October 4, 2019

Message from Owen Underhill who attended the Western Canadian Music Awards Breakout West in Whitehorse, Yukon.

I left a rainy Vancouver yesterday in order to fly up to the Western Canadian Music Awards Breakout West in Whitehorse, Yukon.  As we flew further north, the clouds went away and we arrived in a very clear and sunny Whitehorse.  I am proud to attend the WCMAs representing Turning Point Ensemble nominated in the Classical Artist/Ensemble category for our Curio Box CD, as well as my own personal nomination as Classical Composer for my Cello Concerto played brilliantly by Ariel Barnes and Turning Point Ensemble on the same CD.   Yesterday evening we all gathered in a large circle in the setting sun alongside the Yukon River outside the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for a ceremonial first nations welcome and cleansing fire.   Following the outside gathering we all went inside for the Award Ceremony.  Other attendees from Vancouver included Steven Bélanger who is the Executive Director and a singer in the Vancouver Chamber Choir.  They were also nominated in the Classical Ensemble category.  My congratulations to all the winners including the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as Classical Artist/Ensemble of the year and Carmen Braden from Yellowknife as the Classical Composer of the year.  I enjoyed Arctic Char, Carmelized Bacon and other local delectables after the ceremony as well as listening to one of our former SFU students Sarah MacDougall from the Yukon who was nominated as Pop Artist of the Year.  Her group fresh from a European tour performed last night.  I am looking forward to attending other events over the weekend as well as spending time walking along the river.

Sept 24, 2019

Yesterday was a very exciting and dramatic day with a terrific concert and also unusual weather events!

Thank you to the amazing Ariel Barnes for a superb performance of my Cello Concerto, and there were very strong and committed performances by Cantus Ensemble of all the pieces by Dorothy Chang, Edward Top (premiere!) and John Oliver.  One audience member from Norway came up after and said it was the best concert of contemporary music he had ever experienced.

All four pieces were written for Turning Point Ensemble so it did feel like a close connection between the two ensembles has now begun.  We look forward to Berislav Sipuš joining us in Vancouver in May 2020 (don't forget to get your subscriptions to the TPE Season!), and many musicians were saying see you in Vancouver in two years when we will host Cantus Ensemble. 

Thanks to Dubravko for the before and during concert interviews.

As for the weather, there was an extremely heavy rain in the late afternoon causing flash flooding, and also there was a fire at an old train station not far from the Lauba performance space.

Although that did prevent the TV crew from arriving and some audience members that already had tickets did not make it, there was still an extremely appreciative audience. 

It was a good break to have one last day in Zagreb today after six straight days of intense music making, and Dubravko and I visited the Naive Art Museum and the Museum of Broken Relationships.  That ends the Zagreb Blog, and see you all before long in Vancouver. 

Owen Underhill

Artistic Director, Turning Point Ensemble



Sept 22, 2019

Turning Point Ensemble Artistic Director, Owen Underhill is currently in Croatia rehearsing with the Cantus Ensemble for an incredible concert to be held on September 23 of BC Composers including Dorothy Chang, John Oliver, Edward Top and Owen Underhill's own cello concerto to be performed by Ariel Yosef Zev Barnes. This is the first concert of an exchange project we are working on with the Cantus Ensemble. On May 16/17, 2020, their conductor Berislav Sipus will join TPE in a concert of new Croatian compositions. Here is Owen’s first blog post with news from the road!

Hello from Zagreb!  I have been here with our President Dubravko Pajalic for one week rehearsing and preparing for a concert of BC composers entitled 'Maple Syrup' which will take place tomorrow (Monday) at a hall called Lauba.  Lauba is a former horse stable that has been converted into a very large artspace with exhibition area in one half and the concert hall in the other.  It has brick walls and a very high ceiling - very hip and with a good acoustic.

I am delighted to be joined by cellist Ariel Barnes (just on his way on the train from Nürnberg) to play my Cello Concerto, and to also play Three Windows by Dorothy Chang, Five-ring Concerto by John Oliver and a premiere of Magic by Edward Top.  All these works have  been commissioned and premiered by Turning Point Ensemble.

It is also exciting to have worked this last week with the excellent musicians of Cantus Ensemble with whom we are embarking on a three-year exchange project which will include their artistic director Berislav Šipuš coming to conduct Turning Point Ensemble in May 2020, and also tours of both groups in the next two years.

We will send you news again after the premiere! 

Owen Underhill

Artistic Director, Turning Point Ensemble