magowan is a bassoonist, composer, and conductor. She is principal bassoonist of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, and Southern Ontario Lyric Opera Orchestra (SOLO), and co-founder of the world’s first electric bassoon band, DFM.
Catherine was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award for her first opera, Giiwedin (Native Earth Performing Arts/Unsettled Scores, 2010) which she co-composed with her collaborator, Dr. Spy Dénommé-Welch. Together they premiered Contraries: a chamber requiem at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2018, and their work for voice and orchestra Sojourn premiered at the Luminato Festival.
She has co-presented at national and international conferences on topics such as decolonization and intercultural collaboration in music, and run workshops for youth and young adults on music creation and the politics of music.
Catherine is the Managing Director of Unsettled Scores, a member of the Canadian League of Composers, and Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre.
Dr. Spy Dénommé-Welch
Dr. Spy Dénommé-Welch (Anishnaabe) is a multi-disciplinary scholar, composer, producer, and librettist/playwright. He wrote and co-composed the Dora Mavor Moore-nominated opera Giiwedin. Recent credits (as writer and co-composer) include: Contraries: a chamber requiem (2018, premiered at the Royal Conservatory of Music), Sojourn (2017; commissioned by Signal Theatre for the dance opera Bearing, premiered at Luminato Festival); HATE MAIL & Irreconcilable Trolls (2017; premiered at Native Earth’s Aki Studio); Bottlenecked (2017).
Spy is the Artistic Director of Unsettled Scores, an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre, a member of the Canadian League of Composers and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. He is also an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University.
His academic research focuses on Indigenous topics in education, arts, and decolonizing through music and performance. He is published in peer-reviewed journals and books.
Benjamin Stein is a singer, lutenist, pianist, guitarist composer, music director and writer. He has played or sung for ensembles as such Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir, Opera Atelier, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Elora Festival Singers, Toronto Masque Theatre and Soundstreams Canada.
He has an MA in Musicology/Theory from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music in voice and classical guitar from McGill University, and is currently pursuing a PhD at York University, focusing on the re-emerging art of Western classical music improvisation. He is the proud founder of Musicians on the Edge, an initiative devoted to creating opportunities for classical musicians to reintegrate improvisation practice into music education and concert performance. He works an associate music director at Metropolitan United Church of Toronto, and has written articles on music and culture for the Toronto Star and Wholenote Magazine.
More information on his activities can be found at benjaminstein.ca.
Kevin Harris is an active freelance orchestral bassoonist, performing with the Niagara Symphony, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Windsor Symphony, Against the Grain Theatre, and the Toronto Concert Orchestra.
He also enjoys belonging to several chamber ensembles: his woodwind quintets Blythwood Winds and Quintagious!, and the electric-pop bassoon quartet DFM. Always interested in discovering and creating repertoire for these groups, Kevin is an avid arranger, crafting everything from Mozart arias for woodwind quintet to ‘80s pop standards for four amplified bassoons.
Jean Becker is Inuk and a member of the Nunatsiavut Territory of Labrador. Jean has lived in Ontario for 40 years and has been involved in grassroots urban Indigenous community building throughout that time in Wellington and Waterloo regions.
As the Senior Advisor Indigenous Initiatives at Wilfrid Laurier University, Jean is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the university related to Indigenous activities. She continues to be involved in Indigenous ceremonies and advocacy work for Indigenous people outside of the academy and is actively engaged with local Indigenous communities.
Justin McLean is an Ojibwe Bass Trombonist from Sudbury, Ontario. Since 2013, he has performed on bass Trombone with the Timmins Symphony, Sudbury Symphony, the Northern Brass Choir, Pembroke Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, and has made appearances on CBC Radio.
Although Justin is primarily a bass trombonist, he also performs on euphonium, and tuba. Justin regularly assists and mentors amateur and semi-professional groups throughout the Sudbury area, including directing the Hark Wind Ensemble’s recording for Mozart’s Grand Partita. He performed in the premiere of Contraries: a Chamber Requiem, in 2018. Most recently he completed a residency with the inaugural “Indigenous Dramaturgies Gathering” at the “Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.”
Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuk is a singer and steel-string guitarist who draws inspiration from his heritage, fusing Métis folk traditions with contemporary musical genres and styles. He holds a Bachelor of Music in classical voice performance from the University of Ottawa. In addition to his performance practice, he has worked extensively as a presenter and workshop facilitator, sharing his passion for Métis history, Canadian music, and creative processes. He is currently a JD candidate at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law.
Laura Savage splits her music career between performing and teaching. She is the drum instructor at Royal St. George’s College and co-owns the Mill House School of Music in East Toronto. As a freelance performer she has appeared with numerous ensembles, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
She has appeared many festivals and events including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Canadian National Exhibition, Luminato, the Northern Lights Festival, and at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. Laura performs regularly with Savage Groove Dance Band, the Regimental Band of the Queens Own Rifles of Canada, DFM Bassoon Quartet, and is the Principal Percussionist for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born and raised in Calgary, Colin graduated from the University of Calgary in 1997 with a Bachelor’s degree in oboe performance studying with David Sussman. Since 2009, Colin has been the oboist with the internationally recognized ensemble “Quartetto Gelato” performing 50-70 concerts a year across North America and abroad. Colin is a regular guest lecturer and recitalist at Universities across North America.
Colin has released 2 CDs comprised of original Canadian commissions. Advice From A Misguided Man in 2012 and The Fabulist in 2014. His solo music is currently played on radio stations in over 20 countries.
Iris Krizmanic holds the position of principal horn in the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and third horn in the Niagara Symphony. She graduated from the Glenn Gould School, having studied with principal horn of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Neil Deland, and Associate Principal horn, Christopher Gongos. A multi-talented musician, Iris is also an accomplished singer and she plays the cello. She has participated in the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute as a vocalist, has performed in musicals and G&S productions as a cellist, and she loves performing chamber music, especially with her woodwind quintet, Quintagious!
Métis/Canadian Mezzo-Soprano Rebecca Cuddy’s recent career highlights include performing La Métisse, in the world premiere of Riel; Heart of the North (Steele/Weisensel) with Regina Symphony Orchestra, Mercedes (Cover Carmen) in Carmen, Frau Viehmann in Brothers Grimm and Toronto Concert Orchestra’s tour of Voice of a Nation in which she premiered a Métis song cycle by Ian Cusson.
Rebecca is proud of her Métis heritage and has a keen interest in Indigenous relations and music, along with contemporary composition. Earlier this season she joined Tapestry and Opera on the Avalon for the world premiere of Shanawdithit as Kwe/Spirit Chorus (Nolan/Burry). Rebecca is very pleased to join Unsettled Scores for Contraries and looks forward to her next Indigenous classical music performance in Soundstreams’ Two Odysseys in November 2019.
Rebecca completed her MA in Voice at the Royal Academy of Music, UK in 2017. www.rebeccacuddy.com