Music

Making Shanghai Spring

There are few places right now that have the electricity and the energy that is flowing through the city of Shanghai. Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of the incredible skyline that’s sprung up in record time. It’s futuristic and sleek: right out of a science fiction movie. If there is a place to be in the 21st…

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On summer camp and the Fountains of Rome

This Sunday I’m lucky enough to begin a fantastic gig: hosting CBC Radio 2’s weekly classical music performance program, In Concert. Preparing tomorrow’s show put me in mind of summer camp – and thus conjured up all kinds of feelings and recollections. Once upon a time there was a camp called Toronto Music Camp that…

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Classifying Rufus

The year I moved to Vancouver, I arrived in the middle of November. It was dark and gloomy and dreary and rainy. I did a lot of walking that month, to get to know my new neighbourhood and my new city, and my constant companion was Rufus Wainwright. I know not everyone likes Rufus Wainwright….

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America the Beautiful

Here are some of my favourite things about America: Win Butler. Big Sur. The drumming of Art Blakey. The Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago. My earliest memories, of splashing through the shallows of Cape Cod as a toddler. That list is quickly cobbled-together over a bleary Sunday morning coffee – but needless to…

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Lucrezia Borgia

Dramatic irony is one of those storytelling techniques we all learn about in high school, and I haven’t thought about it much since then – except to enjoy it, when it’s used effectively, and even then, I don’t sit there and think, “This is a really great example of dramatic irony.” But I’ve been thinking…

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The Subcontinental, Part 2: Bhangra

The Vancouver area is a bhangra hotbed. It’s one of the world’s capitals of bhangra, thanks to the large Punjabi community that has already lived here for several generations. Some of the world’s biggest bhangra stars call Surrey, BC home. And each year Vancouver hosts the City of Bhangra Festival, a celebration featuring performances, symposia,…

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The Subcontinental, Part 1: Bollywood

A couple of years ago I produced & directed two audio documentaries on the music of the Indian Subcontinent for CBC Radio in Canada and ABC Radio National in Australia. Episode 1, about the music of Bollywood, was rebroadcast today on CBC Radio across Canada. But if you missed it, fret not! You can listen…

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BC 2010 Musical Picks

This morning I had the privilege of sharing some of my favourite British Columbian 2010 music releases on CBC Radio 1’s NXNW, with the wonderful Sheryl MacKay. It’s a thrill to realize just how much great music is coming out of my home province. Hands-down my pick for Album of the Year, period, from any…

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Carmen

This Saturday, on CBC Radio’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, I’ll be presenting a Canadian Opera Company production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, starring soprano Rinat Shaham. Carmen is an opera that’s impossible not to love (in my opinion). It’s not for nothing it’s one of the most popular operas of all time. And Carmen herself…

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Chopin’s Ghost

I always like it when something opens up my ears in ways I hadn’t considered. That’s exactly what happened this week when I listened to a new piece by Gordon Monahan called A Piano Listening to Itself. Monahan’s been creating compositions for years that force us to think about how we listen – he’s swung…

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