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Electroacoustic celebration

Concordia hosts Canadian Electroacoustic Community's quarter-century fete
November 9, 2011
By Julie Gedeon

The Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC) launches its 25th anniversary celebrations on Friday, November 11 at Concordia University, where it all began for the national organization.

The day-long celebration gives music aficionados — and the merely curious — the chance to better understand and appreciate how electroacoustics forms part of our daily lives.

Electroacoustics, which requires the ability to record and re-arrange sounds to create a new, lasting sonic element, is defined as a field of art where sound is the central aspect, and most commonly emitted through loudspeakers.

This innovative style of music includes everything from video game soundtracks and young musicians uploading music to YouTube, to an orchestra’s television broadcast and abstract installations playing 24/7 at a museum exhibit.

The Concordia celebration is the first in a series of events being held in 10 locations from Victoria to St. John’s across the country. Each event will feature a minimum of three electroacoustic concerts and a keynote presentation by Kevin Austin of Concordia’s Department of Music. He will discuss the History and Diversity of Electroacoustics in Canada in person at five of the locations and via Skype at the others.

“It’s important for today’s sound artists to know what the past two generations have contributed,” he says.

The CEC selected Concordia for the kick-off because of the university’s pivotal role in CEC’s establishment and evolution. Austin, along with former Concordia colleague Jean-François Denis, founded the organization. They had the unwavering support of former Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Bob Parker, and subsequently the Associate Dean (and current professor of music) Christopher Jackson.

“Both of them, I think, sensed how important electroacoustics would become,” says Austin.

The need by the early 1980s for electroacoustic artists to define their field to qualify for government funding set Austin on a mission. Taking the contacts he obtained through an initial mailing supported by Concordia, he crossed the country twice to rally sound artists.

After two-and-a-half years of mobilizing, he stepped aside to let others decide CEC’s structure. He’s remained active in everything from preparing newsletters to developing an online presence that includes CEC’s expansive sound archives – with Concordia’s support throughout.

The anniversary event is an opportunity to meet sound artists and hear several concerts, including one by the Concordia Laptop Orchestra through a simulcast linked with its counterparts in five other cities. Eldad Tsbary of the Department of Music has prepared 60x60 Canadian featuring the work of 60 Canadian composers for a minute each. The day concludes with a “lounge” concert by the Concordia Electroacoustic Studies Student Association.

When: Friday, November 11 from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Where: Room MB 8.245, John Molson School of Business Building (1450 Guy St.), Sir George Williams Campus

Related Links:

•  Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community
•  Canadian Electroacoustic Community
•  "New electroacoustic archive largest in Canada" – Concordia Journal, April 2, 2009
•  Concordia Department of Music
•  Electroacoustic Studies at Concordia
•  Concordia Electroacoustic Studies Student Association (CESSA)

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