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AuthorGregory Oh

December 21, 2013, 230 pm.  $25 reg/$15 stu.  Advance tickets available - click here.

Conrad Grebel College Chapel, University of Waterloo, 140 Westmount Rd N

Modern Solutions for the Messiah Weary:  The Little Match Girl Passion

As any concert goer knows, December in North America heralds not only the beginning of the holiday season, but also the tidal wave that is Handel's Messiah. The Open Ears Festival wishes to offer, to those who seek holiday cheer but have already crossed off every possible permutation from their Messiah bucket list, a remarkable and poignant alternative that we suspect may instigate a tradition of its own. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's still resonant story about the dreams and death of a young girl, and drawing inspiration from Bach's St. Matthew Passion, composer David Lang has written a work that we believe speaks directly to our time even as it delves into the past.

The Little Match Girl Passion, here performed in its original scoring, is sung by a standard vocal quartet who also accompany themselves on percussion.  The piece sounds sometimes like a minimalist soundscape, and at other moments like plainsong spun under the ogives.  Eschewing a maudlin interpretation of the text, Lang gently illuminates the dichotomies that make this fairy tale so compelling - her suffering versus her hope, sweet memories and cold realities, our sorrow of death and the joy of freedom - and the similarities between her experience and that of Jesus.  

David Lang is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Bang-On-A-Can, a faculty member at Yale and Oberlin, Musical America’s 2013 Composer of the Year and Carnegie Hall’s 2012-13 Composer-in-Residence.  Premiered in 2007 in New York, The Little Match Girl Passion won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music and its first recording won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.


Katherine Hill, soprano

Patricia O’Callaghan, mezzo-soprano

Lucas Marchand, tenor

Dallas Bergen, bass

“Anyone who clings to the prejudice that contemporary classical music is incapable of the most direct beauty should put down this magazine and listen to the Theatre of Voices' recording.  If you never come back, I won't blame you." - Alex Ross, The New Yorker

AuthorGregory Oh
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3:00 - 6:00 PM - CAFKA and Open Ears Guide Within These Walls at the Walper

1 King St. W., Kitchener, FREE (donations accepted)

Join CAFKA and Open Ears for an exploration of the hidden and forbidden spaces of the Walper Hotel. Gather in the Barrister’s Lounge, and be led on an intimate wandering through closets, mechanical forests and moments of sound. Discover where its stories are told, the rhythm of the building is measured, and then played back onto itself.

Our guides will navigate you, in very small groups, on a tour of micro-performances and happenings.  With over fifty different events happening during the day, every experience will be unique. Tours will begin every 15 minutes, and will last approximately one hour. 

8:00 PM - Open Ears @ the Registry Theatre feat. CCMC & Messier/Bernier;

122 Frederick St, Kitchener; $25 at the door; $20 for CAFKA members, $15 for students.

CCMC: Vol 3

This ad-hoc performance by a mix of current and founding members of iconic ensemble CCMC celebrates the re-release of CCMC Vol 3 by the Detroit/Windsor Media City Festival. This record, long out of print, reappears in its original format with cover design by Michael Snow.

Martin Messier+Nicolas Bernier:  La chambre des machines

Messier and Bernier’s work stems from a desire to return to the physical world in an environment of digital creation. In the best futurist tradition, they present a performance based on the legendary intonarumoris, the noise machines dreamt up by Luigi Russolo. These instruments consist of cogs, levers and all manner of mechanical and electronic parts, and explore the territory where synthetic and acoustic overlap.

10:00 PM - OE Late Night @ the Barrister’s Lounge: The Freedmen

The Walper Hotel, 1 King St. W., Kitchener; Pay as you leave for the value you receive (Recommended $10)

Justin Haynes and Jean Martin interpret quirky and haunting ditties by Myk Freedman on two humble instruments: the ukulele and the suitcase. The interpretations are not strict readings, but rather loose improvisatory renderings filled with interplay and delight. To round out the bottom end of this trio, they have added Ryan Driver, playing sweet bass on a street-sweeper bristle.

AuthorGregory Oh

Between the Ears Day 1 starts at 5 pm and finishes at 8 pm.  City of Kitchener activities continue until midnight.

Guerilla Sound Events - Peter Hatch

Conventions are ignored, broken or subverted by Peter Hatch's playful and subversive public interventions.

Spill - Erik Griswold

This magical, meditative work, part composition, part kinetic sculpture, will be performed by Ryan Scott in the Kitchener City Hall Rotunda during day 1 of Between the Ears.

Having Never Written a Note for Percussion - James Tenney

A beautiful piece, both for its sparse but specific notation, and for the indescribable acoustic phenomenon that is created with each performance.

Strings Attached - Erik Griswold

In Strings Attached, for six percussionists, the ensemble is transformed into a live kinetic sculpture. Four-meter-long bright white nylon ropes attach the performers' sticks to a lighting rig, or in some cases to each other, causing their gestures to be visually amplified on a massive scale. Minute shifts of stick position produce palpable shifts in the tension of the ropes, while large physical gestures give rise to a dramatic rising and falling choreography.

Through the intricately choreographed score of rolls and accents, the quivering ropes suggested gusts of wind or sound wave phenomena, in what became a percussion tour de force and kinetic sculpture all in one. - Josef Woodard, Los Angeles Times, Jan 29, 1999

Disonar - Scott Carter (featuring Jesse Butcher and Alex Gartelmann)

Presented by CAFKA.  Disonar will be on view at the Berlin Tower Art Space at Kitchener City Hall from June 1 - 30, 2013

Scott Carter’s builds functional replicas of instruments built from common building materials such as drywall, plywood and concrete. A drum set made from drywall actually functions and produces sound, but intended use is partially stripped due to the vast difference in resonance, tone and its inability to withstand force. In the end, these instruments will fail and begin to deteriorate, referencing a natural cycle of decay in domestic architecture, visually mirroring a demolition site.

Christof Migone - Hit Parade

Presented by CAFKA.

Participants lie face down on the ground where they proceed to pound the pavement with a microphone one thousand times. The sound of each person’s actions is amplified. Each performer has their own amplifier, and it is placed as far as possible from them. Each performer chooses their own rhythm and intensity. They take a pause at every hundred of whatever length they wish.

King Street Night Market

Presented by the City of Kitchener.

In the in-between moments at BTE Day 1, and afterwards, browse through the first Kitchener Night Market, running until midnight, featuring local food, artisans and vendors.

AuthorGregory Oh