• Blog update!

    We haven't been posting too much on this blog, but that doesn't mean we're not active.  These days (especially on the road) we tend to do most of our text posting through Facebook and Twitter, and our pictures through FB or Instagram, as those are a little easier to use on our phones.  So like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and you'll be up-to-date with all the most recent TorQ happenings.

  • From Newfoundland to Alaska to BC in one month!

    Press release from Andrew Kwan Artists Management


    TorQ Percussion Quartet is gearing up for an ambitious February  schedule that sees them performing coast to coast. TorQ begins in St. John's, Newfoundland, to participate in the NewFoundMusic Festival, presented by Memorial University (MUN). As part of this festival, TorQ will perform Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne's piece Invisible Cities for Wind Ensemble and Percussion Quartet. TorQ will give a master class to MUN percussion students as well as a school show in addition to their performance with the MUN Wind Ensemble.


    After a quick weekend home, TorQ will again pack their bags and fly to Alaska where they will embark on a four city Alaskan tour. TorQ will be involved in over a dozen outreach activities and four concerts in the communities of Anchorage, Homer, Fairbanks, and Sitka. All four communities have a thriving and passionate cultural scene, and TorQ is looking forward to their mainstage performances and working with individuals of every age and musical background. Special thanks to Jason Hodges of Anchorage Concert Association for spearheading this tour and our new friends in Alaska: Gail Edgerly, Anne Biberman, Monica Ague.


    Following their time in Alaska, TorQ will spend time in British Columbia where they will present an evening concert in Vancouver as well as a performance in Millennium Place, presented by the Whistler Arts Council.


    This tour was made possible with the support from The Canada Council for the Arts.


    Feb 1-5:                St. John's, NFLD

                                    MUN - NewFoundMusic Festival, Holy Heart Theatre


    Feb 13:                 Anchorage, AK

                                    Anchorage Concert Association,  Discovery Theatre, Alaska Center for the Perf. Arts


    Feb 14:                 Homer, AK

                                    Homer Council on the Arts, Mariner Theatre


    Feb 17:                 Fairbanks, AK

                                    Fairbanks Concert Association, Hering Auditorium                                                                          


    Feb 22:                 Sitka, AK

                                    Sitka Fine Arts Camp, Sitka Performing Arts Center


    Feb 27:                 Vancouver, BC

                                    Music at Shaughnessy Heights United Church


    Feb 28:                 Whistler, BC

                                    Whistler Arts Council, Millennium Place Theatre

  • Broken Beats, March 19 and 20

    We've fallen woefully behind on the "words" part of our blog here, as we've been busier posting on Instagram and Facebook - and practicing and playing.  A lot.  Which is great.

    Anyway, here's a press release about our next Toronto shows, happening this Wednesday March 19 and Thursday March 20 at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Street in Toronto):

    "Breaking out of the winter slump, the TorQ Percussion Quartet heats things up with two separate shows on two separate nights this Wednesday and Thursday at the Tranzac Club.

    "For a collaboration that’s a little off the beaten path, come and see the Montreal-based psychedelic / noise sensation “SaskPower” featuring Nicole Lizée (keyboards, synth, turntables) Steve Reagele (guitar) and Ben Reimer (drums) teaming up with TorQ for a relaxed, fun-filled evening of glitch movie soundtrack and full-out improvisation. SaskPower is an inventive, Gen-X-and-beyond mix of relentless loops and love songs all threaded together by Lizée’s mesmerizing compositional aesthetic. This one-night-only event (Wednesday March 19th at 8PM) is “pay-when-you-leave-for-the-value-you-receive.”

    "The Main Event takes places 8pm, Thursday March 20th and boasts five world premieres by some of Canada’s most important and prevalent composers. Works to include; “Ersilia”, the solo movement of a new concerto for Percussion Quartet by Dinuk Wijeratne, Broken Beats by TorQ’s own Adam Campbell, 3 Grooves by Jason Nett and Into the Light by Toronto jazz guitarist Erik Patterson. The highlight of the show will be the unveiling of Nicole Lizée’s Katana of Choice; an epic piece of colossal proportions for percussion quartet and drumset soloist, it will feature none other than Montreal-based contemporary drummer Ben Reimer.   Tickets are available at the door for $25 (general) /$20 (arts worker/senior) /$10 (student).

    "Tapping (quite literally) into the progressive side of percussion literature, these shows will break you away from the winter cold and warm you up with some Broken Beats."

    Lots of other projects happening soon including two concerto world premieres - more about those soon.


  • Things are happening!

    It's been a little while since we've updated this blog.  We've been busy, though, never fear.  Lots of great stuff coming up: 

    • Our New Manoeuvers show - the final one of our first concert season - on May 3 and 4.  Lots of instruments, fantastic movement, and amazing new dance works created by some of Canada's brightest young choreographers, all presented here for the first time.  What's not to love?  You can get tickets back on the homepage.
    • Gigs with the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan on May 18 and 19.  We'll be playing Cage's Second Construction, Third Construction, and Double Music and will be premiering a new piece by our good friend (and fantastic composer) Elisha Denburg.
    • A performance of Xenakis' Persephassa with the always-amazing Aiyun Huang and Morris Palter.  In Waterloo.  On a cricket field, outside.  5pm, May 25, and it's free!
    • Teaching at the Durham Integrated Arts Camp again this year.  We've got some cool new things planned for this year, both in terms of the classes we're teaching, and the concert we're going to perform.  Word of the week will be "collaboration"!
    • TorQ Percussion Seminar 2013:  We are expanding this year!  TPS2013 will feature a guest faculty member (Dr. Russell Hartenberger, leading participants in a performance of Steve Reich's complete Drumming), and an extra day of rehearsals/concerts/masterclasses etc.  Plus....
    • TPS2013 Composition Contest.  A totally new thing this year, we're promoting new music for percussion ensemble by inviting submissions for pieces at an intermediate to advanced level, previously unpublished/not performed/not commissioned, for 3-8 players.  The winners will walk away with some cash, and premieres of their works at TPS2013.  More details on that here.

    So, all in all, lots is happening.  Stay tuned here for all the details (and more pics from various gigs/rehearsals/tours).

    - jamie

    1. Live recording from TorQ's "Off The Page" improv show, ft. Mark Laver on saxophone


    A few weeks back, TorQ packed 3 cars right to the roof with percussive odds and ends, braved some nasty weather over a short inter-city migration and made ourselves all nice n' cozy at Gallery 345 where we presented "Off The Page," an evening of musical improvisations in various forms as part of our 2012-13 concert series. We want to thank those of you who also bundled up to face the winter onslaught all in the name of spending an intimate, unique, unpredictable and entertaining evening with the four of us. At times beautiful, at times ridiculous, at times unexplainable - this had to be one of my favorite TorQ performances in recent memory, owed in no small part to the generous and warm response from our audience. We were also joined by guest saxophonist and friend Mark Laver for an improvisation that really stood out to all of us as something special. So in case you missed it (or you just didn't get enough the first time) here is a link to a live audio recording of that particular improvisation, recorded by another important TorQ cohort (really our 5th musketeer), the incomparable Ray Dillard.

    We have lots more interesting projects coming up soon, including participating in "Fresh Blood 2012" at the end of March. We'll be previewing part of an upcoming James Rolfe comission for percussion and dance with choreography by Jacob Niedzwiecki (this work will be premiered in full as part of our "New Manouevers" show in May), so stay tuned for more info!


  • TorQ's 2012-13 Toronto concert series continues tonight...

    In anticipation of tonight's OFF THE PAGE improv show, the 3rd instalment in our debut 2013 Toronto concert series, I thought I'd share a video taken at our last series show, NOTES FROM BRAZIL (which by all accounts was a huge success and tons of fun for us, so thanks again to everyone in attendance that night!). This clip is the premiere performance of Mark Duggan's 'Malandragem' arranged for percussion quintet, featuring TorQ and Mark. The quality of the video isn't fantastic but it's got a great tenacious energy to it and is really just a deliciously nasty composition by Mark... and he knows that's a compliment ;)

    So, check it out! And after you watch it, call up 15 of your pals and invite them all out to see us tonight, Thursday Feb 7, 8pm at Gallery 345 (345 Sorauren ave) as TorQ presents OFF THE PAGE: an evening of intimate, strange and wonderful spontaneous percussion improvisation. Details here.



  • The Three Faces of Jerusalem...

    The Three Faces of Jerusalem...
    Last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending Soundstreams Canada's latest avant-garde offering, The Three Faces of Jerusalem, presented at the Royal Conservatory's gorgeous Koerner Hall (one of my favourite Toronto performance spaces, and this show was a perfect fit for the combination of grandeur and intimacy afforded by the venue).
    This was much more than a concert: it was a truly interdisciplinary event, an ambitious mosaic of the cultural traditions, musical idioms and religious histories of the city and people of Jerusalem explored through song, instrumental improvisation, poetry readings and the recitation of various texts. The scope and combination of instrumentalists and singers spanned multiple countries and backgrounds, offering a unique musical palette that at times was focussed and tight, embracing classical structures; at other moments, the music became loose, improvisatory and meditative, more of a reflection than a commentary on the subject at hand.

    The highlight for me was the premiere of composer James Rolfe's Five and a Half Bridges (with text by poet André Alexis). Commissioned by Soundstreams for this event, the six movement work incorporated nearly the full gamut of performers and had tons of variation in character (solemn, quirky, groovy, ethereal). I found it to be the farthest reaching most progressive work on the program, a fitting summary of the afternoon's theme and a real treat to listen to. Plus, it got me even more pumped for TorQ's upcoming premiere of a new commission by Rolfe as part of our New Manoeuvers percussion and dance show this May 3rd & 4th which is gonna be awesome, so don't miss it!

    Another impressive instalment in Soundstreams' 30th anniversary season. Check out what they're up to next by visiting soundstreams.ca.

  • Happy holidays from TorQ!

    Happy holidays from TorQ!

    Sometimes, when you're killing time between two school shows, you just have to get into the Christmas spirit.

    As we play our last two concerts of 2012, we'd like to wish you all Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year.  See you in 2013!

    Rich, Adam, Jamie and Dan

  • The invisible drumset

    Check out this very cool video about a new project:  using motion-capture technology to allow musicians to play "invisible" instruments (i.e. using motions to trigger various midi sounds). 

    Maybe one day TorQ will play a concert like this?  Would sure save a lot of time loading instruments!


  • UPDATE: educational shows and the Ontario teachers job actions

    With all the uncertainty around the Ontario teachers' federations upcoming job actions, we wanted to answer a couple of questions about TorQ educational shows.

    1. Is TorQ still booking shows for the rest of the 2012-2013 school year?

      Yes.  TorQ shows typically take place inside a school during the normal school day, so in general TorQ shows are not effected by any job action that impacts extra-curricular activities.

    2. What happens if a TorQ performance is booked on a day where the school goes on strike and school is cancelled?

      If the school is closed, the TorQ performance is also cancelled.  It is expected that the school will re-book for an alternate time with Prologue.

    So, teachers, if you're interested in a TorQ educational show or workshop for your school, please continue to get in touch with Prologue to book - we're operating as "business as usual" unless individual circumstances dictate otherwise.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@torqpercussion.ca or Prologue for the Performing Arts at 416-591-9092 (inside the Greater Toronto Area) or 1-888-591-9092 (outside the GTA).