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Element Choir at UofT Mississauga

  • University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus 3359 Mississauga Road Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6 Canada (map)

I'm excited to have my first two performances with Christine Duncan's Element Choir this month! Here's a little on this concert:

"The project is a big year-long endeavour, but one of the smaller parts of it is an exhibition called Habits of Care, curated by Helena Reckitt. The choir will perform non-standard scores composed from various Protocols, Policies and Proposals that seek to define and influence various art world practices. These include existing museum policies on the treatment of human remains and expropriated objects, to current activist efforts such as those of W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) certification for arts organizations, and as-yet-unrealized proposals including Seth Seiglaub and Robert Pojansky's Artists' Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement which attempted to protect artists' rights and interests as their work circulated within the art world system.

Lisa Busby (artist/composer and Senior Lecturer in Music at Goldsmiths) is working with these texts, making choir scores that involve singing, speaking, and other sound-making (and non-sound-making performance) activities to explore the source documents."

The Element Choir draws singers from a broad spectrum of styles, from concert sopranos to singer songwriters to sound poets to Japanese folk singers, composers and musicians. Thanks to a Canada Council Arts (study, research) Grant, Christine has had workshops/concerts with over 180 different singers in the past 2 years, further developing her technique for conduction and choir improvising. Christine Duncan and the Element choir have developed quite a language of sound to draw from for improvisation. This is a group that works with both structured and non-structured elements, based primarily on a system of conduction cues. As an ensemble they explore textural and timbral sound qualities, soundscapes, rhythmic patterns, sound poetry,  musical genre interplay and extended voice techniques. This cinematic approach to group vocalizing presents both tonal and non-tonal material in a constantly evolving and 'in the moment' sonic environment. Through various conduction cues and signals Christine has developed, she's able to convey great emotion and drama through sound and vocal energy.