By Mathew Wilkins
VANCOUVER – Post-classical, neoclassical, neoromantic, electroacoustic… these are just a few words to describe types of music even our most seasoned concert-going readership may have a hard time defining. Yet they are also the sonic bread and butter of Music on Main’s annual Modulus Festival, a five-day showcase of the world’s best in contemporary classical music. Aimed at providing diverse and accessible programming to the city, this festival is the perfect opportunity for those of us looking to expand our sonic palate.
“Modulus is full of opportunities to get in a room with people from around the world and hear things that you don’t normally get to hear in your own community,” says Dave Pay, founder of Music on Main and Artistic Director for the festival.
According to Pay, Modulus’ programming is absolutely brimming with the unconventional; composers, conductors, and performers from far and wide have been specially selected for this year’s festival to show Vancouver citizens how “composers are seeing and hearing the world.” Included in the programming are artists like British composer and vocalist Laura Bowler, whose piece explores online political activism through lyricism, composition, and mixed media. Others, like French composer Thierry Pécou, have written works for the show that, through their music, provide refuge from rapid and invasive technological progress.
“These artists are of the world,” explains Pay of this year’s selections. “And they’re creating works that are of the world and relevant to all of us. And that’s something that I think people don’t expect with new music, or contemporary classical, or whatever they’re calling it.”
This year’s music, as a result, is highly varied. Some pieces explore what Pay calls “the fallibility of technology.” Other performances focus on the audience’s visceral reaction to sound. Yet words obviously fail when trying to describe the myriad compositions that will be at this year’s Modulus. The best option, dear readers, is obviously to attend… and with ticket prices sitting at a comfortable maximum of $29, this opportunity is a hard one for the sonically curious to pass up. Not convinced? Try checking out some of the free Modulus events to whet your aural appetite.
”We want all the shows to be accessible because we know that sharing art and experiencing art together builds a stronger community,” explains Pay, before artfully capping off the interview with something we can all agree on:
“We all end up caring more for each other when we listen together.”
Modulus Festival runs from November 2-6 at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, CBC Studio 700, and The Post at 750.