This Wednesday, October 11th at 7:30pm at Westworth United Church, Winnipeg’s GroundSwell will kick off their 2023-24 Season with a concert called “With Glow and Abandon.”
Performing compositions that have been written very recently, from Canadian composers such as Kevin Lau, Alice Ho and Ian Cusson and Radia, the concert will feature three of the Prairie’s finest musicians; Professor of Violin at Brandon University Kerry DuWors, Professor of Piano Performance at the University of Regina, Katherine Dowling and Saskatoon native Violist Ryan Davis who has proven to be one of Canada’s viola stars. He has performed with the likes of the Gryphon Trio, Jonathan Crow, Charles Richard Hamelin, and Andrew Wan and The Saskatoon Symphony to name just a few.
Kerry DuWors is also the guest curator for this concert. DuWors is originally from Saskatoon, and says that the Saskatchewan connection is quite deep. The desire to collaborate with Ryan Davis and Katherine Dowling in a concert that brings people together and expresses ideas was something that really appealed to her.
One of the threads that tie all of the works on concert is this idea of dreaming, and investigating the inner self with the outer self. As DuWors explains, “[The concert] sort of grew out of …what is it like to dream, an investigating these deep connections that we have within ourselves as humans…and our experience through the past three years… so all of the works that we will be performing on this concert have been written since 2020.”
One of the many highlights of the concert is that there will be world premiere performance of a piece commissioned specifically for the concert. The composer is Ryan Davis himself who goes by the stage name Radia. His compositions make use of viola, with drum beats, loops and hip hop influences, which create a very atmospheric sonically interesting landscape. Davis is quickly making a name for himself as one of Canada’s premiere performers/composers.
“I was honored to be included into these conversations… getting the opportunity to compose something for violin, viola and piano was particularly exciting! It was an exciting occasion to dream up what was possible with those voices, knowing that I would have such skilled artists joining me in the premiere of this piece,” states Davis.
The name of the new work is called “Diamond Up Diamond Down.” As Davis explains, “The work is inspired by themes of resilience…and the concept of diamonds only forming as the result of a great amount of pressure… he concept of shining through the various highs and lows that we all experience in our lives.” The inspiration of the piece latching on to one of the main threads that DuWors wanted to explore of Inner versus outer Self.
Pianist Katherine Dowling will be performing a piece for solo piano on the concert written by the multi-Juno nominated composer Alice Ping Yee Ho. “The Weeping Women,” is a piece by Ho that is inspired by the painting of Pablo Picasso of the same name, a painting inspired by the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. In describing the piece Dowling states, “Alice has a really unique way of writing for the piano. I look the notes on the page and I think ‘that’s impossible… there is no way someone can do that.’ And then once I have put my blood sweat and tears into it, I find ‘oh wow! She just has an incredibly visionary imagination for sound and for the capabilities of the instrument.”
The piece “The Weeping Women” also draws parallel to the war in Ukraine, and the extremes of the human condition. The piece will also be accompanied by an artistic video element that was produced and put together by Alice Ping Yee Ho.
This is only one of the multi-media elements to the concert “With Glow an Abandon.” Ryan Davis (Radio) will also be performing his piece that the concert is named for. His composition “With Glow and Abandon” makes use of the viola, and the human voice, in combination with loops and beats that draw on Radia’s hip hop influences.
The concert on Wednesday night at 7:30pm at Westworth Church as presented by GroundSwell promises to be a concert that will leave you entertained, aurally stimulated and thinking about the human condition on what it means to dream.
A concert not to be missed! For more details on tickets visit GroundSwell’s website.