Bringing together Canadian and international artists, SALT was an exciting and innovative two-day festival of contemporary music. In its second year, the festival featured Victoria’s new music ensemble Tsilumos (derived from the Hebrew tsiltsul or "ring" and the Latin lumos or "light"), the University of Victoria Orchestra, and several renowned international guests.
The festival commenced on Friday, March 2, at the University of Victoria with the UVic Orchestra and Ensemble Nikel. Under the direction of Ajtony Csaba, the orchestra presented the world premiere of Lovely Monster Reloaded by Bernhard Gander and the North American premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s Zohar Iver (Blind Radiance) — a concerto for Ensemble Nikel (saxophone, electric guitar, piano, and percussion) and orchestra. Czernowin was in Victoria for the festival and took part in a pre-performance talk.
On Saturday, March 3, the SALT Festival — PART 2 featured Tsilumos Ensemble (Joanna Hood, Ajtony Csaba, Dániel Péter Biró, and Kris Covlin), Ensemble Nikel (Vincent Daoud, Yaron Deutsch, Tom De Cock, and Reto Staub), celebrated Victoria pianist Tzenka Dianova, and Olaf Tzschoppe (Germany), member of Les Percussions de Strassburg and one of the greatest percussionists in the world. At Open Space the Tsilumos Ensemble presented world premieres of new works by Chaya Czernowin (Professor of Composition at Harvard University) and Israeli composer Ruben Seroussi.
Starting at 4 p.m. and continuing late into the evening, audience members had a chance to mingle with the composers and musicians while enjoying food and beverages designed specifically for this event by Victoria Spirits.
This event was supported by the Ernst von Siemens Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts,
Open Space, and the University of Victoria.
Presenting musicians from Basel, Brussels, Lausanne & Tel Aviv, Ensemble Nikel is at the forefront of contemporary music in Europe and beyond. Committed to presenting a new contemporary chamber music sound, the group is constantly tackling the obstacle of melding electric and acoustic instruments into a unified musical organism.
Nikel presents an ongoing subscribers series in Tel Aviv & Haifa; initiates new conceptual projects with various partners, soloists and ensembles; and, in cooperation with composer Yuval Shaked, leads a lecture series introducing various topics related to contemporary music aesthetics. The ensemble has presented a large number of world premiere performances of works by world renowned composers including Chaya Czernowin, Clemens Gadenstätter, Philippe Hurel, and Helmut Oehring, as well as works by young prominent composers such as Raphaël Cendo, Sivan Cohen Elias, Eduardo Moguillansky, Marco Momi, Stefan Prins, and Michael Wertmüller.
Founded in 2006 by Yaron Deutsch and Gan Lev, the ensemble has already been invited to play in prestigious contemporary music festivals including Wien Modern, Donauecshinger Musiktage, Ultraschall (Berlin), Bang on a Can (New York), International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt, Klangspuren (Schwaz), and Warsaw Autumn.
Born in Israel, composer Chaya Czernowin has lived in Germany, Japan, and the US. Her teachers have included Dieter Schnebel, Joan Tower, Brian Ferneyhough, and Roger Reynolds. Czernowin’s chamber and orchestral music has been played at more than forty festivals all over the world and includes commissions by major ensembles, orchestras, and festivals. Characteristic of her work are attempts to find alternative temporalities, changing perspectives and scale, fragmentation, examination, and stretching of identity — all coupled with a strong physical imprint and high emotional intensity. She has been awarded numerous international prizes including Gaudeamus Composer's Workshop, DAAD Scholarship (Berlin), Stipendium Preis and Kranichsteiner Musikpreis (Darmstadt), Asahi Shimbum Fellowship (Tokyo), NEA Composition Commission Grant, ISCM and IRCAM commissions. Czernowin is a Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow.
While in Victoria, Czernowin presented a guest lecture at the University of Victoria on Wednesday, February 29, at 4:30 p.m. in the UVic MacLaurin Building, Rm. A169.
Olaf Tzschoppe was born in 1962 in Kiel, Germany. He obtained a Diploma from the Breiburg-in-Breisgau School of Music and was a DAAD bursary student at the University of Michigan (USA). He is a member of "Sur Plus" (contemporary music ensemble) in Freiburg and gives solo recitals in Germany and elsewhere. He is percussionist with various ensembles (Ensemble Modern, Musik Fabrik Ensemble) and has been soloist with Les Percussions de Strasbourg since 1992. Tzschoppe was instructor of percussion at the Freiburg School of Music from 1991 to 1995 and since 2005, has been teaching at the Hochschule fur Kunste de Bremen in Germany.
Called by the press “a pianistic phenomenon,” Tzenka Dianova has devoted the last decade to the interpretation and introduction of contemporary music to audiences and students.
Tzenka has been an active member and participant with the Bulgarian Society for Modern Music and has taken part in the International Festival of Modern Music Musica Nova in Sofia and the Tic.Toc International Festival of New Performance in Victoria, Canada. She has been a prizewinner at many national and international piano competitions.
Dr. Dianova has regularly performed as a soloist and orchestra member with the Pleven Philharmonia, Sofia State Academy Philharmonia, the Victoria Symphony, and the Auckland Philharmonia. In 2007 she worked as an associate member of the Auckland Philharmonia, and she is currently associated with the Victoria Symphony and Vancouver Island Symphony. She has taught at the Academy of Music, and the School of Music, both at University of Auckland, and at University of Victoria in Canada, and has given master classes world-wide.