One of the great things about Canada is that it’s teeming with virtuoso musicians from around the world. For Mervon Mehta, the executive director of performing arts at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto's musical richness provides ample opportunities to start projects with musicians from all different backgrounds.
“I said to myself, what if we figured out a way to bring all of them together and create a new sound that kind of looks and sounds like Toronto in 2017?” he says. And so the idea of the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra was born, to celebrate the cultural diversity and pluralism of Canada.
After numerous auditions that totalled 125 people from 47 different countries, what emerged was an orchestra of 12 who played nearly three dozen musical instruments among them: Padideh Ahrarnejad (Iran), Sasha Boychouk (Ukraine), Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk (Canada – Métis), Luis Deniz (Cuba), Anwar Khurshid (Pakistan), Lasso (a.k.a. Salif Sanou) (Burkina Faso), Paco Luviano (Mexico), Aline Morales (Brazil), Demetrios Petsalakis (Greece), Matias Recharte (Peru), Dorjee Tsering (Tibet), and Dora Wang (China). Juno Award-winning trumpeter, composer and bandleader David Buchbinder would oversee the artistic direction, and each musician would compose an original piece for the orchestra to play together.
For more about the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra members and to listen to each of their original compositions, click the image below.
In honour of Canada’s birthday, CBC Music invited the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra to perform Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom” at the CBC studios in Toronto. Arranged by Buchbinder, this version of the Peterson classic incorporated instruments from each orchestra member’s musical tradition.
It was a day like Studio 211 had never seen before, filled with instruments from a dozen countries. In between takes, we invited some of the musicians to show us how to play their instruments. Get intros to the tar, oud, cajón and bamboo flute, below.
Padideh Ahrarnejad: an intro to tar
Demetrios Petsalakis: an intro to oud
Matias Recharte: an intro to cajón
Dora Wang: an intro to bamboo flute
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More to explore:
Padideh Ahrarnejad (Iran)
Sasha Boychouk (Ukraine)
Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk (Canada – Métis)
Luis Deniz (Cuba)
Anwar Khurshid (Pakistan)
Lasso (a.k.a. Salif Sanou) (Burkina Faso)
Paco Luviano (Mexico)
Aline Morales (Brazil)
Demetrios Petsalakis (Greece)
Matias Recharte (Peru)
Dorjee Tsering (Tibet)
Dora Wang (China)