Program Notes: Shawn Mativetsky and Marie-Hélène Breault at Bar Robo, Ottawa, March 18th 2017



Program Notes

Shawn Mativetsky (tabla) and Marie–Hélène Breault (flute)

at Bar Robo, Ottawa

March 18th, 2017, 8pm


Tabla Solo in Teentaal Traditional, arr. Shawn Mativetsky

Something to Say (2014) Tawnie Olson

Farmaishi (2003) Payton MacDonald

Coil (2013) Taylor Brook WORLD PREMIERE

Shadow Play (2007) Jim Hiscott (Canada)


Traditional, arr. Shawn Mativetsky - Tabla Solo in Teentaal
Tabla solo, with harmonium accompaniment

In the Benares baaj (style), the art of solo tabla performance is greatly respected and very highly developed. There are more than twenty forms of composition in use, many of them unique to this tradition. Some are theme and variation forms which require spontaneous improvisation by the performer, while many others involve sophisticated compositional techniques with fixed pieces handed down from generation to generation. In addition, there is a well defined procedure for joining the various types of compositions to form a logical and pleasing performance. The solo also includes vocal recitation of tabla compositions, using the traditional 'solfege' syllables called bol.

A tabla solo is traditionally played in a sixteen beat taal, a rhythmic cycle, known as Teentaal. Throughout the performance, an aural outline of this taal is maintained by means of a cyclic melody known as a lehra, performed on harmonium.

Tawnie Olson - Something to Say (2014)

John Cage once famously declared “I have nothing to say, and I am saying it.” As I was writing this piece, I wondered what the opposite of Cage’s statement would be, and thought it might be “I have something to say, but I am not saying it.” I think the latter statement describes how we often relate to one another. I know that when people say things to me that hurt or upset me, I can have difficulty responding; I might be too upset to speak, or worried about overreacting, and decide to say nothing.

As part of the process of composing “Something to Say,” I wrote down some things said to me by family, friends, and colleagues. Since none of these things were recorded at the time they were spoken, Shawn and I asked friends to read and record these phrases. (For the record: none of these readers believe what I asked them to say!) I used these recordings in this piece, and I also borrowed from a genre of traditional tabla music, called “bol paran,” in which the tabla imitates the sound of human speech. If you listen carefully, after you hear a recorded voice you’ll often hear Shawn reproduce part of the spoken phrase on his instruments.

I am so grateful to Shawn Mativetsky for asking me to write this piece, and for playing it so beautifully. It is dedicated to him and to Equality Now.

Payton MacDonald - Farmaishi (2003)

A farmaishi tukra is a special composition for tabla that has unique structural characteristics. MacDonald uses two farmaishi tukras from the Benares tabla tradition as the starting point for this piece. The first is in subdivisions of four (or eight), whereas the second is subdivided into groupings of seven. When these compositions are recontextualized within the context of Western music, we hear their personalities, their peculiarities anew, like an old friend who suddenly changes his appearance or personality.

Taylor Brook - Coil (2013)

Coil, for solo tabla and tape, was written for Shawn Mativetsky. The tape part for Coil was made in the Winter of 2013 and was produced with a custom-made computer-improvisation program of my own creation. After making an extensive sample library of an acoustic guitar, a MAX/MSP patch was created that improvises pitches based on probability curves. What is unusual about this program is that it understands pitch as interval and may call upon a rich palette of extended just intonation ratios. After writing the rhythms of the solo tabla part, these notes were elaborated upon and fed into the computer improviser to create a kind of extended rhythmic unison.

Jim Hiscott - Shadow Play (2007)

In Shadow Play, composer Jim Hiscott took his inspiration from Balinese shadow puppet theatre and married it with the Benares tabla tradition. The flute and tabla chase after each other in playful fashion, with each in turn taking on the role of soloist and accompanist.


This concert was presented by Ottawa New Music Creators. Find us at,, and for the latest concert season news.

Our thanks to the City of Ottawa for their ongoing support. 

Time Andres to host Composition Workshop at University of Ottawa November 28th

On Monday, Nov. 28, at 1:00 in Perez building room 305, the University of Ottawa Music Department will have their second Composer Talk, featuring Timo Andres from New York City. Mr. Andres is a very successful composer and pianist who is in town as part of the celebration of Phillip Glass at the NAC this weekend.

And, don't forget: ONMC's first concert of the year is next Friday, Dec 2nd, featuring the cutting-edge cello duo VC2. Come early and meet fellow composers, performers, and new music supports in the relaxed environment at Pressed Café. Get your tickets today - just $10.


New Season!

See our new landing page for all the details about our first concert of the 2016-17 season with powerhouse cello duo, VC2.



Program – Pft Trio!


Daniel Mehdizadeh* (b.1987-) - Scherzo for piccolo/flute, tuba, piano (2015)

**World premiere

Commissioned by the ONMC

Glenn Smith - Forowen for alto flute, tuba (1972)

Glenn Smith - Forowen 2 for C flute, tuba (1979)

Glenn Smith - Forowen 3 for piccolo, tuba (1979)

Derek Horemans* (b.1988-) - Folding Paper Cranes for flute, tuba, piano (2016) 

**World premiere

Daniel Pilon* (b.1957-) - La Claoune for piccolo, tuba (1979, corrected 1988) 


Sundar Subramanian* - When It Was OK for flute, tuba, prepared piano (2015)

**World premiere

Selected from the ONMC’s call for scores

Daniel Mehdizadeh - Flute Sonata for flute, piano (2012)

Daniel Mehdizadeh - Baron Cimetiere for tuba, piano (2015)

Claire Polin (1926-1995) - The Death of Procris (studies after a painting by Piere di Cosimo) for flute, tuba (1972-73)

1. Background

2. Foreground

Tibor Polgar* (1907-1993) - The Dwarf and the Giant (A Fairy Tale in Music) for piccolo, tuba, piano (1987)

*indicates Canadian composer

Call for Executive and Artistic Directors (2017-19): Deadline September 1, 2016

Ottawa New Music Creators is pleased to announce a call for the positions of Artistic and Executive Director, respectively, for a two-year term beginning May 2017.

The Artistic Director will be responsible for all season programming decisions. The Executive Director is responsible for all marketing and communications, grant writing, fiscal management, and other details related to the upkeep of this non-profit organization.

Both positions currently receive an honorarium of $750 per year, with the opportunity for increase.

Incorporated in 2008, Ottawa New Music Creators is a  non-profit with a strong, seven-member Board of Directors and two staff paid by honoraria. It presents 5-7 concerts each season with the support of the City of Ottawa. 

Cover letters, CVs, and questions may be forwarded to The deadline for submission is September 1st, 2016.




Opportunity: Toronto Creative Music Lab – Deadline March 11, 2016

Sponsored by 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media & Education and the Canadian Music Centre – Ontario Region, Toronto Creative Music Lab 2016 is presented as an extension of the chamber music collective Musica Reflecta’s Opus: Testing program. Musica Reflecta Co-Director William Callaghan is a lead organizer of TCML, and is working in partnership with saxophonist Olivia Shortt, and composer Jason Doell. The Lab will be held from this year from June 19 – 24.

From the website: 

TCML 2016 will be held from June 19-24 between two Toronto venues: 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media & Education (our primary location) and the Canadian Music Centre’s Chalmers House (our secondary location). 30 participants will be selected from the pool of applicants, consisting of 10 composers and 20 musicians. Participants will be organized into working groups consisting of 1 composer and 1-3 musicians. The members of each working group will be  put into contact with each other prior to arriving at TCML. Based on discussion prior to the lab, the composer in the group will write a piece for their collaborators. Once at TCML, the working group will be given a rehearsal schedule that will afford ample time to rehearse and rework the piece before it is performed in concert.
Over the course of TCML 2016, participants can expect 4 professional development sessions, 6 hours of rehearsals distributed through the week (with the possibility to book more rehearsal time), an open rehearsal with all of the participants presenting their work for the purpose of constructive critical dialogue, communal meals, extra-curricular activities, and a public concert that is professionally recorded and livestreamed internationally. Further details outlining the invited guests will follow soon.
TCML 2016 is a peer-mentored education event where every activity is delivered by people in the early stages of their careers. For TCML, early career is not determined by age but encompasses a broad spectrum; from first-year music students to folks exploring music later in life. TCML believes that the knowledge we gain from established artists needs to be complemented by the knowledge we gain from sharing our experiences with one another.

Prospective applicants (musicians and composers) can learn more and apply here.

Review: "An immersion in music from Pauline Oliveros and friends"

Alayne McGregor,

The music, almost eerie in feel, flowed from one side of the church to the other, as musicians took up and put down their instruments, each adding tonality or textures in response to another. Growls on trumpet and barks on trombone underlined the airiness of the flute and the light wails on erhu and cello. It reminded me of a large lake, with ripples appearing and disappearing on the surface. [...] I was particularly impressed with how well Weinroth-Browne's cello and Tung's erhu complemented each other [...] the two moved from almost classical romantic sounds to their antithesis in quick succession. [...] There was a dead silence for well over a minute and then, as the musicians relaxed their stances on stage, the audience rose for an extended standing ovation.

Read the full review here.

Happy New Year


Thanks to everyone to went to a show, worked with us, performed, wrote music, and *listened* to us to make 2015 ONMC's most exciting and dynamic year yet. 

Earlier this year, our 2014-15 season was punctuated by Andrew Burn and Jennifer Thiessen's historical basson and viola d'amore, respectively (playing a 100% Ottawa program) in February, an audacious and sold-out talk/ performance/ screening of the sonic style of Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman with Alexis Luko, Matt Morel (cello and electronics), and Adam Saikaley (piano and electronics), at the Mayfair Theatre in March, and finally an amazing season closer by Jen McLachlen (flute) and Sarah Albu (voice).

How does one follow this up? We think we delivered, beginning with a judicious pairing of Esmerine with Ottawa locals Musk Ox and The Visit at the Mercury Lounge in September. We welcomed Suzanne Binet-Audet (ondes Martenot) and Gilles Gobeil at the Gallery Studios in early November – Binet-Audet's 7th generation instrument being only one of about sixty in active use in the world today. Things tooks a turn towards the improvisatory with Huei Lin (saxophone) and Shahriyar Jamshidi (kamanche) at the Raw Sugar Cafe – which, sadly, will be closing soon. We're glad to have been able to stage a show there beforehand.

2016 looks to be no less thrilling. In a few short weeks we will welcome Ottawa native Pierre-Yves Martel (viola da gamba) as well as Ben Grossman (hurdy-gurdy), and we are partnering with the Ottawa New Music Network for their 2016 forum to bring the legendary Pauline Oliveros to town (stay tuned on that one). After a short break, April features two excisitng events: a return to the Mayfair Theatre for a talk/performance/screening on the late Ottawa National Film Board composer Eldon Rathburn (featuring music by Petr Cancura and friends, and a discussion with Dr. James Wright, Carleton University), and the intentionally unusual trio of Daniel Mehdizadeh (piano), Casey Granofsky (flute), and Andrew Nowry (tuba). And – who knows what else 2016 will bring?

As always, all shows at $10 at the door or on Eventbrite.

Have a great NYE.

– CP

Show Alert: new Ottawa string quartet, Ironwood, at the Record Centre – This Sunday, December 13 at 5pm/ Free

Ironwood, Ottawa's new "take-no-prisoners" string quartet, plays a set of new music for string quartet at The Record Centre, Sunday, December 13th at 5pm.  Stop by to hear killer music by Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner (The National), and Ana Sokolovic. Expect a performance full of energy, driving rhythms, trance-inducing journeys - string playing like you have never heard before. 

Ironwood is Jessica Linnebach and Carissa Klopoushak (violins), Julia MacLaine (cello), and David Marks (viola), a quartet of curious musicians who spend most (but not all) of their musical time playing with the NAC orchestra.


NYO Canada awarded the 2015 Friends of Canadian Music Award, shares prize with Ottawa composer Chris Goddard

The Canadian League of Composers:

21 OCTOBER 2015 (Toronto) – The Canadian League of Composers (CLC) and the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) are pleased to announce the National Youth Orchestra of Canada as the recipient of the 2015 Friends of Canadian Music Award. The annual Friends of Canadian Music Award is a joint venture between the CLC and the CMC honouring those who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Canadian composers and their music. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of $2,000.

Each year, the recipient is asked to split the award with an emerging composer of their choice. After careful deliberation, NYO Canada has chosen to share this honour with composer Christopher Goddard. The joint awards will be presented to NYO Canada and Chris Goddard on November 17, 6:00 pm, at the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St Joseph St, Toronto.  This event is free but space is limited.


Ottawa New Music Creators was pleased to present a program featuring Chris Goddard, with trombonist Felix Del Tredici, as part of the 2014-15 concert series. Congratulations, Chris!