Tim Brady: Six strings of Happiness!


Tim Brady

The year 2015 ended well for Montreal composer Tim Brady: His chamber opera Ghost Tango enjoyed a successful premiere in Halifax in September and his Atacama: Symphony # 3 was warmly received in November at Brooklyn’s newly-opened venue, National Sawdust. Also, a recording of his Symphony # 4 was launched in September on the Centredisque label, played by Symphony Nova Scotia. His pursuit of opera and symphony continues with his Symphony # 7, planned for 2017, and a project to be performed by Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique. Its subject, the October Crisis of 1970, could be quite emotional.

“I’ve been thinking of this opera for nearly 20 years,” explains Brady. “I approached OdM three and a half years ago and received warm support from Michel Beaulac (artistic director of the OdM) and Chantal Lambert (director of Atelier lyrique). It was probably not such a hot topic in the early 2000s, but I think today the subject of terrorism and democracy is very apt.” Guillaume Corbeil will write the libretto.

Brady is devoting the month of March to his favourite instrument. In the United States, the Starkland label will issue the first CD by his guitar collective, Instruments of Happiness Quartet (including his Symphony # 5.0 for four guitars), while the project launched last year at the MNM festival will continue with an orchestra of 100 guitarists, called Instruments of Happiness EXTREME. “It’s because you’re always happy with a guitar in your hands!” This time, this amazing ensemble will play at Église du Gesù. As Brady explains:

“The vital thing in this project is the spacing of the guitars, and that’s why we chose places like Complexe Desjardins last year, and the Église du Gesù this year. We place 20 groups of five guitarists and the audience can wander around as they wish. Our idea is to write a piece for this orchestra every year, letting the venue dictate the nature of the composition, depending on its particular characteristics. So far we’re looking as far ahead as 2021!”

The piece for large ensemble entitled 100 questions, 100 réponses lasts 15 minutes. Afterwards, the audience is invited to walk to the Gesù concert hall to hear the guitar quartet play an excerpt from Bach’s Art of Fugue. The 20 professional guitarists who make up part of the ensemble of 100 guitarists will premiere a work by Joane Hétu, commissioned by Bradyworks, and a performance of Tim Brady’s piece Twenty Quarter Inch Jacks.

An important first in February: The Bradyworks ensemble will give a concert with guitarist Marc-Olivier Lamontagne instead of with its founder!

“I’ve reached a point in my life where I think, I don’t have to prove myself at every concert. I think people understand my involvement with Bradyworks and my desire to highlight the guitar, even if it’s not me who’s playing it. In this case, it’s a project that Marc-Olivier suggested and I’m sure it will be an excellent concert”, says Brady. It will be performed as part of the series by Jimmie LeBlanc, composer-in-residence at the Chapelle historique du Bon-pasteur. One of his works will be featured alongside music by George Crumb and John Rea, since the concert is also part of the SMCQ’s Homage Series. 

Translation: Cecilia Grayson

Bradyworks: Le son des ténèbres: February 12, 2016, 7:30 pm, Chapelle historique du Bon-pasteur
Instruments of Happiness: March 26, 2016, Le Vivier, Église du Gesù


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