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School of Performing Arts term projects make beautiful music

By Stephanie Tang, March 19 2015 —

While the end of the semester brings countless essays and presentations, the students at the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) are busy making beautiful music.

Third-year University of Calgary music student Simon Macleod will perform his junior recital on March 20, 2015.

Macleod makes use of sound, visuals and movement in his performance. As he plays, a dancer and visual artist will perform alongside him on stage. The dancer will provide a physical interpretation of the music as the artist paints. The canvas will be projected onto a screen so the audience can experience all three mediums at once.

Macleod will perform four pieces on his alto saxophone, including a three-fold multimedia presentation of Japanese composer Karen Tanaka’s “Night Bird.”

“We want to try and stay true to Karen Tanaka’s message by also putting our own spin on it,” Macleod says. “We’re just enhancing the images of the bird and the night that she has created.”

The recital includes pieces by composers Paul Bonneau, Akira Yuyama and Johann Sebastian Bach.

“Night Bird” is the only piece that will incorporate different mediums.

According to Macleod, the performance is the first time anything like this has been done for a student’s recital. The format supports the SCPA’s encouragement of interdisciplinary collaboration among students.

“There are sections in the piece where the dancer is creating a movement piece that the artist is trying to portray on paper, and the artist is reacting to what the dancer is doing,” Macleod says. “Although they’re all three separate disciplines, separate entities, they really come together during the actual performance.”

Macleod has played both jazz and classical saxophone for 12 years, experimenting with soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. His main interest lies in contemporary music and new musical techniques.

He is also working to earn his Grade 10 Saxophone Certificate with the Royal Conservatory of Music  (RCM) and his Performer’s Associate of the Royal Conservatory, which is the highest academic achievement recognized by the RCM. Macleod hopes to pursue other interdisciplinary projects in the future.

The recital takes place at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall at the Rozsa Centre on March 20 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free to the public.


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