Citizen Artistry

We were honoured to be featured in the eleventh issue of smART magazine. In this interview with Arlan Vriens, we talk about our role in helping shape the future of classical music, commissioning and upcoming projects, Ecology of Being, Newfoundland, and the Tuckamore Festival.

Nancy and Tim believe artists play an important role in trying to better our world. They are increasingly focused on extra-musical projects which address social justice and environmental issues through large scale commissioning programs and school outreach.

Funded with assistance from the Canada Council of the Arts and ArtsNL, Duo Concertante’s “Ecology of Being” is inspired by the climate emergency and mankind’s reliance on the earth not only for survival but for resilience, mental health and spirituality. Using music to engage and challenge reflection on the legacy of environmental destruction we may be leaving the next generation, Canadian and Indigenous composers Dawn Avery, Carmen Braden, Ian Cusson, Melissa Hui, and Bekah Simms created five works which were premiered during Tuckamore Festival’s digital 2020 season and were performed live for the first time at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival in July 2021. Melissa Hui’s piece, which shares the cycle’s name, was made into a 21-minute film which won Best Experimental Film and Best Original Score at the IndieX Filmfest and was a semi-finalist at the Montreal Independent Film Festival. The Duo has also taken Ecology of Being to numerous schools in NL through a digital outreach program.

Explore all the works of Ecology of Being and the composer videos here.

Another school program, “What Life Throws at You”, explores the difficult lives of Schumann, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Glenn Gould, and Emile Benoît. All of these extraordinary musicians faced seemingly insurmountable challenges, but these perceived disadvantages may have played a critical role in their special artistry. Through these life stories and music, students examine issues of physical disability, discrimination, mental illness, sexuality and marginalization.