This week, after two years of postponement due to the pandemic, the third instalment of celebrated composer Andrew Balfour’s Truth and Reconciliation concerts will premiere at the West End Cultural Centre. 



Spurred by the 94 Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, “Captive” continues the choral exploration of themes that resonate with the Canadian Indigenous experience.

“There is much trauma and much suffering,” says Balfour, who stresses it is important to talk about the residential school legacy as well as the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

Confronting pain through music is certainly a focus in the series, though there is also a more celebratory note, explains Balfour.  

“To really give a platform for Indigenous artists in collaboration with our ensemble to celebrate stories, to rejoice in who we are and what it means to be Indigenous now and in the future.” 

Conducted by Mel Braun, “Captive” features music by three Indigenous composers — Andrew Balfour, Eliot Britton and Cris Derksen — coming together to explore the theme of captivity. 

Dead of Winter will be joined by Melody Mckiver on viola, Alexandre Tétrault on fiddle, and traditional Song Keeper and singer-drummer Cory Campbell.

Learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation concerts in the conversation below; the personal journey that Balfour has undertaken through music; the unexpected benefit of “Captive” postponement; and the unique opportunity to present the work at a national conference shortly after the premiere. 

“Captive” takes place on 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13 at the West End Cultural Centre. 

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