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Victoriaville festival a mind-expanding extravaganza

VICTORIAVILLE – An exciting lineup covering a broad range of creative music styles are featured in the 19 concerts over four days that are part of this year’s 34th edition of the Festival International de musique actuelle de Victoriaville. It opens May 17.

The festival, with its international reputa- tion for innovation, openness, daring, and novelty, attracts fans from across North America and this year hosts musicians from Canada, the U.S., Europe, North Africa, and Asia, playing everything from contempo- rary classical, to free jazz, and avant-rock.

I have been attending for about 25 years and look forward to it as a unique opportu- nity to hear the results of creative thought and energy from musicians who go beyond the conventional in a search for beauty.

e usual numbers that ock to its main stages, in the spacious cultural centre, Square 150, downtown, the town’s hockey coliseum, and a century-old church in nearby Arthabaska, will be augmented by delegates attending two mini-conventions – the Canadian New Music Network and Groupe Le Vivier International New Music Cartel, meeting here May 17 and 18.

According to festival director Michel Levasseur, advance sales of passports for the full festival are ahead of previous years. Added attractions are screenings of experi- mental lms and new and original sound art installations in a parkland setting.

Opening night features a variety of large ensembles. e rst, at 8 pm, is a two-part tribute to Walter Boudreau, the contem- porary classical composer, musical radical, and director. Part one is a performance of Peace, played by ten instrumentalists and two vocalists, led by Philippe Hode-Keyser. In Part two, Boudreau will lead a 15-member orchestra in Solaris (incantations VIII-IXh).

At 10 pm, Lan Tung, the Vancouver- based erhu player, singer, and composer, links her seven-member Proliferation group, with its avant-jazz outlook, and Tai- wan’s Little Giant Chamber Orchestra, which uses traditional Chinese instrumen- tation. Her childhood friend, Chih-Sheng Chen, conducts.
Rova Sax Quartet breaks barriers

Mountain Ensemble, features music by guitarist-saxo- phonist-drummer David Dugas Dion, a name to watch in new music circles. He leads a total of 12 musicians, including oud player Sam Shalabi and electric bassist Alexandre St-Onge, in two 30-minute pieces that feature conducted collective improv.

is is the kind of unusual and o eat music that makes this festival so special, unique in North America.

Other highlights

Friday, May 18, 8 pm – e Rova Quartet, celebrat- ing their 30th anniversary, is a saxophone ensemble that transcends jazz, rock, and contemporary classical. It features Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, and Jon Raskin.

William Parke photo by Eva Kapanadze

William Parke photo by Eva Kapanadze

May 18, 10 pm – Bassist extraordinaire William Parker brings his In Order to Survive program to the festival, with percussionist extraordinaire Hamid Drake, the fabulous Dave Burrell on piano, and Rob Brown on alto sax.

May 19, 8 pm – Fire!, the Swedish trio, is energy, noise, pulsating rhythm, with the irrepressible Mats Gustafsson (baritone sax and electronica), Johan Berthling (electric bass, Andreas Werliin (drums and electronica).

May 19, midnight – Afrirampo is experimental rock featuring Osaka-based vocalists Oni (electrical guitar) and Pika (drums).

May 20, 1 pm – Lori Freedman, a festival regu- lar, plays bass clarinet, clarinet, and sings in her solo show featuring original compositions, and those written for her. She can be expected to ex her awesome technical skills and artistic sensibility.

May 20, 5 pm – Breadwoman is American vocalist Anna Homler, who manipulates language and sounds with dancer Maya Gingery, and Jorge Martin on analog synthesizer.

May 20, 10 pm – e festival ends with a bang and the Noise trio of Merzbow, the Japanese computer and electronica maven, bari sax giant Mats Gustafsson, and Hungarian power drummer Balázs Pándi.

For full lineup: mav.qc.ca. Tickets, lodging, and packages: 819-752-7912

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