Espace Musique Concert Society

Espace Musique Concert Society. This Ottawa new-music society was founded in 1979 by Gerald Corey, principal bassoonist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), with Jane Forner, Gary Hayes, Trudi Le Caine, Keith MacMillan, Robert Richard, and Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer.

Espace Musique Concert Society

Espace Musique Concert Society. This Ottawa new-music society was founded in 1979 by Gerald Corey, principal bassoonist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), with Jane Forner, Gary Hayes, Trudi Le Caine, Keith MacMillan, Robert Richard, and Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer. Its aims have been to provide a venue for composers, to hold informal workshops and demonstrations, to present multi-media concerts, and to commission new works. At first the society - modelled to some degree after Ten Centuries Concerts - presented music from all periods, including rarely heard works; by 1985, however, its offerings were almost exclusively contemporary. During the 1990s it featured annual concerts devoted to the music of Ottawa composers and to compositions by young composers.

Its first concert, "A Musical Offering," held 24 May 1979 at the Chateau Laurier hotel, featured Garant'sOffrande III conducted by the composer, and works from J.S. Bach's Musical Offering. The first season, 1979-80, the society presented 3 concerts, and subsequently offered full series of 5 to 7 events. The society's regular venues were the University of Ottawa, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the National Gallery of Canada.

Among the ensembles that appeared in Espace Musique concerts were ARRAYMUSIC, Ayorama Wind Quintet, California EAR Unit, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, Carman Moore and the Skymusic Ensemble, the Ensemble Claude-Gervaise, the Colorado String Quartet, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble, Ensemble Daedaleus, First Draft, the British ensemble Lontano, the Brazilian ensemble Musica Nova Da Bahia, Nexus, Nouvel ensemble moderne, the Orford String Quartet, the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, the St Lawrence String Quartet, Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, Sound Pressure, Thirteen Strings and Upstream. Soloists included William Aide, James Campbell, Robert Cram, Lise Daoust, Rivka Golani, Erica Goodman, Neal Gripp, Sandra Graham, Peter Hannan, Elaine Keillor, Manon LeCompte, Malcolm Messiter, Joseph Petric, Christina Petrowska-Quilico, Réjean Poirier, Jean-Paul Sevilla, Vivienne Spiteri, Kimball Sykes and Alain Trudel. In collaboration with the National Arts Centre, Espace Musique presented the Now Music series at the NAC in June 1986.

The Pierrot Ensemble - formed in 1987 and comprised largely of musicians from the NACO, directed by David Currie - became the society's resident ensemble.

Works commissioned and premiered by the society or the Pierrot Ensemble have included Michael Bussière'sThe Complicated Art of Solar War (1991), Patrick Cardy'sThe Little Mermaid (1990), Steven Gellman'sChiaroscuro (1988), Benjamin Glossop's Suite for Oboe, Bassoon and Strings (2002), Gary Hayes' Elusive Meanings/Subliminal Messages (1982) and Celestial Musings (1989), and François Tousignant'sPortrait in Five Tableaux, after Baudelaire (1985). Other works premiered at Espace Musique concerts include Peter Lutek's Branch by Branch (1982), Bussière's Heaven is Now (1988) and Hypothesis of Memory (1988), Cardy's arrangement of Schoenberg's Brettl-lieder (1987), Denis Gougeon's Suite Privée (1990), Sydney Hodkinson's The Sea Hours (1982), Michael Horwood's Microduet No. 9 (1988), Hope Lee's"...I, Laika..." (1990), Michel Longtin'sDeux Rubans noirs pour Serge Garant (1987), François Tousignant's Étude pour Shayol No. 3 (1987), Larry Lake's Feria (1992), Clifford Ford'sA Little Romance (1992), Peter Amsel's Sonata fantasie (2001) and Trois invocations à l'Esprit Saint (2002), Violet Archer'sFour Dialogues for Classical Guitar and Chamber Orchestra (1990), and Linda Catlin Smith's String Quartet No. 3 "Folkestone" (1999).

The society also presented concerts devoted to works of a single composer, among them Schafer, Somers, Tremblay, and Applebaum. Works of visiting composers, which included Leo Brower, Luciano Berio, and Krzysztof Penderecki, were also specially featured, some in collaboration with Ottawa embassies.

Unable to secure funding for its twenty-fourth season, Espace Musique ceased operations after a final concert Oct 27, 2002.

Music directors included Gerald Corey, Christina Petrowska, Robert Cram, Jan Jarvlepp and Peter Amsel. Presidents were Trudi Le Caine, Keith MacMillan, David Piper, Guy Huot, Patrick Cardy, Florence Hayes, Louis Majeau, Fred Lipsett, Patricia Hiemstra, Gerald Corey and Peter Zanette.


Further Reading

  • Shmelzer, Anne. "A Critique of music policy on the development of the cultural formation - Espace Musique," unpublished Carleton University course paper, 1990. Library and Archives Canada Music Information Files

    Parson, David. "Espace Musique: a distinct voice," Notations, vol 3, Apr 1991

    [Todd, Richard] "Sad news, but no surprise," Opus Pocus, 13 June 2003 http://www.opuspocus.ca/index.htm