Composer Spotlight: Emily Gray

As part of our project to update our syllabus we are adding new works for brass and percussion. We would like to feature some of the composers that we are adding and help promote their hard work. Meet Emily Gray:

Emily Gray is a clarinetist, composer, and music arranger from Montreal. She studied at McGill University and her work “On the Lake” for horn will be featured on our syllabus in the junior category. Please feel invited to check out her other pieces as well.

Thank you Emily for your work!

New Work Collaboration: Rogue Duo and Composer Eugene Astapov

Saman Shahi, pianist and composer and Violinist Bijan Sepanji have been an unstoppable force since joining together as a duo in 2018 with their multitude of performances in Canada as well as Iran in 2018 and it continues to grow a unique and attractive repertoire. While the duo has a rich and diverse repertoire, the group takes pride especially in commissioning and promoting works by emerging composers.

Rogue Duo was also resident ensemble at the University of Tehran in 2018 for a series of performances and masterclasses. Since its inception the group has also performed in Timothy Eaton’s World Music series (2019), Tirgan Festival (2019), Sarv Academy’s Nachtmusik series (2018), as well as independent recitals around the city. The duo Princess Margaret Centre’s Online noon series (2021), ICOT’s “Reboot” (2021) As well as Wilfrd Laurier University’s Noon Hour concert series (2022) .

Since the start of the pandemic, the duo has also been active in recording, performing online in collaboration with local Toronto artists. One of these collaboration, which was a dedication to the
victims of the 752 Ukrainian fight was featured on Voice of America and so far has received over 12K views across social media platforms.

The variety in Rogue duo’s repertoire is its core strength. The group performs avant-garde contemporary music, classical music, as well as arrangements of popular, folk and world music. The duo is committed to commissioning and performing new Canadian music especially by emerging composers.

Now the duo is working with Ukrainian composer living in Toronto Eugene Astapov to create a new work and would appreciate your help making this work a success. The Rogue Duo is going on tour in Ontario this November and will be featuring newly commissioned works by Iranian and Ukrainian composers.

From Composer Eugene Astapov:

To all the supporters of Canadian New Music, I wish to send warm summer greetings, as we
are nearing the beginning of another concert season and academic year with many exciting
events happening across the country. From coast to coast Classical music organizations are
dedicating more resources to the commissioning and performance of contemporary Canadian
repertoire and creating more exposure opportunities for the diverse young generation of
composers emerging from every corner of the country. Canada’s major symphony orchestras,
such as the Toronto Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the National Arts Centre, new music
organizations such as Esprit Orchestra and Soundstreams are all coming out with innovative
programming and showcasing the vast array of talent Canada has to offer. It is due to the
tireless work of a number of associations and alliances who spent years fighting for the
representation of talent in Canada’s illustrious institutions, with one such organization being
the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects.

One such initiative, the Contemporary Showcase, has recognized some of the most gifted
composers who have recently emerged in the Classical music scene over the decades and I
fondly remember receiving an award as a young music student from Toronto’s Earl Haig
Secondary School. These awards encourage young students to pursue their discovery of
contemporary music and engage with challenging music they otherwise would not encounter.
The initiatives of the ACNMP are far-reaching, including the commissioning of contemporary
compositions. As a young student at the Eastman School, I was fortunate to receive one of my
earliest commissions from the ACNMP, a small work for guitar, and peculiarly enough it ended
up being one of my most performed works! It has been commercially released twice on the
streaming platforms as recently as last fall by the American guitarist Trevor Babb.

With all the wonderful work the ACNMP is doing assisting composers and Canadian
musicians I would like to thank the Alliance for once again promoting my music and I wanted to
take this opportunity to talk about the new project I’m working on with the Rogue Duo. It is a
short piece for Violin and Piano entitled Utterings, and it is a reactionary work to everything
that’s going on in the world right – wars, uprisings, people suffering from the cost of living
crisis, forest fires and air quality; this work will be an inferno of aggressive passages and
explosive chords. Since the piece is designed to last only 5 minutes, I plan to use that timeframe
to create the most effective and impactful musical material for audience to remember.
I would like to wish everyone a happy and restful end of summer holidays and hoping to see
you all soon at the concert halls!
Eugene Astapov

If you would like to help with this commission please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Saman Shahi!

Composer Spotlight: Michael Nunes

As part of our project to update our syllabus we are adding new works for brass and percussion. We would like to feature some of the composers that we are adding and help promote their hard work. Meet Michael Nunes:

Michael Nunes is a Canadian composer and horn player from Sherwood Park, Alberta. He has performed as a soloist with the Hannaford Street Silver Band alongside Jens Lindemann, and at summer festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Brott Music Festival. Previous commissions include the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. He is a current substitute musician with the New World Symphony. Michael holds a BMus from the University of Toronto, and is pursuing an MMus degree at The Juilliard School studying with Erik Ralske.

His works Quixotic Fantasy (for solo horn), Vast (for horn and electronics), and Sonata (for Tuba and Piano) are being added to our syllabus. You can also follow Michael on instagram: @michaelnunesmusic

Thank you for your work Michael!