Massey College Music Club

The Music Club meets after dinner, twice each term, to explore the creation and performance of music across different cultures and in different times. Programming is decided by a committee of Junior and Senior Fellows, alumni, and Quadrangle Society members. It is eclectic and varied, and is intended to be both entertaining and enlightening.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
The art of song: classic treasures, new directions
with Lawrence Wiliford and Stephen Philcox

From the glories of Schubert lieder, through the enchanting chansons of Debussy, to some of the most exciting songs of today’s young composers, this is an exploration of art song from the Romantic era down to our own time. This ever-popular genre is a true marriage of the arts – beautiful poetry set to beautiful music – in which each illuminates the other and opens worlds of understanding and discovery.
Lawrence Wiliford is one of Canada’s leading tenors, acclaimed for his luminous projection, lyrical sensitivity and brilliant coloratura. He has sung with orchestras and opera companies throughout North America, and collaborated on numerous recording projects. His recording, Britten: Divine Musick (works for tenor and harp) was nominated by the International Classical Music Awards for Best Vocal Recital CD. He has recently released O Gladsome Light, a recording of songs by Rubbra, Holst and Vaughan Williams.
Pianist Stephen Wilcox is a frequent partner of Canada’s vocal elite, and is regarded as one of this country’s finest musical collaborators. He is the head of the collaborative piano department at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and is in demand as a teacher and coach throughout North America.
Wiliford and Wilcox are co-founders and directors of the Canadian Art Song Project, which advocates for and assists the performance of existing Canadian song literature, and builds on its rich legacy by engaging composers, poets, and performers to collaborate in the creation of new music.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Enchantment in the dark: music in the movies
with Erica Procunier and Adrian Ellis, moderated by Paul Hartley

From the very first silent films, music has been an integral part of movie-making. Music establishes setting, creates atmosphere, calls attention to key elements, reinforces or foreshadows narrative developments, gives meaning to a character’s actions or translates their thoughts, and creates emotional connection. Film composers come from every possible genre of music. The best of them are not only great composers, but also great collaborators, working closely with the director to elucidate the structure, meaning and emotional content of the movie.
Erica Procunier’s credits include scores for film, television, theatre, advertisement and interactive productions. Her score for the film DAM! The Story of Kit the Beaver premiered live in concert with the TSO and toured across Canada to celebrate the sesquicentennial. She scored Pat Mills’ hit misfit comedy Don’t Talk To Irene starring Geena Davis, as well as Thyrone Tommy’s critically acclaimed drama Mariner, which were both official selections at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Adrian Ellis’s feature film credits include his hybrid score for The Scarehouse, the dark orchestral Definition of Fear, starring Bollywood superstar Jacqueline Fernandez, and Taken Too Far, directed by Paul Lynch. Television credits include themes for Daily Planet (Discovery), orchestral cues for The CFL and International Hockey (TSN), and music for Canada’s long running national morning show, Canada AM (CTV). He also works in the burgeoning world of web series, and is noted for the award-winning scores for the hugely popular Out With Dad, and the sci-fi noir Haphead (Canal+).

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Into the woods: Hansel and Gretel re-invented
with Katherine Syer and Joel Ivany

Dramaturg Katherine Syer and director Joel Ivany join us to talk about their vision for the Canadian Opera Company’s production of the beloved opera Hansel and Gretel, opening February 6.
The German composer Engelbert Humperdinck had never written an opera until his sister, Adelheid Wette, asked him to compose a few songs based on the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale. She would write the words, he would pen the music, and her young daughters would perform it at their family Christmas party. The results were so delightful that Humperdinck and Wette expanded their intimate family entertainment into a full-scale opera, which premiered in 1893.
The COC’s production puts a new spin on this beloved classic, with innovative digital storytelling and video projections that spark the modern imagination, yet harken back to a time of story, adventure, and risk.
Katherine Syer has recently joined the faculty of the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA.  Previously, she was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she taught courses in dramaturgy, research methods, theatre history, opera production history, and contemporary music theatre. She was also the Director of Graduate Studies for Illinois Theatre. She has written extensively on opera, in particular the works of Wagner, and is currently working on a book about 21st-century opera.
Joel Ivany is perhaps best known as Canadian opera’s “enfant not-so-terrible” through his indie opera company Against the Grain Theatre. He is also the Artistic Director for Opera at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. He has written eight original librettos, and has directed for the Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, the Banff Centre, Minnesota Opera, and Edmonton Opera. His short film, The King’s Mask, was made for the Norwegian National Opera.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Keepers of the fire: new directions in indigenous music
with Unity

Indigenous artists are creating some of the most exciting music in Canada today, blending traditional cultures with a wide spectrum of contemporary genres to give voice to their communities, their stories, their truth.

Unity is a quartet of Indigenous women based in Peterborough. Using only percussion instruments and their own voices, they perform a mix of original contemporary music and traditional Indigenous songs, with their own haunting harmonies.

Barb Rivett, Joeann Argue, Brenda Maracle-O’Toole and Heather Shpuniarsky first joined forces in 2005. Since then they have performed throughout Ontario. They also present music and storytelling workshops as part of Indigenous cultural awareness programmes, and they were artists in residence at Mount Allison University for two years. They are affectionately known as the Trent University house band, performing Honour songs at convocations each year.

In recent years they have been working with classical composers and musicians, creating exciting new works that blend Indigenous music with classical composition.

This event is a collaboration with the Massey College Chapel Royal Symposium. Scheduled this year for March 26, it will focus on music as a path to communication and reconciliation. Further details will be announced soon.