Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition
2016 Winner’s Tour

About the Competition
The Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition is the most important annually held contemporary music competition for exceptional emerging Canadian performing artists in piano, voice, and strings.

Established in 1976, the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (commonly called the E-Gré Competition) discovers, develops, and promotes exceptional young Canadian performing musicians who show artistic proficiency, knowledge, and keen interest in Canadian and international repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Young artists, alternating annually among piano, voice, and string categories, perform for two panels of nationally and internationally distinguished juries in three levels of competition.

For the 40th anniversary of the E-Gré competition, we are pleased to share a change in the competition’s semi-final and final rounds. After the preliminary round, where applicants submit recordings for blind review by three independent jurors, 6 will be selected to attend the competition weekend at Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba, and perform two full recitals one in the semi-final round and one in the final round. The semi-final and final rounds are live recitals performed BU’s exquisite Lorne Watson Recital Hall for an esteemed panel of jurors and enthusiastic audience members. All recitals are streamed live for national and international audiences.

The jury members also offer master classes to the competitors and talented musicians from the community on the final day of the competition. Other weekend highlights include the Gala concert performed by the jurors, as well as the commissioned composer’s presentation attended by the competitors, local musicians and composers, and enthusiastic audience members. Shortly after the competition, the winner performs recitals during a 3-week residency at the prestigious Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy before the cross-Canada winner’s tour in November.

For 39 years, the annual E-Gré Competition & Winner’s National Tour have played a significant role in the early careers of Canadian performers recognized nationally and internationally for their achievements in music. E-Gré prize-winners include Officers of the Order of Canada Jon Kimura Parker, Ben Heppner, Louise Bessette, and James Ehnes.

The E-Gré Competition fosters the creation of new music by leading Canadian composers by commissioning a test piece each year. Through the creation of 35 new works and encouraging the performance of Canadian compositions since 1976, the E-Gré Competition is helping to build a musical cultural legacy for Canada.

**Matt Poon – piano – performing at the Winnipeg Art Gallery at 2 pm on November 20th 2016**

Matt Poon, piano


Pianist and composer Matt Poon advocates music of our time by performing, creating, researching, and improvising. His dedication has granted him awards and scholarships including the first prize and prize for best performance of commissioned work in the Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition, the first prize in the American String Quartet Composition Competition, the first prize in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Open Call for Works Competition, and during his studies at the University of Toronto, the Glenn Gould Compositional Award, the William Erving Fairclough Graduating Scholarship, and the Kathleen Walls Memorial Scholarship Fund.
As a pianist, Mr. Poon specializes in music of the 20th and 21st centuries, including repertoire requiring extended techniques. As a former member of Tactus and gamUT, Mr. Poon premiered works by Hong Kong composers at the Manhattan-Hong Kong festival, performed works by living composers including Paul Moravec, Bill Ryan, Paula Matthusen, Joseph Schwantner, and the Bang-On-A-Can composers, and worked under the direction of Jeff Milarsky, Gary Kulesha, Wallace Halladay, and Norbert Palej. Mr. Poon has given a lecture-performance on Ligeti Etudes at the Manhattan School of Music. As a composer, his music has been performed by the American String Quartet, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra.
Mr. Poon holds a M.Mus. in Piano Performance and a M.Mus. in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, and a B.Mus. from the University of Toronto. His major mentors include Anthony Demare, Carol Ann Aicher, Midori Koga, Brian Current, Roger Bergs, and Chan Ka Nin.
www.mattpoon.com

Concert Programme

Shimmering Blue Glass (2014) – Matt Poon* (b.1986 )
Études pour piano, premier livre (1985) – György Ligeti (1923 – 2006)

Étude 5: Arc-en-ciel
Étude 6: Automne à Varsovie

Music for John Cage (1990) – Linda Catlin Smith* (b. 1957)
For Udo Kaemets (2000)

Mirari (2016) *2016 E-Gré Commissioned Work* – Jeffrey Ryan* (b. 1962)

(This is a) Work of Fiction
The Invention of Zero
Spring Tide
Gondwana (Bunda Cliffs)
Acromion
Platypus
Gegenschein

~intermission~

Prélude et Fugue (2007) – André Ristic* (b.1972)

After Schumann I (2008) – Chris Paul Harman* (b. 1970)

Nowth Upon Nacht (for voice and piano) (1984) – John Cage (1912 – 1992)

Piano Mechanics (1981-86) – Gordon Monahan* (b. 1956)
9: Fingers and Arms Becoming Four Hands

* Indicates Canadian works

Program Notes

Shimmering Blue Glass (2014) – Matt Poon* (b.1986 )

This work is inspired by Integral House (located in Toronto): the Blue Glass Staircase, the acoustics of the Salon Performance Space, as well as the overall architecture. The work was premiered in 2014 at Integral House and was featured as music in a short video clip on Integral House on the Globe and Mail website.
The tinted glass tile at the Blue Glass Staircase reflects off different shades of blue depending time of the day, and the lighting angle and intensity. It is at times dark and intense, and at times light and crisp.
The harmony driven by the ever-changing reflection off of the blue tinted glass tile. The use of the sostenuto pedal gives of an acoustic effect similar to a reverb, which replicates the acoustic of the salon space. The overall grandeur and architecture of Integral House is reflected in the form of the piece, and in the use of the entire range of the piano through gradual expansion.

Études pour piano, premier livre (1985) – György Ligeti (1923 – 2006)

Étude 5: Arc-en-ciel [Rainbow]
Étude 6: Automne à Varsovie [Autumn in Warsaw]
Between 1985-2001, Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti composed three volumes of Études for Piano containing a total of 18 études. In his article “On my Études for Piano”, he mentioned four major inspirations: 1) Colon Nancarrow’s player piano studies, 2) Central African music (polyrhythm and additive metres), 3) hemiola in Chopin’s and Schumann’s music, and 4) fractals and the chaos theory.
Étude 5 “Arc-en-ciel” [Rainbow] is one of the most expressive étude out of the set. This étude is constructed with chords that are prominent in jazz music: major 7th and minor 7th chords. Similar to the other études from the set, the composer made use of the entire register of the piano. In the top voice, there are short chromatic descending lines—a motive that is found throughout the entire set of Études.
Inspired by the political tension in Poland in the 80s, Étude 6 “Automne à Varsovie” [Autumn in Warsaw] contains falling chromatic melodic lines which were used to portray torment and agony dated all the way to the Baroque era. The composer set up a steady and constant 16th-note pulse with accents on every third, fourth, fifth, or seventh 16th-note in different individual lines. In result, there is an illusion of multiple tempos occurring simultaneously. This idea is derived from Nancarrow’s player piano studies, most of which contain very complex polyrhythm in result of multiple lines with different metronome markings.
— Programme note by Matt Poon

Music for John Cage (1990) – Linda Catlin Smith* (b. 1957)
Composers like J.S. Bach and Dmitri Shostakovich (German: Schostakowitsch) had used letters of their names (B-A-C-H—German note names that spell Bb-A-C-B, and D-S-C-H—first name initial “D” and the first three letters of his last name, which spell D-Eb-C-B) to construct motives in their works. It is a device known as musical signature or musical cryptogram. To pay homage to John Cage, Toronto-based composer Linda Catlin Smith took this compositional idea a step further by constructing the entire piece based on the pitches C-A-G-E in Music for John Cage. With the limited pitch choice, the composer explores different voicing and spacing of these pitches. The composer decided to slightly alter these pieces by a semitone (C#-A#-G#-E#) only at the very end of the piece.
For Udo Kaemets (2000)
Paying homage to Udo Kasemets, an Estonian-born Canadian composer and one of the first composers to adopt the compositional methods of John Cage, Linda Catlin Smith creates a calm atmosphere by limiting to slight variations of the rhythm. Within the simplicity, polyrhythm is used and the ending section in further reduced into six pitches in scalar form.
— Programme note by Matt Poon

Mirari (2016) *2016 E-Gré Commissioned Work* – Jeffrey Ryan* (b. 1962)

(This is a) Work of Fiction
The Invention of Zero
Spring Tide
Gondwana (Bunda Cliffs)
Acromion
Platypus
Gegenschein

“We should always endeavour to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception. We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse. We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.” (G.K. Chesterton)

“Mirari” is a Latin word meaning “to marvel at”. The seven wonders that comprise this collection of miniatures for solo piano are inspired by things that amaze me: the complex interconnected systems of the body (Acromion); the unknowable vastness of the universe (Gegenschein); the slow but constant movement of the continents under our feet (Gondwana (Bunda Cliffs)); the elegance of mathematics (The Invention of Zero); the diversity of lifeforms, each as evolutionally advanced as it has ever been (Platypus); the visible power and effect of the Sun and Moon (Spring Tide); and the infinite ability of human imagination to create entire new worlds ((This Is A) Work of Fiction). The seven movements of Mirari are not in a prescribed order. The performer chooses the order of the movements.
Mirari was commissioned by the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition as the imposed work for the 2016 competition.
— Programme note by the composer

Prélude et Fugue (2007) – André Ristic* (b.1972)

This Prélude & Fugue is an hommage both to J.S. Bach and to Glenn Gould (Canadian Pianist). The Prelude is almost a direct metaphor for a typical Bach prelude, but one constructed with “modern” elements, such as clusters or harsh and accented sounds. It is also completed focused on the notes found in Glenn Gould’s name: G-E-G-D. Its mechanical and somewhat maniacal style is an extrapolation of my vision of Gould’s very personal use of different types of articulation that made his playing so unpredictable. The Fugue starts as a normal two-voice polyphonic piece, with a “subject” made out of a cluster, a telephone ring, some repeated chords, a glissando and an authentic, or closed, cadence. The rest of the piece plays on these elements by combining them to create different phrases, some of which build to a certain level of exaggeration. And after a brief stretto, the piece builds, on repeated chords, like a piece of lugubrious funeral music – a reminder to myself that one day I will also be a dead composer and a dead pianist.
— Programme note by the composer
(This work was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio 2 to pay tribute to Glenn Gould on what would have been his 75th birthday. In order to protect the hands, the pianist wears gloves during performance.)

After Schumann I (2008) – Chris Paul Harman* (b. 1970)
After Schumann 1 (2008) originated as a miniature, requested by pianist Xenia Pestova. In anticipation of the bicentennial year of Robert Schumann’s birth in 2010, a short piece, Erster Verlust (First Loss), No. 16 from Schumann’s Album für die Jugend (Album for the Young), Op. 68, was selected as source material for a musical offering lasting less than one minute. Seven further miniatures, based in whole or in part on other movements from Schumann’s cycle were composed independently, and subsequently fashioned into a quasi-continuous multi-movement work lasting approximately ten minutes.
Each of the eight movements draws from a different piece in Schumann’s cycle. A variety of different techniques reconfigures the composer’s materials-pitch, rhythm, gesture-while retaining varying degrees of similarity or dissimilarity to their original counterparts. In spite of the uninterrupted performance of these movements, their specific ordering emphasizes strong contrasts in pitch language, gesture and motion.
— Programme note by the composer

Nowth Upon Nacht (for voice and piano) (1984) – John Cage (1912 – 1992)
This work is scored for voice and piano. Many speaking pianists perform the work as a solo work. The text is taken directly from a passage on page 556 of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, an experimental fictional work known for its stream of consciousness writing style:
“nowth upon nacht, while in his tumbril Wachtman Havelook
seequeerscenes, from yonsides of the choppy, punkt by his
curserbog, went long the grassgross bumpinstrass that henders
the pubbel to pass, stowing his bottle in a hole for at whet his
whuskle to stretch ecrooksman, sequestering for lovers’ lost pro-
pertied offices the leavethings from allpurgers’ night, og gneiss
ogas gnasty, kikkers, brillers, knappers and bands, handsboon
and strumpers, sminkysticks and eddiketsflaskers;”
— Programme note by Matt Poon

Piano Mechanics (1981-86) – Gordon Monahan* (b. 1956)
9: Fingers and Arms Becoming Four Hands
Piano Mechanics is described by the composer as “a catalogue of actions and activities which approach the production of isolated acoustical resonances at the piano”. All nine movements are scored in graphic and proportional notation (in which the composer refers to the notational layout as “space equals time”). This movement, the last and the grand finale of the entire set, requires the performer to improvise on pitch choice and interpret the notation into sound.
— Programme note by Matt Poon

TOUR SCHEDULE

October 20 @ 7:30 PM – Kingston, ON
The Rehearsal Hall at The Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre, Queen’s University and New Music Kingston

November 3 @ 8:00 PM – Sackville, NB
Brunton Auditorium, Mount Allison University

November 8 @ 12:30 PM – Thunder Bay, ON
Jean McNulty Recital Hall, Lakehead University LUMINA Series

November 11 @ 8:00 PM – London, ON
The Rehearsal Hall at The Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre, Queen’s University and New Music Kingston

November 13 @ 3:00 PM – Toronto, ON
Hart House, University of Toronto

November 17 @ 7:30 PM –Montreal, QC
Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur

November 20 @ 2:00 PM – Winnipeg, MB
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg

November 21 @ 8:00 PM – Brandon, MB
Lorne Watson Recital Hall, Brandon University

November 23 @ 12:00 PM – Vancouver, BC
Roy Barnett Recital Hall, University of British Columbia

November 25 @ 12:00 PM – Calgary, AB
Eckhardt-Gramatté Recital Hall, University of Calgary