Autumn Leaf Performance

Opera for Today’s World

 

14 REMEMBERED

A REQUIEM IN MEMORY OF THE FOURTEEN WOMAN MASSACRED

AT L’ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE IN MONTREAL

DECEMBER 6, 1989

 

WORLD PREMIERE / DECEMBER 6, 2000 MASSEY HALL

 

By

Ahmed Hassan

Toronto, Ontario - November 13, 2000 -- 14 REMEMBERED, a requiem commissioned in memory of the fourteen women slain at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6th, 1989 in the tragedy that history calls The Montreal Massacre, will have its world premiere as part of “New Visions Series” at Massey Hall on December 6, 2000 (tickets start from $15.50 available at the Massey Hall box office 416 872-4255).

 

14 REMEMBERED is a creation by some of Toronto's most exciting music and dance artists. It represents an artistic cross section of diverse cultural musical backgrounds and techniques. The work is inspired by the writings and feelings which surround such an event in society, the indelible memory it leaves behind and the healing that each person continues to experience.  Commissioned and produced by Autumn Leaf Performance in partnership with Music Canada 2000 and the Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall Incorporation, it is a forward thinking musical work of 75-minutes in the style of a contemporary requiem whose structure is simple, powerful and dramatic. 14 REMEMBERED is supported IN PART by The White Ribbon Campaign to benefit the December 6 Fund and The Canadian Women’s Foundation. 

 

14 REMEMBERED is a requiem in memory of the fourteen women who were massacred: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Maria Klucznik, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Anne St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte.

 

Conception & music direction by AHMED HASSAN in collaboration with CELINA CARROLL (vocals/percussion), GRAHAM HARGROVE (percussion), KATHLEEN KAJIOKA (viola/vocals), LOUIS SIMÃO (double-bass), JAMES BINNIE (didgeridoo), DEBASHIS SINHA (tabla), YARED TESFAYE (vocals/percussion),  ERNIE TOLLAR (saxophone), MARYEM HASSAN TOLLAR (vocals),  PEGGY BAKER (dancer), SARAH CHASE (dancer) and ROULA SAID (dancer). Several performance sequences will incorporate the participation of women and girls.

 

Having contracted multiple sclerosis at the height of his musical career Ahmed Hassan remains one of Toronto’s most hardworking and celebrated composers today. Over the years he has been commissioned by Dancemakers, EDAM, Peggy Baker Dance Projects and many other music and dance groups across Canada. For Ahmed 14 Remembered is a labor of love and appeal to all Canadians to remember those fourteen young women and to challenge the senseless violence that continues against women.

 

The diverse approaches incorporated by Hassan and collaborators mirror the many complex responses to the massacre.  Through their collaborative creative experience, it is hoped that a step will be made towards a remembrance filled with understanding, compassion and hope. The social and psychological themes expressed in 14 Remembered  have been drawn from the book Polytechnique - 6 décembre, a literary confluence of letters, testimonies, memories and commentaries resulting from this tragedy and edited by Louise Malette and Marie Chalouh, published in 1990.

 

“My compositional method involves initiating, directing, culling and organizing material developed through improvisation with a small group of collaborating musicians working within instrumental and vocal parameters that I establish and intuit from this event,” states Hassan.   “We have incorporated a broad spectrum of musical styles, from traditional Arabic to western classical music, which I foresee being integrated within this piece to express the ethnic and spiritual backgrounds of the victims and our collective memory."

 

Autumn Leaf Performance promotes a forward-thinking spirit of contemporary opera culture through national and international collaborations, commissioning new works, educational outreach and advocating new ideas in the performance, presentation and diffusion of opera and music performance creation. Since 1992 ALP has produced and presented the operatic works of R. Murray Schafer, Alain Thibault, Jean Piché, Giorgio Battistelli, Wende Bartley, Hans Werner Henze, Ahmed Hassan, Rainer Wiens, Juhan Puhm, Arnold Schoenberg, Jean Barraqué, Peter Hannan, Giacinto Scelsi and Claude Vivier. As well, ALP has presented music concert events which included Michael Nyman and His Band, The Master Musicians of Jajouka, John Oswald and a fusion of film and music with filmmakers Atom Egoyan and Peter Mettler and music groups Nexus and the Evergreen Gamelan Club. ALP has been broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio France and coordinated the 1995 International New-Op(era) Conference in Toronto. Recently, ALP presented the world premiere of Wende Bartley’s Electric Flesh at the Opéra de Lyon with the Musique-en-scène Festival and is presently touring a France-Canada production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernicus (Musica Festival in Strasbourg, Huddersfield Festival in England, Toronto’s MacMillan Theatre and Opéra de Montréal).

 

ALP is a federally registered charitable arts organization 11921-3973-RT0001. Our annual budget is made up of 30% federal, provincial and city operational and touring subsidies, 15% lottery earnings, 35% ticket sales and touring revenues, and finally 15% foundations, corporate sponsorships and individual donations. Please note that Autumn Leaf Performance ceased its not-for-profit operations in 2004 after 23 years.)

 

Artistic Producer - Thom Sokoloski

General Manager - Lynda Clouette

Light and concert design - Steve Lucas

Sound - Paul Hodge

 

BIOS :

Ahmed Hassan has composed and performed music for dance and theatre across the country, and on tour around the globe, since 1981 including Mother Tongue, Urban Pygmies, Boss Doo, Desrosiers Dance Theatre, Dancemakers, EDAM, Da Collision, Peggy Baker Dance Projects and many others. Confined to a wheelchair due to Multiple Sclerosis, Mr. Hassan is outspoken in his advocacy for disabled people's rights and for their full participation and inclusion in all aspects of community and culture.

Celina Carroll has been involved in diverse musical projects including composing music for dance and film. She has toured extensively as a lead singer and multi-instrumentalist and was awarded Female Performer of the Year by the Toronto African Music Association in 1997.

 

Graham Hargrove is a Toronto based percussionist. He has studied with Salvador Ferrerras, Russel Hartenberger, Beverly Johnston and Trichy Sankaran. He has performed and recorded locally and abroad in a variety of styles in classical and world music genres.

 

Kathleen Kajioka is a violist living and working in Toronto.  In addition to performing as a chamber musician, Kathleen is exploring her instrument outside of its traditional role in western classical music.

 

Louis Simao is an upright bassist and pianist who works mostly in the jazz idiom, notably with Rita di Ghent, Marte Eisenman, Bonnie Brett and Sean Bray. He has made forays into world music with Ashkaru, plays piano with the latin-jazz group One Step Beyond and Portuguese folk music with Alvorada. A BFA graduate from York, he also plays accordion.

 

Debashis Sinha is a percussionist who accompanies modern dance and performs with a variety of ensembles in Toronto, finding obscure rhythmic connections between many different styles of traditional and contemporary music.  He has composed music for film, dance and theatre.

 

Originally from Ethiopia in East Africa, Yared Tesfaye is a Toronto based musician who was a lead vocalist and guitar player with the world beat band Mother Tongue, renamed Ashkaru. He is presently working with Canadian Ethiopian youth as president of S.E.A., Society of Ethiopian Artists Inc.

 

Ernie Tollar has performed saxophone South Indian music with  Trichy Sankaran, jazz with David Restivo's group, and free form world - jazz with Rick Lazar, Hugh Marsh, Levon in Spare Parts. He plays in Maza Meze and Doula with his wife Maryem Tollar and friends.

 

Maryem Hassan Tollar performs in Toronto with Doula and Maza Meze.  She has also been involved in many projects for dance including The Trilogy of Sable/Sand with Dancemakers, Assara with Peggy Baker, Old Road/New World with Joanna Das and Esmerelda Enrique, and on-going projects with Roula Said.

 

Peggy Baker has been an integral member of the dance communities in both Toronto and New York for the past 25 years. A soloist who performs regularly with pianist Andrew Burashko, she has also shared the stage with Amici, The Modern Quartet, Henry Kucharzyk, James Somerville, the TSO, actors Michael Healey and Jackie Burroughs and dancers Margie Gillis, Paul-Andre Fortier, Doug Varone, Christopher House, Susan Macpherson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mark Morris, David Earle and Molissa Fenley among a host of others.

 

One of the Toronto's dance scene's brightest lights, Sarah Chase has worked with a multitude of choreographers including Benoit Lachambre, Bill James, Claudia Moore, Michelle Silagy, Peggy Baker, Mitch Kirsch and many more. For the past two years she has spent a great deal of her time in Europe, creating in residencies and performing her unique solo dances with words at major festivals.

 

Roula Said is a Middle Eastern dancer and musician.  She is a member of the Arabic and Greek band Maza Meze and the Arabic music trio Doula.  Sometimes she works as an actor in theatre and film.

 

James Binnie is an expert didgeridoo player. He was born and raised in Toronto. He is grateful to be involved in 14 REMEMBERED and prays none forget and all live to change.

Autumn Leaf Performance

 

presents

 

14  REMEMBERED

 

A Requiem for the Fourteen Women

Murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique

on December 6, 1989

 

A work-in-progress presented

by

The Music Gallery

8pm, December 6, 1999

Concept and Musical Direction

Ahmed Hassan

 

Created and Performed by Musicians

Celina Carroll, Graham Hargrove, Ahmed Hassan, Kathleen Kajioka, Louis Simao, Debashis Sinha, Yared Tesfaye, Ernie Tollar, Maryem Hassan Tollar

 

Choreographed and Performed by Dancers

Peggy Baker, Sarah Chase, Roula Said

 

Sound

Paul Hodge

 

Text for this project is drawn from the book Polytechnique, 6 décembre and from its English translation, The Montreal Massacre, both edited by Louise Malette and Marie Chalouh.  It is used with the permission of Gynergy Books.

 

Additional text was contributed by Kathleen Kajioka, Yared Tesfaye, Ahmed Hassan, Peggy Baker and Roula Said.

14 Remembered is a labour of love.  It is dedicated to the memory of the fourteen women whose lives were lost December 6, 1989 in the tragedy that history calls The Montreal Massacre:

 

Geneviève Bergeron

Hélène Colgan

Nathalie Croteau

Barbara Daigneault

Anne-Marie Edward

Maud Haviernick

Barbara Maria Klucznik

Maryse Laganière

Maryse Leclair

Anne-Marie Lemay

Sonia Pelletier

Michèle Richard

Anne St-Arneault

Annie Turcotte

 

Please observe the one minute of silence that occurs 3/4 of the way through the performance in their honour.