Turning Point Ensemble Sounds Unheard May 11 & 12

Turning Point Ensemble (TPE) created a successful partnership with Canadian/Tajik composer Farangis Nurulla-Khoja a few years ago, and it continues  with the upcoming Sounds Unheard;  a full in-depth program of Nurulla-Khoja’s music through a portrait concert performed on May 11 at 2pm  & 12th at 7:30pm. 

“We are especially excited to present the premiere of a major new work,  Phantasmagoriacomposed for TPE and the warm rich voice of mezzo soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau”, stated conductor and Artistic Director Owen Underhill.  “The music of Farangis Nurulla-Khoja is a special world merging and transcending the experience of different cultures and the poetry and extremes of human experience from displacement to the unknown.” 

The collaboration between Turning Point Ensemble and Farangis Nurulla-Khoja began in 2014  when TPE commissioned her to compose a new piece entitled, Le jour ma nuit, included in the program.   The portrait concert also comprises Un Voyageur,  a new work for solo trombone performed by TPE’s  Jeremy Berkman and Ni di ‘ici ni d’ailleurs, dedicated to displaced individuals all over the world who have left their homes in the hope of finding equilibrium elsewhere. Inspired by her own experience as a displaced person, it has an evolutionary quality, with sounds gradually changing during the course of the piece through subtle adjustments in technique. 

“I am extremely happy to continue our fruitful collaboration by writing a major work for Turning Point Ensemble”, stated Nurulla-Khoja. “Phantasmagoria is inspired by José Saramago’s novel Blindness in which the characters gradually get effected by an epidemic of blindness.  I want to look at Saramago from the point of view of our existence here and now. While reading the novel, I discovered a different kind of time. I call it “the time within the wrinkle”, because you go inside a point in time and you discover that what you thought to be just a small detail is actually a whole physical presence of a universe of multiplicities, of heterogeneous happenings.” 

Her work as a contemporary music composer focuses on vocal intonations and its unique ability to influence our perception and understanding of our surroundings.

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About Farangis Nurulla-Khoja

Farangis Nurulla-Khoja is a Tajik-Canadian composer born in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) in the family of well-known Tajik Composer, Ziyodullo Shandidi.  She holds a PhD of Fine Arts in Composition  from the University of Goteborg, Sweden, having also studied at the University of California in San Diego as well as at the IRCAM,  in Paris. Farangis lives by the current criteria of the international life and follows the aesthetic language of contemporary music. 

As a musician, she works with the conviction that dance is the complement of music, and that language – particularly the language of poets – is above all a series of communicative sounds.  For her making music is a journey into the unknown, a search for sounds unheard and forms unseen.  Farangis Nurulla-Khoja’s compositions have been performed in concerts and in international festival of contemporary music in Europe, North America and Asia.  She has also received numerous awards. 

Farangis lives in the beautiful city of Longueuil, Quebec with her two beautiful children and her life partner. 

About Marie-Annick Béliveau 

A native of Quebec City, mezzo-soprano, Marie-Annick Béliveau studied the violin and oboe before beginning her studies in voice with Jan Simons at McGill University, where she also studied contemporary music with Bruce Mather. 

She rapidly made a name for herself as an accomplished performer of the contemporary repertoire, premiering over 30 works in Canada and Europe. In 2015, Marie-Annick performed Scelsi’s solo “performance opera” Les Chants du Capricorne, directed by Pauline Vaillancourt. Her performance was unanimously praised by critics, earning her an Opus Award for the Musical event of the year from the Conseil québécois de la musique.

Highlights in her career include the first performance of Lost by Fausto Romitelli with the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne in France, under the direction of Lorraine Vaillancourt, and Catalogue de bombes occidentales composed by André Ristic for her premiere under the direction of Véronique Lacroix and the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM).

On the opera stage, Marie-Annick’s premiere performance of the title role in Marco Pérez-Ramirez’ Rimbaud, la parole libérée at the Opéra National de Montpellier garnered her rave reviews in the international press. For Chants Libres, she also premiered the roles of Reine Poulane in Gilles Tremblay’s Opéra-Féérie and Autorité in Le Rêve de Grégoire by Pierre Michaud.

Teaching is an important aspect of Marie-Annick’s career: she is the Associate Director of the Camp musical Père Lindsay, has taught voice at CAMMAC for over 15 years, and is a classical voice instructor at UQÀM.  Marie-Annick has also participated in several recordings, including music for the Cirque du Soleil and several films: Mourir en France, The Red Violin, and Paul à Québec. She also can be heard on Radio-Canada’s Ici Musique channel, hosting the program Place à l’Opéra.

Owen Underhill, Artistic Director & Conductor

Owen Underhill is a composer, conductor and faculty member in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. Owen, with Jeremy Berkman and other ensemble members, was one of the co-founders of the Turning Point Ensemble. From 1987 – 2000, he was the Artistic Director of Vancouver New Music. In addition to serving as the conductor of the TPE, Owen has conducted with groups such as the CBC Radio Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Underhill has a special commitment to Canadian music and innovative interdisciplinary collaboration and was honoured as one of 50 special ambassadors for Canadian music as part of the Canadian Music Centre’s 50th birthday celebrations.

As a composer, Underhill writes for diverse combinations including orchestra, voice and choir and music for dance. His Canzone di Petra (2004), a piece for flute and harp commissioned by Heidi Krutzen and Lorna McGhee, was the winner of the Western Canadian Music Outstanding Composition Award in the fall of 2013.

About Turning Point Ensemble

The Turning Point Ensemble is a Vancouver based large chamber ensemble comprised of many of British Columbia’s most accomplished instrumentalists. Their mandate is to present rarely heard concert music for a large-sized chamber ensemble, increasing the understanding and appreciation of music composed during the past hundred years, linking the music of earlier times to the music of today, promoting Canadian and international works through dynamic programming and outstanding performance. 

Since its first public performance, the 16-member Turning Point Ensemble has become a distinctive fixture in the Vancouver arts scene, described by reviewer John Keillor as “…among Vancouver’s musical treasures, polished, original and scintillating”. With a growing national and international reputation, Turning Point Ensemble is renowned for its quality of musical performance, innovative programming and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Media release and image provided by Bonnie Allan, Bonnie Allan PR.

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