Wilderness Isn't What It Used To Be

Ellen Waterman of School of Music, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Robinson College, University of Cambridge Untitled Page

The ecology of experimental music performance in Canada.


9 May 2016, 5.30pm

Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre, Young Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LZ

Free entry

Abstract: In the 20th century, Canada was defined by tropes of nature and place, most famously the “idea of north” that was first expressed in experimental music in Glenn Gould’s famous 1969 radio collage of the same name, and made manifest in R. Murray Schafer’s massive Patria series of environmental music theatre works (1965 - ), several of which are performed in “wilderness” locations.  These days, experimental music in Canada is more likely to riff on contemporary issues such as multiculturalism, neocolonialism, and indigeneity.

When Tanya Tagaq improvises Inuit throat singing as an ironic  commentary on the classic 1922 “documentary” Nanook of the North, it is easy to hear the changing ecology of experimental music performance in Canada.  In this presentation, I take a critical look at this changing ecology in the context of a large-scale comparative ethnography of experimental music festivals across Canada by bringing together insights from acoustic ecology and performance studies.

This event is part of the MPA Research Lecture Series. For more information contact Krisztian Hofstadter.