Tour of art and education and continuation oc croatian-canadian music cooperation
Berislav Šipuš, composer and conductor, professor at the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb and artistic director of the Cantus Ensemble, is leaving for Canada at the end of April for an artistic and pedagogical tour. This will continue the long-standing, even decades-long, collaboration between Croatian and Canadian composers and associations dedicated to contemporary music.
Berislav Šipuš performed in Canada for the first time in 2006, and his first Croatian-Canadian projects were carried out in collaboration with composer Michael Pep and the ensemble and art association Les Amis from Toronto. Michael Pepa visited Music Biennale Zagreb for the first time in 1979, and at the next edition of the festival, he presented a selection from contemporary Canadian music in the form of the Soundstage Canada project. The ensemble Les amis performed at the MBZ in 2009 and again in 2015 when they were joined by the Canadian Penderecki String Quartet.
As part of the Croatian-Canadian cooperation, Cantus Ensemble held two tours in Canada, in 2008 and 2014, performing in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, and presenting more than 20 works by contemporary Croatian composers to the Canadian audience. Michael Pepa also helped organize guest appearances by other Croatian musicians, such as Renata Pokupić, the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet, the Porin String Quartet as well as the Zagreb Guitar Trio. For merits in promoting Croatian music culture in Canada, Michael Pepa was awarded the Order of the Croatian Danica with the figure of Marko Marulić in 2015.
A new phase of this musical collaboration began in the season of 2019/2020, when Cantus Ensemble and Michael Pepa were joined by a new partner, the Turning Point Ensemble from Vancouver. The first guest in Zagreb was Owen Underhill, artistic director of the Turning Point ensemble, who conducted the Cantus Ensemble in 2019 in a concert featuring compositions by six Canadian contemporary music composers. The return visit, in which the artistic director of the Croatian ensemble - Berislav Šipuš - leads the Canadian ensemble, had to be postponed until 2022 due to the pandemic, ie until Šipuš's departure to Canada this year. The ensemble Turning Point, meanwhile, has virtually participated in the 2021 Music Biennale, with an online concert, talk, and short films.
Berislav Šipuš will hold concerts and lectures in Canada once again promoting Croatian music:
He will give a lecture on Croatian piano music in the second half of the 20th century at the Department of Composition at the University of Toronto, with the participation of Canadian-Italian pianist Erica Crinó, who will play selected works by Croatian composers. Šipuš will then lead the Canadian Sinfonietta ensemble, performing a diverse international program including one of his own compositions. The lecture on Croatian piano music will be repeated in the city of Cobourg, where pianist Crinó will perform again.
From the east coast of Canada, Šipuš will travel to Vancouver to conduct the Turning Point ensemble there, for two concerts as part of their concert season, on April 29 and 30. The concerts are entitled In the Distance, mirroring Šipuš's composition In der Ferne. At the concerts, the Canadian ensemble and Croatian guest will present works by Stanko Horvat, Marko Ruždjak, Srđan Dedić, Krešimir Seletković, Ivana Kiš, and Berislav Šipuš.
The continuation of Croatian-Canadian contemporary music cooperation has already been planned and the following two chapters are known: first the ensembles Turning Point and Les Amis will travel to Zagreb where they will partake in the concert season of the Cantus Ensemble 2023/2024. The program will feature works by contemporary Canadian composers, and the ensemble’s artistic directors will give lectures at the Academy of Music.
The Cantus Ensemble will in turn embark on its third Canadian tour, to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Cobourg and Vancouver in the fall of 2024. Croatian-Canadian musical ties are thus guaranteed to develop and strengthen in the coming years.