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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Event Guide: Concrete Toronto Music

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The good Toronto boosters at the Music Gallery have two special shows inspired by the Concrete Toronto book. On Sunday May 25 & Sunday June 1 Toronto musicians will come together to make music about some of Toronto concrete buildings. Not since the Talking Heads put out “More songs about buildings and food” has architecture been so sonically sexy.

The Music Gallery and present CONCRETE TORONTO MUSIC As part of the soundaXis Festival

*** Toronto indie and contemporary musicians pay tribute to iconic city buildings ***

Two concerts in two special *concrete* locations:

Sunday May 25 @ Polish Combatants Hall, 206 Beverley St.
Doors 7pm, concert 8pm
Tickets: $20 regular/$15 member + senior/$10 student

Sunday June 1 @ Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd.
2-5pm • FREE with admission to OSC — OR purchase tickets: $20 regular/$15 member + student INCLUDING SCHOOL BUS RIDE from Music Gallery (meet at 12:45pm)

Advance tickets available at
More info:

• Carla Huhtanen (voice) and Wallace Halladay (saxophone) performing a newly commissioned piece by composer Erik Ross, featuring text by Darren O’Donnell and Carl Wilson
• CCMC (legendary improvising trio: Paul Dutton, voice; John Oswald, saxophone; Michael Snow, keyboards) *** May 25 only
• Sandro Perri (electronics) and Tony Dekker (guitar and voice)
• Smith & Wiernik (electronics and visuals)
• Knurl (contact mic’ed concrete slabs with effects)

About Concrete Toronto Music
Concrete Toronto Music is a concert of original new music, created by Toronto composers and musicians, in response to Toronto’s Concrete Architecture, as catalogued in the 2007 book Concrete Toronto (ERA Architects/Coach House Books, Michael McClelland and Graeme Stewart, editors). Many iconic buildings, such as City Hall and the Ontario Science Centre, used concrete as their primary material during the building frenzy that gave expression to the growth of Toronto in the decades of the 1950s to the 1970s. The Music Gallery has commissioned a significant handful of Toronto-based composers and musicians to create new works that pay tribute to Toronto’s concrete legacy, experiment with concrete’s mutability and explore these buildings’ role in the city’s psycho-geography. These two concerts take place in two of the actual concrete buildings — the Polish Combatants Hall (Wieslaw Wodkiewicz, architect) and the Ontario Science Centre (Raymond Moriyama, architect). Curated by Jonathan Bunce and Carl Wilson (, author of Let’s Talk About Love).

CCMC: This free improvisational band and true Toronto institution has been reinventing itself, with shifting constellations and consistent questing spirit, for over four decades. For the last 13 years, CCMC has been the trio of Michael Snow (piano and synthesizer), John Oswald (alto sax), and “concrete” poet Paul Dutton (soundsinging and harmonica), who carry on the iconoclastic practice of the original CCMC formed in 1975 by Snow and four others. Please note: CCMC will be performing on May 25 at the Polish Combatants Hall ONLY.

Tony Dekker
Tony Dekker is a singer/songwriter who explores the worlds of indie folk, roots music and alt-country, with a focus on lyrics and songwriting, making unique references to the City of Toronto’s geography. Known for haunting, somber ballads, Dekker’s sound blends natural reverb with folky arrangements and inspirational lyrics. Three albums have been released to date (the latest, Ongiara, named for the Toronto Island Ferry), which have had Dekker and his the band on the move for the past few years, playing venues across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia.,

Wallace Halladay
Canadian saxophonist Wallace Halladay captures the qualities of the modern virtuoso, being at home in numerous styles, from the traditional to jazz and beyond. A specialist in the performance of contemporary music, he has commissioned and premiered numerous works. As soloist, he has performed concerti by Ibert, Schmitt, Husa, Scelsi and Donatoni, as well as premieres of Colgrass, Kagel and Scott Good. Wallace recorded the two saxophone Sequenzas of Berio and the Colgrass concerto for NAXOS. He has been presented by and performed with new music groups and orchestras across Canada and the US. Wallace holds a doctorate from Eastman, and studied in Amsterdam with Arno Bornkamp. Wallace is a Conn-Selmer Artist and plays Selmer (Paris) saxophones.

Carla Huhtanen
Carla began her professional career at Teatro La Fenice (Venice) in Gershwin’s Lady, Be Good! and Cherubini’s Anacreon in 2000. She sang Angelica in Handel’s Orlando and the title role in Purcell’s Fairy Queen, touring Provence. Her UK debut was for Garsington Opera — Lisetta in La Gazzetta (2001) and Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera (2003). Other highlights include Bernstein’s Candide with the BBC Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic and the National Orchestra of Malta. At home in Toronto, she sings with Opera Atelier and Tapestry New Opera. Recent performances include Salonen’s Five Images after Sappho (KW Symphony) and Tapestry’s Opera to Go. Future engagements include Blizzard Voices (Moravec) with Opera Omaha and Opera Atelier’s Die Entfà¼hrung.

Knurl, a.k.a. Alan Bloor, is one of the premier noise artists in Canada. Knurl began as a solo project in late 1994 with the idea to take music as we know it and strip it entirely of what we know music to be: its rhythm, melody, and vocals. Using contact mics and scrap metal, his work is at times reminiscent of the likes of Daniel Menche and Haters. Knurl has released work with Alien8 Recordings, RRR and Self Abuse, among many other labels. Recordings of Knurl are always without the assistance of computers, synthesizers or samplers.

Sandro Perri is a Toronto-based musician/producer who has been steadily developing a unique voice since his 1999 debut as Polmo Polpo. Utilizing percussion, electronics, lap steel guitar or harmonica to create a rich world of sound like dub without the reggae, his music moves across a spectrum of styles including dance, drone, pop, minimalism, noise, jazz and more. Recently he has dipped further into improvisation and vocal-based songwriting, both solo and in collaboration with Great Lake Swimmers, Glissandro 70 and Double Suicide.

Erik Ross
Dr. Erik Ross composes for all media. He has had performances of his works in Canada, the United States, Mexico, England, Japan and Australia. He recently completed an accordion and audio piece for Joseph Petric as well as an ensemble piece for Toca Loca’s P*P Project. Projects for this year include a large work for the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, an audio/chamber piece for Wallace Halladay and Ryan Scott, and a piece for the Hannaford Street Silver Band.

Smith & Wiernik is a multi-media project dedicated to the recontextualization of urban space. A venture between Neil Wiernik & Greg J. Smith, the collaboration is a creative vehicle for the duo’s diverse backgrounds in architecture, audio art, drawing and musical composition. The project is an experiment in the creation of “site specific” audio-visual pieces which document the experiential qualities, history, geometry and character of the architectural and infrastructural spaces of the city around us. Concrete Toronto marks the first performance of what will be an ongoing collaboration.,

Top photo by mtlp