QUEERing the air with rachel kiyo iwaasa
Sept 23, 7:30pm
An evening of music by Queer and Trans composers, performed by pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa
Featuring three exclusive world premieres, by composers Cris Derksen, Annette Brosin and Rodney Sharman!
+ works written for Rachel Iwaasa, by Leslie Uyeda, Mary Jane Coomber and Russell Wallace.
Co-presented by Canadian Music Centre BC and Queer Arts Festival + SUM gallery.
Tickets: $25 regular admission, $15 concession, free for students and First Nations patrons. All tickets proceeds will go towards Out in Schools.
Cris Derksen’s commission the bells was funded by the Canadian League of Composers as an initiative of the Canadian Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM).
Russell Wallace’s piece, A Clean Start, was named after Rachel (which means Innocent, like a lamb) and Kiyo (Pure, like clear running water). The name speaks to hope. Hope for a life washed clean of intergenerational trauma. Hope for a post-pandemic restart that has learned its lessons (that Black Lives Matter, that we are interconnected, that what happens to the most vulnerable affects everyone). Hope that as the number of unmarked graves exposed at former Residential Schools continues to rise, Canadians will learn to reconcile the difference between what we were taught and the history we can no longer deny. Hope for a way forward in shared respect, reciprocity, and responsibility.
ABOUT RACHEL KIYO IWAASA
Hailed in the press as a “keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse” (Georgia Straight) with the “emotional intensity” to take a piece “from notes on a page to a stunning work of art” (Victoria Times Colonist), Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa is recognized among Canada’s foremost contemporary music pianists. Selected to close the ISCM World New Music Days 2017 in Vancouver, Rachel has performed in the Netherlands, Germany, US and across Canada, with engagements including Muziekweek Gaudeamus, Music TORONTO, Music on Main, Vancouver New Music, Redshift, Western Front, Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony, the Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), CONTACT contemporary music (Toronto), New Works Calgary, Groundswell New Music (Winnipeg), and Vancouver Pro Musica.
Rachel has commissioned or premiered works by many of Canada’s most eminent composers, such as Hildegard Westerkamp, Rodney Sharman, Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizée, Jordan Nobles, Jeffrey Ryan, Farshid Samandari, Marci Rabe, and Emily Doolittle. One half of the acclaimed contemporary flute/piano duo Tiresias with Mark Takeshi McGregor, Rachel has also collaborated with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Judith Forst, Heather Pawsey, the Bozzini Quartet, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. Her interdisciplinary adventures have led to work with photo-based artist SD Holman, playwright/director David Bloom, choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, and multi-media provocateur Paul Wong.
ABOUT CRIS DERKSEN
Juno-nominated Cris Derksen is an internationally respected Indigenous Cellist and Composer. In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta, she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Derksen braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music.
As composer ,Derksen has a foot in many worlds. 2020 compositions include: Napi and the Rocks – A symphonic story commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; Same Wave – an 8-part choral piece, commissioned by Camerata Nova Choir; The Triumph of the Euro-Christ, an 8-part choral piece commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario. 2019 compositions include: Maada’ookii Songlines – a mass choral piece for 250 singers, commissioned by Luminato Festival; Rebellion – a short symphonic piece commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra; Iron Peggy – a theatre piece commissioned by the Vancouver Children’s Festival; and a new performance art piece commissioned by the National Art Gallery of Canada, Ikumagiialit.
Derksen performs nationally and internationally, solo and with some of Canada’s Finest, including; Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, Naomi Klein, and Leanne Simpson, to name a few. Recent performance destinations include Hong Kong, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, and a whole lot of Canada; the place Derksen refers to as home.