A piece I wrote for Autorickshaw is now available on their new cd. They are a great band, check it out.
Horn Ok Please
If one word summed up the Dracula experience it would be 'epic'. Had a great time working on a wordy and thoughtful script by Liz Lochead, based on the book. Director Eda Holmes did a beautiful job and kept me busy. Wrote a song, some 'Bulgarianish' vocal music, lots and lots of music and the book for wireless mics for the run. I spent quite a bit of time in rehearsal with an electric guitar, making up music as the show was blocked, then took that home and orchestrated it for a low string quartet as well. Ended up recording 40 cues in one session with the string quartet, with a stack of charts about an inch thick.
Here's the big song, Tom O'Bedlam from the show, with me singing.
and another bit from the show here with Brenna MacCrimmon on vox, Anna Redekop on viola, Sarah Fraser Raff on violin, Amber Ghent on cello, Fil Stasiak on bass and me on guitar.
Kate Hennig's great adaptation of Oscar Wilde's children tales was a fun lunchtime show for the Shaw Festival. With director Christine Brubaker we put together a 55 minute show with a couple of hundred cues, a few songs and room for interaction with a group of kid audience members who went through a pre show workshop. We kept the music light and bubbly sounding, though the individual stories all were quite dark for a kids show, though it really was for adults just as much as kids. Here's the Nightingale song, as sung by the lovely actor Emily Lukasik.
The Shaw Festival production was a lovely piece and let me dig into some Celtic music. Finding a subtle way to help tell the story through the use of the malfunctioning prop radio on stage was quite fun. Director Krista Jackson did a lovely job on this one.
Sean Dixon's new work was a total pleasure to work on, a mysterious two hander directed by Vikki Anderson for DVxT Theatre. Spent time in rehearsal building the sound and music with the actors as we went through the play.
The first phase of a new piece for Laurence Lemieux on Vimy Ridge involved writing a 10 minute piece that was to be performed on Vimy Ridge for the 100th anniversary and the opening of a new trench museum on the ridge. Originally we had hoped to get a Canadian Cadet band to play the music live, but scheduling made it impossible. But the first phase was created and written for military brass band.
The second phase is a full length version that will open in November 2017.
The trip to Vimy, where we were billeted with a farmer in Givenchy, was a beautiful event, marked by friendly people, many trips to cemeteries and monuments and a chance to watch the 100th celebration.
Darryl Cloran's adaptation of the novel of the same name is a lovely piece. Working out in Kamloops it was lovely to spend the days in rehearsal building and writing the sound and music for the show as it was created. I got a chance to use my new Artiphon Instrument 1 to create the 'sound' of the coyote spirit that is featured in the book. Using its fretless and aftertouch abilities let me create a sound that could be played in rehearsal to follow the actors. The music was based around archtop guitar and violin, to be period but not to sound like its an old story.
A new play at the Tarragon Theatre, another chance to help develop and support an interesting new work, this one based loosely on the story of Rev Weibo Ludwig. I love working in the extra space at the Tarragon, its a good sounding small room where you can use surround sound effectively, as every seat can hear every speaker in the room. This show of course looked at the bombings Ludwig was accused of, which gave me the chance to put bass sound exciters under the risers. Every explosion you could feel in the seats, which was very fun.
First time working out at the very lovely Grand Theatre in London, ON.
Director Krista Jackson put together a great cast and interesting design, which made my job easy as all I had to do was to help pull those elements together and support the vision with some sort of period, sort of modern music.
"the sound design by John Gzowski an inspiration, beautifully supporting the action and emotion on the stage."
Worked on the second phase of Jacqueries for Jacob Niedzwiecki. The piece will be a site specific, but movable piece, built to work in a large room. Most of the music is very polyrythmnic, using a quad sound setup with different metric modulated pieces in each corner, except for this piano piece. This is a form of theme and variation, where the melodic theme becomes a lahara like ground bass for metric modulation variations. With some electro bits at the end.
The Belfry Theatre in Victoria presented a version of Kate Hennig’s The Last Wife, directed by Esther Jun. Since the show is about Henry VIII and his last wife, but set as if it was in modern days, I arranged the real music of Henry VIII into more modern settings. Sometimes using one bar, sometimes slowing down the harmonic movement or looping 4 bars, but always using his melodies and harmonies in a more modern setting. Here's the curtain call, its an arrangement of Henry the VIII's Whoso that Will Obtain.
Mirvish presented a great version of Disgraced, a very smart play about race today. I did some New Yorkish modern jazz, hinting at Caravan, for the theme.
For the Shaw Festival’s production, with Eda Holmes directing, I wrote for a string quartet of sorts. With Sarah Fraser on violin, Anna Redekop on viola, Amber Ghent on cello and Andrew Downing on bass we put together a quartet that only used one violin and had bass as well. Created a lovely and fuller sound then the standard quartet. I recorded the quartet myself, conducting and recording at the same time.
Ashlie Corcoran directed a cool production of the german play, Das Ding, a co-pro between Canstage and Theatre Smash. Very fun and odd play about a piece of cotton.
Jillian Keiley’s production at the National Arts Centre, where she requested a mix of 90’s pop tunes redone as if they were rough sounding string quartet recordings of the period. Also set three pieces to Shakespeare’s song lyrics. Set by the excellent Old Trout Company, all around a really fun and smart production.
Went to Kamloops to rehearse this new play by Lucia Fangione, a lovely story and a co-production between the Arts Club, Western Canada Theatre and Thousand Island Playhouse. We opened in Vancouver and the show is touring through the spring and summer of 2016.