This fall I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a concert and workshop tour around Bulgaria with Silakbo Ensemble, and fellow composers Adam Clarke and Bogdan Ivanov. We toured to four Bulgarian cities, and in each city we performed an evening concert, and conducted workshops with students at specialty music schools. It was so rewarding to work with these students and share new music with them.
This tour was a Canada-Bulgaria cultural exchange. Each of the three composers were commissioned to compose works that were inspired by the music of the other country. This was really exciting for me as I got the chance to dive into Bulgarian folk music. I had performed Turko-Balkan folk music with Oro! Orkestra (on accordion, percussion, and voice) so I had some familiarity with related music, but hadn't yet worked with Bulgarian music specifically. For my piece, Grains, I created a series of movements that shift between unusual, but fairly clear arrangements of Bulgarian folk music, and movements that magnify a small facet of that music to create apparently unconnected sounds.
This project will continue with a tour of eastern Canada in the fall of 2020 to complete the cultural exchange!
Photos by Mikko Pablo