The Fall 2021 issue connects you to music artists of distinctive styles and from distant places with expertly crafted words and carefully chosen images. It is accompanied by a CD of deeply felt, hand-blown music, enhanced with chiselled edges and unusual colours.






Understory is a cross-Canada creative recording project curated by experimental musician-composers Nicole RampersaudParmela Attariwala, and Germaine Liu. Forty-two artists from an array of improvisation practices across are connecting via the creation of new works; their new creations premiere through monthly shows from July 2021 to January 2022, and are copresented with various Canadian music and arts organizations. Jennifer Thiessen writes from her perspective as a musician participating in the project, speaking with the curators as well as the first Understory trio (Lan Tung, Gabriel Dharmoo and SlowPitchSound ) about their experiences in this project. Understory is not only an example of improvisation communities responding fluidly to changing parameters in life as in art, but more importantly how the project intentionally participates in the emergence of new societal systems in its structure and practice. 


Since the 1960s, English composer Frank Denyer has been creating beautifully beguiling works. Known for his arresting, peculiar combinations of instruments Denyer focuses on melody, space, texture, and colour in music that inhabits a dream-like landscape, full of odd juxtapositions and intriguing forms, and yet is also organic. Denyer's deep curiosity led him to ethnomusicology, but his compositions steer clear of emulating the musics he studied—in India, Japan, and Kenya—even when he employs non-Western instrumentation. Denyer talks to Musicworks contributing editor Nick Storring about his early years of his music education, his evolution as a composer, ensemble leader, and scholar, and about some recent works, including The Fish That Became The Sun, an hour-long work that requires 34 musicians and over 100 unique instruments.


Chinatowns across North America are under threat of predatory real-estate developers and an urban planning ethos that undervalues the heritage of these neighbourhoods. In response, some musicians of Chinese descent across Canada have come to embody or explore resistance in their work. Parker Mah (Montreal) and respectfulchild (Saskatoon) discuss creative expression as form of counterpoint to the dominant culture of the Canadian cities where they live and work.
Peggy Hogan connects the dots, finding the common ground where Mah and respectfulchild leverage their music and art practices as a form of resistance and means to centre their own marginality.


After studies in Montreal and Brussels, Taylor Brook traveled to India to learn traditional Hindustani music. Further studies and then a position as a lecturer at Columbia University brought him in contact with the vibrant New York City new music scene, where close associations with the Ekmeles vocal ensemble and TAK (including the Toronto-born soprano Charlotte Mundy) gave him opportunity to further explore his love for vocal music. In March 2020, Brook and his family left New York for what they thought would be a short stay in British Columbia. Waiting out the pandemic took longer than anticipated, and now the wide-open spaces of the western coast are shaping his thoughts about music, he tells Kurt Gottschalk.
Read about Argentine composer Rocío Cano Valiño and her Okno—first-place winner of Musicworks’ 2020 Electronic Music Composition Contest and inaugural winner of the Marcelle Deschênes Prize in Electronic Music.
Decode the development of Xylem Records, a DIY label created by composer and computer scientist Norah Lorway to capture the creativity of the live-coding scene.
Discover reviews of new music from: New Music from Akropolis Reed Quintet, Quasar, Badge Epoch, Francisco del Pino, Alex Eddington, Le GGRIL, Intersystem, Maurice Louca, Barbara Monk Feldman, New Chance, John Oliver, Jocelyn Robert and Alexandre St-Onge, Linda Catlin Smith, Lori Freedman, Waxwing, Anna Webber, and Pamela Z.

Musicworks 140 CD

Rocío Cano Valiño
1> Okno 10:00
Understory Show One: Gabriel Dharmoo, SlowPitchSound, Lan Tung
2> Freshwater Organism 5:01
Taylor Brook
3> Virtutes Occultae: Prelude 3:28
4> Virtutes Occultae: Aria 4:58
Parker Mah
5> Singe 猿 3:16
6> s.a.d. 5:50
Frank Denyer
7> Apocrypha 2, excerpt 1:44
8> Quartet, excerpt 2:37
9> Contained in a Strange Garden, excerpt 1:27
10> String Quartet, excerpt 2:39
11> Two Female Voices and Two Flutes, excerpt 2:06
Norah Lorway
12> There is No Finished World, excerpt 9:26
Nick Storring
13> Khartum 5:52
14> Narva 4:30
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Musicworks is published by Musicworks Society of Ontario Ltd., a non-profit organization, and is supported by financial assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, and the SOCAN Foundation.