Last year, the Banff Centre asked me to create a residency program that would bring together singer songwriters with classical musicians. I proposed an idea that I had experimented with a number of times with Art of Time called Source & Inspiration
. The idea involved choosing a beautiful, meaty piece of chamber music - a piece full of material that could be plundered for pop songs, and then to invite a diverse group of songwriters to write songs borrowing material and inspiration from the classical work. Then, I would invite composers to arrange those songs for the same instrumentation as the classical source piece. The songs would then be performed alongside the original classical work. In the past, we had done this with music by Schubert
(Piano Trio), Schumann
(Piano Quintet) and Korngold
(Suite for piano, two violins and cello) and each time the results were exciting and satisfying.
This program took place at the Banff Centre over three weeks last November. The source piece was the Dvorak Piano Quintet and the results exceeded all my expectations. The faculty included Sarah Slean
and John Southworth
who mentored the songwriters; Robert Carli
, Cameron Wilson
& Christos Hatzis who mentored the group of composer/arrangers; and myself and Steven Dann
who worked with the classical ensemble on the Dvorak and original songs. The group of participants involved were an amazing and talented group of people who worked together beautifully. The Dvorak Quintet and the resulting eleven songs are still ringing in my ears two months later.
Image: Benjamin Bowman, Andrew Burashko and Rachel Mercer in performance, April 6, 2013. Photo by John Lauener.