Music Gallery

Music Gallery. Musician-run venue in Toronto. Established in 1976 by the CCMC, it has had three successive addresses: 1976-84 in a converted warehouse at 30 St Patrick Street, then, as of October 1984, in the basement of what was originally West Toronto's first YMCA at 1087 Queen Street West, and now at 918 Bathurst Street.

Music Gallery

Music Gallery. Musician-run venue in Toronto. Established in 1976 by the CCMC, it has had three successive addresses: 1976-84 in a converted warehouse at 30 St Patrick Street, then, as of October 1984, in the basement of what was originally West Toronto's first YMCA at 1087 Queen Street West, and now at 918 Bathurst Street. The first gallery had informal seating for about 100. The second, located in a former gymnasium, has a capacity of 125; a 'Great Hall' in the same building, with seating for 300, also has been taken over for concerts. The gallery was directed jointly 1976-80 by the CCMC's Peter Anson and Allan Mattes and solely 1980-7 by Mattes. James Montgomery assumed direction in 1987. Paul Hodge, who joined the gallery staff in 1978, has served latterly as technical director.

Averaging some 65 concerts annually by 1990, and supported by several levels of funding, the gallery has been a major forum in Toronto for the presentation of electronic music, multimedia productions, dance, contemporary jazz, and, beginning in the late 1980s, world music. It has also served as a model for similar venues elsewhere in Canada and has been an important stop in the regional, and at times national, circuit of 'alternative' concert halls.

Home through the 1980s to the CCMC, the gallery has also served as a base over the years for the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, Glass Orchestra, the Evergreen Club Gamelan Orchestra, Hemispheres, New Music Co-op, and Sound Pressure. It produced 'Ear It Live, a movable festival of improvised music mounted 1978-81 in several Ontario and Quebec centres, and was the site 1979-88 of an annual electronic music festival sponsored in turn by A Space, by the gallery itself, and by the Canadian Electroacoustic Community.

Other special events have included a month (September 1977) of concerts, workshops, and lectures in celebration of John Cage's 65th birthday, and residencies by Derek Bailey (1979), Mischa Mengelberg (1980), and Barre Phillips (1984). Under Montgomery's direction, the gallery introduced theme-based concert series, employing as guest 'curators' Alan Davis (world music), Bill Grove (jazz), John Oswald (string instruments), Rodney Sharman (Morton Feldman), and others.

The gallery operated its own record label, Music Gallery Editions (record label), 1977-81, and introduced the publication Musicworks in 1978. The label issued 27 LPs, most of them of performances at the gallery by such groups and individuals as the CCMC, the Artists' Jazz Band, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, the Glass Orchestra, James MacDonald, Lubomyr Melnyk, David Mott, Al Neil, the Nihilist Spasm Band, John Oswald, Peggie Sampson, Casey Sokol, and Sonde. Among other Music Gallery Editions releases were collections of Iroquois and Inuit music, folk music from Tadoussac, Que, and recordings of whales. Gallery performances also have been heard on CBC radio and, beginning in 1983, on CKLN-FM's weekly 'Radio Music Gallery'.

A concert-by-concert listing of the gallery's programming and festivals 1976-85, as well as a Music Gallery Editions discography and a Musicworks index, is included in the book Decade: The First Ten Years of The Music Gallery (Toronto 1985).