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Coast X Coast : Electroacoustic Lecture and Recital

Coast x Coast - Poster copy

CMC BC and ICICS are proud to present this free lecture and recital of electroacoustic compositions. Four electroacoustic composers, hailing from coast to coast, detail their various musical practices. This lecture-recital will present four recent works, unveiling new and extended instruments, and exciting acousmatic works in 8-channel surround. Questions and discussions are welcome!


Brian Garbet – Mockingbird (excerpt)
Jeremy Hartmann – Dysthymia
Yota Kobayashi – Shikiso
James O’Callaghan – Objects-Interiors

Date: August 13 2013

Location: CMC BC Creative Hub, 837 Davie St, Vancouver, BC

Time: 7pm

Price: FREE

August 13, 2013
7:00 pm
7:00 pm
7:00 pm

CMC Associate Composers’ Pieces was Chosen by the Piano Pinnacle’s Competition

Works by CMC Associate Composers in the Piano Pinnacle Competition

Works by CMC Associate Composers, Diane Chouinard, Frank Levin and John Oliver are among the chosen compositions in the Piano Pinnacle competition, for their August 27th concert at the Roy Barnett Recital Hall.

The following are the selected works for the performance on August 27, 2011, 8pm, at the Roy Barnett Recital Hall (alphabetical order):
John Baker – Four Beads
John Alexander Blyth – Duo Urge
Diane Chouinard – Duo Scherzino
Craig Day – Off to the Races
Frank Levin – Taraval Street Rag
James O’Callaghan – Aquifer
John Oliver – Teaser #1
Martin Ritter – Overdrive
Drew Redman – Clothed to Naked Eye
Saman Shahi – Nasim


SFU Graduating Composers Concert 2010

SFU Graduating Composers Concert 2010

10 December 2010. 8:00 PM

Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre
Simon Fraser University
149 West Hastings Ave
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4
click for a map

As the graduating class of the Simon Fraser University music composition programme, we invite you to join us for an evening of exciting new chamber music and art song.
The concert is a cross-section of different ensembles and styles, representing the diversity and uniqueness of the contemporary music being created at SFU. The event will run approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, including an intermission.
Admission by donation. (Suggested amount: $5)
This event is presented by the School for the Contemporary Arts and the Music Student Union and is sponsored by the Simon Fraser Student Society.


Mark Ferris, violin
Reg Quiring, viola
Peggy Lee, cello
AK Coope, clarinet
Rachel Iwaasa, piano
Paul Nash, bass-baritone

String Trio

I Kant Drew Redman
Unsung Ted Hamilton
Splintering James O’Callaghan
Suite for String Trio (Op. 43) Vincent Lo

Clarinet in Bb, Violin, Cello and Piano
Carapace James O’Callaghan
In Solid and Shade Drew Redman
The Boys Ted Hamilton

Art Song Baritone and Piano
ACT! James O’Callaghan
Do Sink (5.) Ted Hamilton
I Do Not Progress Vincent Lo


Thoughts on Social Activism and New Music

Louis Andriessen wrote in his program note to De Staat about his intention to contrast  the notion that, “composing [is] above social conditioning”. The text of the piece is derived from Plato’s Republic, wherein certain modes of music are claimed to threaten the state. The last lines of Andriessen’s note are, “My second reason for writing De Staat is a direct contradiction of the first… If only it were true that musical innovation could change the laws of the State!”

While it is likely true that the political world is impervious to particular scales and other such abstract musical elements, there are aspects of music for which it may be possible to enter the greater social realm. This type of music moves beyond any feeling or cognitive stimulation to a revelation for change.

Music and dance are both art forms which may have a degree of abstraction in their nature not always seen as prominent in other art forms. At times in visual art  a work can easily instill meaning through its immediate presentation. Music is often praised for its ‘purity’ in this regard.  Through much of history, it has been unfashionable for music to be created in a way that is ‘programmatic’ as there are elements beyond program notes and titles that can speak to the wider audience of the world. Whether sung or spoken, text is the most prevalent example of this.

When we think of music for social change, we often think of revolutionary song or protest song, but here it is not just the the text conveying the message, the musical parameters work in tandem to create new meaning.  In Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together he borrows text from the journal of an Attica prisoner written just before the brutal riots of 1971. Not only in the text does this piece convey  the political message, but also through the shaping of phrases, their fragmentation and repetition. The dizzying, fractured – yet relentlessly continuous – instrumental material augments and transforms the words.

Beyond these musical parameters, abstract musical elements can have referential qualities in order to deliver a message. Another Rzewski piece, The People United Will Never Be Defeated! is a set of variations on the theme from the revolutionary Chilean song by Inti Illimani. The text of the song is removed in Rzewski’s variations, however because the melody has an indexical relationship to this within, its divorced presentation, subsequent transformation and juxtaposition against other material carries new meaning.

In contrast to the text is sound which has a referential quality in itself. It is difficult to to hear an anvil in a piece without calling to mind its image of production, or a snare drum without an image of the military. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture famously features cannons in the final movement; but in most contemporary productions imitations are used instead, with timpani or other percussive effects. In this case, a substitution still has the referential quality desired.  In electroacoustic music, the referential qualities of sound are available with great facility and yet, the imagistic qualities in sound are very much an untapped resource for composers. These tools can be employed to create rich communicative webs even to revolutionary ends.

Author: James O’Callaghan

Student, BA Music, SFU


The Redshift Music Society, the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers present


When: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 @ 8pm, Composer Chat at 6pm
Where: Rotunda, Vancouver Art Gallery, (750 Hornby Street)

On June 7th, patrons of the Vancouver Art Gallery will be immersed in sound as they set foot into the gallery’s four-storey rotunda. Hidden in alcoves and peering over balconies, the musicians of the Negative Zed Ensemble will perform new music by three emerging BC composers: Elizabeth Knudson, James O’Callaghan and Christopher Reiche. The Sabine Equation will feature new works written especially for the rotunda’s unique acoustic properties, directly inspired by the current exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In keeping with the VAG exhibition The Colour of My Dreams: Surrealism and Revolution in Art, the music for this event will be haunting, ethereal…. and occasionally very bizarre. This event takes place on a Tuesday, when entry to the gallery is by donation.

Founded in 2002, the Redshift Music Society is dedicated to the fostering of music by Canadian composers, and presenting events in unconventional venues that are free-to-the public. The Sabine Equation is presented in conjunction with the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers as part of the Composer Mentoring Program.

Elizabeth Knudson

James O’Callaghan

Christopher Reiche


June 7, 2011
8:00 pm



of new music

March 24 – 27, 2011

Tickets: $25 regular / $15 students, seniors and artists
Festival Pass: $60
Available at the door, cash only

Schedule of Events

Thursday, March 24, 7:30PM
Lafayette String Quartet, other artists

Mark Armanini Two Songs / Same Lyric
Annette Brosin Impacts
Craig Day
* Musaic
Moshe Denburg
* Bright Red Ruby
Elizabeth Knudson
P’tits chansons d’amour
James O’Callaghan
ACT! A setting of the USA Patriot Act
R Murray Schafer
* String Quartet No. 11
Chris Sivak
Jazz Surgery
Joël Tibbits
* A Membrane of Flight


March 24, 2011
March 25, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 27, 2011