"Something Canadian": the Canadian Women Composers Project

"Something Canadian": the Canadian Women Composers Project

Jenna Simeonov

When soprano Clarisse Tonigussi was on the hunt for “something Canadian” to include on her graduating recital, she learned that it was surprisingly easy to fill a programme with music written by men. “It was in that moment I realized that I need to learn more about the music written by our women, here in Canada.”

Tonigussi has not only created a recital programme filled with music by Canadian composers and poets, but expanded her work into what is now the Canadian Women Composers Project, and taken the programme on tour with the help of pianists Jenna Richards, Narmina Efendiyeva, and Jenny Griffioen.

In historical order, the hour-long recital brings focus to the music of Gena Branscombe, Jean Coulthard, Jean Ethridge, Carol Ann Weaver, Mary Gardiner, Ana Sokolovic, Jana Skarecky, and Martha Hill Duncan; also on the programme is Rebekah Cummings’ newly commissioned The Way I Dream, based on Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, and written for Tonigussi’s voice. The music is set to poetry by Madeleine Guimont, P.K. Page, Judith Miller, Majorie Pickthall, Beatrice Redpath, and E. Pauline Johnson, and Tonigussi wears a gown by Canadian designer Carly Cumpson.

The Canadian Women Composers Project reprises its tour in Regina, Saskatchewan on September 22, and continues through Ontario and British Columbia through spring of 2018. Torontonians can catch Clarisse Tonigussi and pianist Narmina Efendiyeva at Gallery 345 on October 22, 3pm.

It’s an ambitious, thoughtful project, and one deserving of attention. To find out more and get a full line-up of recital dates, visit the CWCP website, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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