Spotlight on the composer Katia Makdissi-Warren : the SMCQ unveils the face of its next Homage Series

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Montreal, the 25th of July 2018 – The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) unveils today the new face of the 2019-2020 edition of its Homage Series: Katia Makdissi-Warren. By the choice of this established composer having met the challenge, with sensitivity, of eliminating the frontiers between music of various traditions, Walter Boudreau, artistic director of the SMCQ, poses a concrete gesture in favor of the recognition of a contemporary music open to the world.

“The SMCQ believes as much in the importance of recognizing the immense contribution of the ‘builders’ of contemporary music in Quebec such as Gilles Tremblay, José Evangelista or John Rea, for example, as that in bringing to the forefront the creators of today in all that they bring in eclecticism and innovation. The music of Katia, of a remarkable artistic quality, brilliantly represents what Quebec culture is today: a culture at once proud of its roots and open to diversity”, says Walter Boudreau.

The reason for the Homage Series

Remember that every two years the SMCQ celebrates a Quebec composer by inviting the national and international musical and cultural milieu to integrate the works of that artist into its programming for the duration of an artistic season. The objective of the Series: to make known and bring recognition to our composers, and in so doing, the importance of musical creation in our society. Katia Makdissi-Warren will thus follow Claude Vivier, Gilles Tremblay, Ana Sokolovic, Denis Gougeon, John Rea and José Evangelista.

As one goes along the editions of this Series, the SMCQ has brought together a growing number of participants, allowing the public to discover our composers during concerts and activities in the schools. The last edition, dedicated to José Evangelista, reached a large public of 160,000 persons, in addition to 45,000 children in the school system. An influence without parallel in this artistic sector.

The choice of Katia Makdissi-Warren will certainly extend the “cause” defended by the SMCQ beyond the usual networks of contemporary music: the composer has developed through the years a deep complicity with the Native American, Arab and Sephardic Jewish communities in particular.

A music of “encounters”

The notion of cultural mixing has always intrigued this Quebec composer, herself the product of the encounter between two cultures: that of her Canadian father and of her mother of Lebanese origin. “Cultural mixing is before all else a question of encounter. And it is by approaching ‘the other’ that one evolves, that one develops!”, says Ms. Makdissi-Warren.

The composer, deeply touched to have been chosen by the SMCQ, intends, moreover, to take advantage of the occasion of this Homage Series to create encounters between artists of diverse backgrounds. “My big dream”, she confides, “is that the Series gives me the occasion to create a work for symphony orchestra and a Pow-Wow group!”.

To participate in the Homage Series

Cultural organizations, artists and musicians of all backgrounds who wish to sign up for an activity within the framework of the Makdissi-Warren Series between September 2019 and September 2020 are invited to fill out a short form online.

Online connection form:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ky4B62gqJhJUe1Tw8AP9SDyrCW8oTBxKSwlcwYshiew/edit?usp=sharing

Katia Makdissi-Warren in a nutshell

Katia Makdissi-Warren studied composition in Quebec and in Hamburg, as well as Arabic and Syrian music in Beirut, with Ennio Morricone, Franco Donatoni, Manfred Stahnke, P. Louis Hage and Michel Longtin.

An innovative composer, she drew attention on the national and international scene by her unique style, where the music of the Middle-East, the West and Native America meet. Furthermore, in 2006 she founded the Ensemble Oktoécho, specialized in cultural mixing, for which she regularly composes in addition to being the artistic director. Her aesthetic of fusion drove her to work regularly – at once as composer, ensemble director and performer – with the Native American, Arab and Jewish communities.

While staying deeply committed to diverse cultural communities, Katia Makdissi-Warren is extremely active in the milieu of contemporary music, having received ensemble orders from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Beirut National Oriental Orchestra, I Musici of Montreal, the McGill Chamber Orchestra and the Montreal Contemporary Ensemble. Her works are regularly played by performers and chamber music ensembles beyond Canadian borders, in France, Germany, Lebanon, Morocco, Argentina and Spain.

She has written numerous soundtracks for the stage, dance, film, television and exhibitions in Canada, France, Singapore, Japan and the Arab Emirates – including that of the permanent exhibition of Burl-Khalifa of Dubaï, tallest skyscraper in the world.

About the SMCQ

Founded in 1966 on the initiative of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the SMCQ was the first institution in the country to devote itself to the spread of contemporary music. First by honoring its mandate through the presentation of an annual series of a few concerts, it later experienced remarkable development by setting up several activities, notably for youth. Taking to heart its position as the oldest of its kind, it demonstrated its capacity to oversee recurrent events that involve partnerships as numerous as they are diverse. Its unifying and founding role makes it today a significant actor on the Canadian cultural landscape.

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