Rest in Peace, Tom Rolston (1932-2010)

June 3rd, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Thomas Rolston passed away last Saturday, May 29th, 2010. I remember him so fondly, and give thanks for the myriad ways in which he made my life and my music better.

I first attended the summer program in 1996, and from the very beginning Tom made me feel appreciated and supported. He was dedicated to making the Music and Sound program at the Banff Centre a welcoming place for artists. A simple idea, but in no other environment have I felt so well understood and free to learn. Tom and his wife Isobel knew that the greatest gift they could give to an artist was a place where they were treated like artists, trusted as artists and given everything they needed to function as artists.

Through his life and his ideals, he has touched the lives of so many people. He had so much love to give, and he receives so much love back in return.

Edit: Here’s an excerpt from a wonderful note by Myra Davies (full text here)

One of my earliest music presentations came about when Tom came to my office of UofA, introduced himself and suggested a series of lunch hour concerts with his Alberta String Quartet, at SUB Gallery. “Music to the people” Later at Banff, Tom & family formed the nucleus of the music program; interpretive artists, dedicated to classical rep, radiating the vibe, promoting continuity, generating energy, forming artists and producing concerts non-stop.

It was wonderful to work with them in their vibrant dedicated international community. Classical music isn’t dead. It’s closer to immortal. Constantly regenerating itself, it moves steadily through time on a conveyor belt of dedicated artists who serve it and pass it on to those they’ve trained. Through the Rolston years, I watched individual artist, rising and descending in power, and knew many of them. They’re amazing. They will play on until they drop, even when demented or terminally ill they keep on playing and doing concerts.

The subculture of contemporary arts tends to hostility to the classical music scene. I wonder if some of this attitude is because they have what we don’t; a rock solid belief in the lasting significance of the work they service. Each to his own. I’m so thankful that way back when, Tom Rolston invited me into his world.

Edit 2:

No obit in the Globe and Mail, but the Calgary Herald was the first to memorialize him.

Edit 3:

Obit in the Globe and Mail by Tamara Bernstein.

One Week In the National Post=Five Puff Pieces (two good, two meh, one terrible)

January 25th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

In June, 2008 I was invited by the National Post to write a week’s worth of diary entries for the Arts&Life section. In my defense, it came at the busiest time of the year (right during soundaXis 2008).  Here’s what happened:

» Read the rest of this entry «

Summerworks show needs your help! XXX Live Nude Girls Opens August 6, 2009.

June 16th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Hi everyone – the Summerworks show I’m working on, “XXX Live Nude Girls” by Jennifer Walshe,  is in need of “propular” assistance.

Check out this post if you are interested in helping out.


New Waves Festival @ The Distillery – Luminato 2009

June 6th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Been working at the New Waves Festival in the Distillery during Luminato.  This has been organized by the Young Centre, and has been loads of fun.  Here’s a nice mention from EYE WEEKLY where I’m identified as a musician from Toca Loca and The Walter Haul.  Nice to know that my rock star past still lives on in the memories of hip indie writers.

National Post writeup of Music for 6008 Spokes

December 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Jun 7, 2008

Under a threatening sky, about 100 cyclists gathered last Saturday at the track field of King Edward Public School. They braved a downpour that held off just long enough for them to create a double-bill performance of Mauricio Kagel’s musical composition Eine Brise for 111 cyclists, plus Toronto choreographer Julia Aplin’s Bicycle Ballet, set to music by John Gzowski. The event, titled Music for 6,008 Spokes, was conceived by musician Gregory Oh for the SoundaXis festival of new music.

To open, an assortment of cyclists performed the experimental Eine Brise, which consisted of riders taking stately circles around the track to chants, whirs, ululations and, of course, bicycle bells, mixed with the sounds of passing airplanes, rising wind in the trees and ominous growls of low thunder.

The volunteer performers seemed to grow braver with each revolution; eventually adding whoops, snorts and operatic trills. The effect resembled some sort of alien whale song. The performers didn’t quite add

up to 111. “If you count tandems, I think we were close to 60,” estimated Oh. Nonetheless, he was “thrilled” with the results.

As the sedate ensemble pedalled off the field, they were replaced by a more energetic pack of 16 young performers from a troupe called DancESAtion, based at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. Dressed in an array of tutus, sequins, tiaras and pink wardrobe pieces, they rode their way through Bicycle Ballet. It resembled a cross between synchronized swim and the Mounties’ Musical Ride, with an interpolated bike-bell performance of the Blue Danube Waltz (spontaneously assisted by numerous audience members).

Although Oh won’t promise a repeat performance, he is contemplating further bike-related music projects: “Toronto is becoming more and more a bike city, so I think we’re going to be seeing more bike art.”

SoundaXis ( to June 15.

Credit: Sarah B. Hood; National Post

Going on tour with Continuum, Nov 08

November 10th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ll be conducting Continuum on their upcoming tour of Europe, which should be plenty fun. We’re playing a kickoff at the music gallery on November 11th, and then we’re off to Amsterdam, Aberdeen, Huddersfield and a few other places inbetween. I’m especially excited about performing at the Muziekgebouw.

Nice mention in Toronto Star CD Review

November 10th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

John Terauds of the Toronto Star gave me a nice shout out in a very generous review of the recent Centrediscs release, “So You Want to Write a Fugue”. This is a live recording of a concert that about ten pianists did at Glenn Gould Studio featuring ten newly commissioned works. I played a prelude and fugue by Andre Ristic that you can listen to on my A/V page.