Session/Séance 6g: MusCan Panel 1. Friday/vendredi 26 May 2017. 3:30 – 4:30 pm, EJB 224.
Sounding Place & Plurality
Chair: ROBIN ELLIOTT (University of Toronto)
1. “Listening Out” to Experimental Music in Canada: Publics, Subjects, and Places
Jeremy Strachan, Cornell University
In 2016, Michael Snow and Mani Mazinani improvise on vintage analog synthesizers in Yonge-Dundas Square, filling Toronto’s busiest commercial commons with retro-futuristic sonic filigree; almost fifty years earlier, Otto Joachim’s four-channel electronic sound installation Katimavik furnishes the Canadian Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal with uncannily similar sounds. In both cases, listeners perambulate amongst a sonic-spatial architecture defined by publicness and auditory plurality. In the intervening decades, non-profit artist-run centres proliferate across the country, offering refuge for local experimentalists to develop their craft in the name of regional and national cultural growth. Such is experimental music’s longstanding position on both the margins and centres of listening in Canada: its history as a niche practice is replete with attempts at inserting itself into the everyday. I argue that the diffusion of experimental music into increasingly quotidian spheres in Canada offers a means of under- standing how place is engendered through the intersubjectivity of listening – an act implicated in a range of agentive processes. Different from other listening contexts, in listening to experimental music we become interpellated into a relational nexus where the loci of composition, performance, and apperception become distributive and unstable. I thus suggest that listening to experimental music in Canada can be thought of as a “listening out,” (Lacey 2013) an “attentive and anticipatory communicative disposition.” The examples above serve as case studies for refiguring the engagement between creative music and the commons in Canada – what experimental music can “mean in the world” (Piekut 2014).
2. Peter Yates’s “Evenings on the Roof” Concert Series: Intercultural and Cross-Disciplinary Connections Between Music, Literature and Place
Isabell Woelfel, Memorial University of Newfoundland
This paper investigates cross-cultural relationships among musical agents (concert organizers, composers and musicians), audiences, institutions and the larger art music communities in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s. The “Evenings on the Roof” concert series (1939-54), organized by Peter Yates and Lawrence Morton, built its repertoire around mid-century European modernism, included European and American musicians, and attracted a considerable audience in Los Angeles. The “Roof” series’ cross-cultural influence was not limited to the reception of art music. After the “Roof” concerts had come to an end, Yates’s house was used for monthly poetry readings, sponsored by Yates and Sol Babitz. Connections between the musical and literary scenes forged at the “Roof” created a space of lively cultural, artistic, and intellectual exchange. This paper will illuminate the role of place and agency in cultural and interdisciplinary transfers.