Annual Impact Report 2020
Welcome to Music on Main, where our mandate is “Music that brings us together.” Since 2006, we’ve produced over 500 events, featuring more than 1,000 musicians, and over 100 world premieres. In 2010, we launched our now-annual Modulus Festival, which “provides western Canada with one of the finest windows onto the post-classical scene” (Gramophone Magazine).
Music on Main presents top-flight musicians and classical, new, and genre-bending music in casual, and inviting environments. At Music on Main, artists are encouraged to develop their practice through new presentation methods, new repertoire, and new ideas. Most importantly, Music on Main concerts are where attendees can find community. Audience members are encouraged to have a glass of wine, meet their neighbours, and chat with artists and their new friends after the show.
Music on Main has earned a global reputation as a storyteller for the post-classical age. We create innovative musical experiences by deepening artists’ and audiences’ relationships to music, to each other, and to themselves. In undertaking its mission, Music on Main serves as a community curator, uniting ever-increasing and diverse audiences through new musical experiences.
Like arts organizations around the world, Music on Main’s season came to a halt due to COVID-19 in mid-March 2020. We were heartbroken to cancel most of the season’s remaining events, such as Nancy Tam and Robyn Jacob‘s Double Happiness: Detour This Way, Revival Hour with CBC Music’s “In Concert”, and the Artist in Residence program with Diamanda La Berge Dramm, which included a Canteen Concert, two Big Picture discussions, and a workshop period with Composer in Residence, Sabrina Schroeder. In response to the pandemic, we adapted, offering free pop-up summer performances with Microcosmos Quartet and Olivia Blander in parks around Vancouver, and pivoted the Kessler Academy‘s live performance to a recorded concert which was released on our YouTube channel. Music on Main also became the only Canadian organization to join Festivals for Compassion, an online initiative to unite festivals from around the world with shared interpretations of Calliope Tsoupaki’s Thin Air “as an ode to compassion and an act of solidarity in these troubled times.” Flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor created a moving interpretation for us, filmed by our digital and video collaborators Collide Entertainment.
Photo credits from top left to bottom right: Emerge on Main (Aaron Graham & Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, with guest performer Cindy Kao), Travis Laplante, Purcell & Nyman (Iestyn Davies & Fretwork), Still Life With Avalanche (next three – Standing Wave Ensemble, Infamy Too!, & Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yzadi), Terry Riley & Gyan Riley, The Poet Speaks (Annie Yim), & Music for the Winter Solstice (Caroline Shaw, Gabriel Kahane, & Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa). Photos taken by Jan Gates.
Artistic Highlights From 2019/20:
Return of Artistic Alumni: The 2019 Modulus Festival (November 1-3, 2019) brought together artists from around the world for one of our most successful festivals to date. Music on Main’s commitment to return engagements of artists allows deepened relationships between audiences and musicians. Part of this commitment at the 2019 festival included the performances Still Life with Avalanche featuring Standing Wave Ensemble, John Luther Adams’ Ilimaq featuring Montreal percussionist Ben Reimer, and Sabrina Schroeder’s Stir Crazer II featuring cellist Peggy Lee.
Music for the Winter Solstice 2019 enabled Music on Main to welcome back more audience favourites: the nationally-regarded pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa (who has performed at each Solstice since 2014); the immensely talented singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane; and the Pulitzer-Prize winning former Composer in Residence, Caroline Shaw. This beautiful event took place at Heritage Hall, and once again helped welcome in the season with Music on Main’s signature style.
2019 Modulus Festival: This season’s Modulus Festival was the largest yet, featuring some big sounds, big parties, and big bands! The Festival, which spanned October 29 to November 3, 2019, hosted some of Music on Main’s largest audiences, including two packed houses at Christ Church Cathedral and a standing room-only free concert showcasing Belgium’s Flat Earth Society. There was something for everyone, from artist forums to live film scores to big band-style jazz, and parties every night! The Festival was a celebration of new music, and an exploration into uncharted artistic territories. At the festival, we collaborated with Coastal Jazz, Early Music Vancouver, and Sawdust Collector, and we hosted artistic directors from New Zealand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and across Canada.
Terry Riley and Gyan Riley in Concert: Music on Main was excited to present the legendary musician Terry Riley in dup with his son Gyan Riley at a sold-out concert at Christ Church Cathedral on February 18, 2020. This incredible event featured Terry’s intuitive musicianship, supported by Gyan’s beautiful instrumentation, and represented a once-in-a-lifetime performance. The concert was recorded and is available on Music on Main’s YouTube channel here. This concert has already been seen, live and online, by almost 4,000 people!
Emerge on Main: Over the course of the season, Music on Main made a point of offering as many opportunities as possible to its Emerge on Main participants, both old and new! A notable example included Nancy Tam, an Emerge on Main alumna of 2018. That year, she premiered an excerpt of her new work, Walking at Night by Myself. At the 2019 Modulus Festival, Nancy brought a newly-expanded version of the work to life at CBC Studio 700 to great acclaim.
Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, composer and performer, whose piece Displacement II was featured at Roam: A New Music Pop-Up Party in early 2019, returned for the 2019 Modulus Festival Launch Party and Still Life with Avalanche before taking the stage on March 3, 2020 for the 2020 Emerge on Main showcase. Kimia was joined by Aaron Graham, composer and percussionist, for the 2020 iteration of this program. Aaron also appeared during the season with 2019 Emerge on Main alumna, Julia Chien, as a member of Infamy, Too! at the concert Still Life with Avalanche and Music on Main’s 2020 AGM.
Community Partnerships: Music on Main’s successes are made possible thanks to our partnerships. Over the 2019/20 season, we continued meaningful and lasting relationships with the following organizations, among others: CBC, Canadian Music Centre Vancouver Region, Christ Church Cathedral, Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, Early Music Vancouver, Infamy Too!, Instruments of Change, Langley Community Music School, Microcosmos Quartet, NOW Society, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Sawdust Collector, Standing Wave Society, Suoni Per Il Popolo, Theatre Replacement, The Fox Cabaret, The Post at 750, Vancouver Civic Theatres, and Western Front.