Andrew Balfour’s Transformation — Saturday, Feb, 24, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Composers’ pre-concert talk:
Storytelling Through Music
6:45-7:15 PM


In stock


Saturday, Feb, 24, 2024 at 7:30 PM
Ukrainian Labour Temple (591 Pritchard Ave.)

Special thank you to concert sponsors Ron and Sandi Mielitz


What happens when Gujarati chant meets its First Nations counterparts? For this concert, Andrew Balfour is expanding his concept of Truth and Reconciliation, collaborating with nationally recognized composer-performers Hussein Janmohamed (South Asian Ismaili) and Sherryl Sewepagaham (Alberta Cree-Dene). All three composers bring a unique voice, transforming the way we see the world and each other. Conducted by Mel Braun and featuring cellist Leanne Zacharias and traditional Indigenous Songkeeper Cory Campbell, this concert is one in a series designed by Andrew that has received national acclaim with performances in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton. Not to be missed!

Dead of Winter’s Truth and Reconciliation projects are paired with a Composer Gathering. From Left: Co-Artistic Director, Mel Braun; Composer, Sherryl Sewepagaham; Composer and Co-Artistic Director, Andrew Balfour

The Dead of Winter Truth and Reconciliation projects are paired with a Composer Gathering. For years, Andrew and Mel have been honing their skills to create “concept concerts” where a rich theme is chosen, and the curators choose composers and guest artists to collaborate in special projects, such as Andrew’s four Truth and Reconciliation concerts. We have taken this a step further in recent years, inviting our chosen composers to a 4-day gathering with Andrew and Mel, as well as Dead of Winter Executive Director, Roland Deschambault at the Herdsman House Artists’ Retreat in Neubergthal in Southern Manitoba.

This has turned into a magical experience. Rather than simply submitting a work based on Andrew’s description of the concert theme, the composers now join Andrew and Mel in defining the theme, building the repertoire and developing exciting ideas for each new work and how it will integrate into the whole.

Much more than that, composers from across the country get to meet one another and become friends. In our most recent Composer Gathering last August 2023, Hussein Janmohamed talks about Sherryl Sewepagaham leading the group in a smudging ceremony. He, in turn, taught the group to sing a Gudrati chant. Ideas and stories flowed in an environment of trust, sharing and building community. In Hussein’s own words, “Coming here, I’m connecting with the land, I’m connecting with other people, I’m getting to know myself better, I’m finding new language to describe what I do and what I’m interested in – what a gift!”

Andrew Balfour adds, “These connections are already leading to new future collaborations. As Dead of Winter, we feel privileged to be part of this creative sharing across cultures and regions. We have been exploring and developing the idea of a platform for Indigenous storytelling through choral music for the past 10 years. In that time we have forged and collaborated with some of Canada’s leading Indigenous artists, taking many of these collaborations to a national stage in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Montreal.”

Read more about the composers, special guests, and incredible singers HERE

Click on the videos below to see footage from Andrew Balfour’s recent Truth and Reconciliation concerts.

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