Nicole Lizée on the Mosaïque Project Photo: Murray Lightburn.

Nicole Lizée on the Mosaïque Project

Jenna Simeonov

What does Canadian music sound like? It’s a question that the members of Ensemble Made in Canada address with their newly commissioned Musical Mosaïque, a suite for piano quartet written by 14 different Canadian composers who make a musical nod to a particular province, territory, or region of the country.

Saskatchewan native Nicole Lizée, with her compelling and eclectic style inspired by everything from rave culture to Alfred Hitchcock, makes her contribution to the Musical Mosaïque by paying homage to her home province. We spoke with Lizée about her musical aesthetic, and what it means to be a part of this very Canadian project.

What does it mean to you to be one of the 14 composers creating this Musical Mosaïque?

Canada is full of incredible composers so to be asked to be one of the 14 means a great deal. The group selected also spans a wide array of genres, which I strongly believe is essential in representing the diversity of our culture in Canada.

What possibilities do you hear in the piano quartet ensemble? How will you approach composing for the Ensemble Made in Canada?

Keeping in mind the vast, rich history of piano quartet writing, my interest lies in developing a work that moves forward within the genre - looking for new ways to express musical and conceptual ideas.

What message or statement do you hope to bring to this multi-genre musical suite?

The work is personal for me - it references the emotions I’ve experienced during my time growing up there and the questions I still have and look to now explore and express within an artistic context.

Saskatchewan has a mysterious and mystical side, which this piece alludes to.

What do you think are some misconceptions Canadians may have, or assumptions they may make about where you’re from, and your musical style? How do you hope to clearly represent yourself?

For the past few years I’ve been thinking a lot about Canadian culture - or Canadiana - and, more specifically, Saskatchewan culture and identity. I’ve written two large-scale works in addition to this one that explores this as a premise. I feel I’ve just started this exploration. Having grown up in Saskatchewan the place was always with me but it’s not really until recently where I have felt that I can express these emotions and ideas in an artistic context.

For full details about the Mosaïque Project, and to follow its tour dates across Canada, visit Ensemble Made in Canada’s website. To meet the other composers, check out this YouTube playlist.

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