Tara Williamson

Tara Williamson. (Image: Summer Faith Garcia)

Music of the Americas: Canada Culture Week

The week of November 9–13 will feature everything from Anishinaabe/Cree to Trinidadian/Québécois artists, and the premiere of Kopernikus online.

From November 9–13, our cultural programs will be dedicated exclusively to Canadian musicians and visual artists in a co-presentation with the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

Music of the Americas' ongoing online video series En Casa (At Home) becomes At Home/À la maison this week, while our Visual Arts team will be in conversation on Instagram Live with two Canadian artists. To close the week, we will premiere an online version of our production of Claude Vivier's opera Kopernikus. The Recuerdos (Memories) series takes a break.

Musicians include Thanya Iyer Trio, Elinor Frey, Tara Williamson, Suzie LeBlanc, Laura Andreani, and Kobo Town. Artists include Emily Shanahan and Elise Rasmussen.

Thanya Iyer

Monday, November 9, 10 am
At Home/À la maison/Abi

Thanya Iyer is an enigmatic songwriter who crafts sparkling experimental pop music. Her live trio, with Alex Kasirer-Smibert and Daniel Gélinas, uses acoustic and electronic instruments to flesh out serene, spiritual compositions. Iyer and the band’s arrangements empower listeners to embrace mindfulness, beauty, and the interconnectedness of all things. They recently released their sophomore visual album, KIND. From home in Montréal they sent us “I Forget to Drink Water (Balance)." Thanya writes about it: "This is a song about a realization. When things just don't seem right, moving to fast and forgetting to take care, you lose your grounding, your centeredness and you are not sure if you are on the right path. You are looking for something and trying to make sense of the things that don't seem right in yourself and around you in the world. This song is about coming to terms with that strain."

“I Forget to Drink Water (Balance)," by Thanya Iyer.

Elinor Frey

Tuesday, November 10, 10 am
At Home/À la maison/Abi

Elinor Frey is a leading Canadian-American cellist and researcher who specializes in early and new music. Her acclaimed CDs on the Passacaille label, most of which are world premiere recordings, include La voce del violoncello (2013), Berlin Sonatas (2015) with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, Fiorè (2017), which features soprano Suzie LeBlanc, and Giuseppe Clemente Dall’Abaco: Cello Sonatas (2020), which received a Diapason d’Or. Her critical edition of Dall’Abaco Sonatas is published in collaboration with Walhall Editions. Frey’s album of new works for Baroque cello, titled Guided By Voices, was released on Analekta (2019). In recent seasons, she has performed as a soloist throughout North America and Europe, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica. Frey holds degrees from McGill University, Mannes, and Juilliard. She teaches early cello at the University of Montreal, lectures at McGill University, and is a Visiting Fellow in Music at Oxford University. From Montreal, Frey sent us the Allemande from Bach's second Violin Partita.

Allemande, from Partita BWV 1004, by JS Bach.

Emily Shanahan

Tuesday, November 10, 5 pm
In the Studio: Emily Shanahan in conversation with Aimé Iglesias Lukin
Instagram Live

Emily Shanahan is a visual artist working primarily with video and collage. Her interdisciplinary practice addresses issues of gendered labour and technology with special attention to the behaviors, gestures, and societal norms that circulate across media. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Her most recent artist book, Work Life Harmony was published by Sming Sming Books and is held in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Library collection.

Tara Williamson

Wednesday, November 11, 10 a.m.
At Home/À la maison/Abi

Tara Williamson is an Anishinaabe/Cree singer and songwriter from Manitoba, now based in Victoria, whose first full-length album, Songs to Keep Us Warm (produced by Jim Bryson in 2016) was nominated for “Best Pop Album” at the 2017 Indigenous Music Awards. In addition to her music career, Williamson is also a professional educator and writer and holds degrees in social work, law, and Indigenous governance. From Victoria, she sent us a version of her "Little Ceremonies," a song that she had never recorded before. 

At Home/À la maison/Abi: Tara Williamson- "Little Ceremonies"

Suzie LeBlanc, Laura Andriani, Elinor Frey

Thursday, November 12, 10 a.m.
At Home/À la maison/Abi
Facebook LeBlanc Facebook Andriani

Passionate about early music, international star soprano Suzie LeBlanc has recorded much unpublished early music, solo works by Handel, Mozart, and Messiaen, contemporary works, and traditional repertoire of her native Acadia. Her recordings received international praise and several awards. Her album I am in need of music on poems by Elizabeth Bishop won an ECMA for best classical music recording. Appointed to the Order of Canada in 2014, she has earned four honorary doctorates and teaches early music at McGill University where she directs Cappella Antica. From Montreal, she sent us two pieces from the Hidden paths project, which she is developing in collaboration with Frey and Laura Andriani, first violin of the Alcan Quartet who has a stellar international career. The project presents Bach’s solo violin music in versions that take advantage of the unique capabilities of each performer, making audible the hidden structures which inspired the compositions. Soprano and a cello underline the cantus firmus that weaves throughout the solo violin compositions and unites the parts.

At Home/À la maison/Abi: Suzie LeBlanc-Laura Andriani-Elinor Frey: Andante from Bach's Sonata BWV 1003. 

Elise Rasmussen

Thursday, November 12, 5 p.m.
In the Studio: Elise Rasmussen in conversation with Natalia Viera Salgado
Instagram Live

Edmontonian Elise Rasmussen is a research-based artist working with lens-based media. She has exhibited, performed, and screened her work internationally. Publications such as Art in AmericaBOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, Canadian Art, and The New Inquiry have written about her work, and she has received several grants and awards in Canada and the United States. She is currently part of the Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton) and has upcoming screenings and exhibitions at JOAN (Los Angeles), Dazibao (Montreal), and Gallery 44 (Toronto), Friday, November 13, 10 am.

Kobo Town

Friday, November 13, 10 am
At Home/À la maison/Abi

Founded and fronted by Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town’s music has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass” (Guardian). From their home in Toronto, the JUNO-nominated group has brought their distinct calypso-inspired sound to audiences across the world, from Port-of-Spain to Paris and from Montreal to Malaysia. At once brooding and joyous, intensely poetic and highly danceable, Gonsalves' songs are rooted in Caribbean folk music, while the band delivers them with an indomitable energy that has earned them a considerable following far beyond the niche of world music enthusiasts and calypso fans. Gonsalves was born in Diego Martin to a Trinidadian father and a Québécoise mother, and moved to Ottawa at age 13. Music and poetry were a way for Gonsalves to deal with his sense of dislocation and exile.

Kopernikus Online

Friday, November 13, 5 p.m.

Watch the concert live at the time of the event on the Kopernikus event page. As a special addition to this season’s concerts, we will host a virtual reception with the musicians after each performance. Americas Society members can register by emailing membership@as-coa.org. Argentine artist Sergio Policicchio prepared an online version of his production of Vivier’s only opera, which Americas Society’s ensemble Meridionalis premiered in 2018 in Buenos Aires. The audio in this version is a live recording from the 2019 New York City premiere of the opera performed by Meridionalis and the International Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Sebastian Zubieta.


Logo for the government of Canada

The Canada Culture Week is co-presented by Americas Society and the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

The MetLife Foundation Music of the Americas concert series is made possible by the generous support of Presenting Sponsor MetLife Foundation.

The Fall 2020 Music program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional support for the 2019 production of Kopernikus was provided by the Consulate General of Canada in New York, the Québec Government Office in New York, and The Amphion Foundation, Inc.