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Improvisers-in-Residence 2012

This fall, ICASP's 2012 Improviser-in-Residence program will resume with the arrival of two extremely talented Canadian improvisers and artists. Their interdisciplinary post involves initiating community impact workshops, musical dialogue, and performances, in order to advocate for community-building through creative practices. The Improviser-In-Residence program is a collaborative partnership with Musagetes.

Scott Thomson is a trombonist and composer who works in Montréal and Toronto.  He plays in regular ensembles in many styles, and prizes ad hoc improvising as a way to meet many creative people.  He has studied with Roswell Rudd, Jean Derome, Eddie Prévost, and John Oswald.  He leads The Rent, a quintet dedicated to repertory by Steve Lacy as well as Scott’s songs. The Rent’s all-Lacy self-titled debut recording was released on Ambiences Magnétiques in 2010.  Scott helped to found the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto (AIMToronto), where he served as a director until 2009, and co-directs the AIMToronto Orchestra, which was formed for a celebrated collaboration with Anthony Braxton in September 2007.  Until 2010, Scott was the artistic director of Somewhere There, a performance space for live creative music in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood that he founded in 2007.  Scott has composed a series of site-specific works that he calls ‘cartographic compositions’ for mobile musicians and audiences in unconventional performance contexts for which he has had several notable commissions and residencies.

Susanna Hood is a compelling and virtuosic performer in dance and music. She began her career as a member of the Toronto Dance Theatre from 1991 through 1995. Independently, she has performed the works of various Toronto choreographers, created singing/dancing roles with Autumn Leaf Productions, acted on film for filmmaker Philip Barker, created music for the dance works of Louis Laberge Coté, Rebecca Todd and Eryn Dace Trudell, collaborated extensively with composers John Oswald and Nilan Perera, and performed widely as an improvisor both in dance and music. Her collaborative projects as well as her own choreography and music compositions have been presented throughout Toronto, nationally, and internationally on stage and in film since 1991. In the fall of 1998, she was one of two recipients of the K.M. Hunter Emerging Artists Awards in Dance.

Her first self-produced show, The Ides of May at Myth Production in May 1997, demonstrated a commitment to explore and present work that merged disciplines. Premiered in this show was her first substantial solo, Four ways of approaching a door (“a kinetic, multi-layered, voice-driven solo” – NOW Magazine), which combined her talents as a choreographer, composer, and performer and marked the beginning of her development of a language of physical sound.

In 2000, Susanna founded hum to house her dance-based interdisciplinary vision of performance. Under the umbrella of hum, she produced her first full evening production, still, “a must see event – as precious, as rare, as that proverbial pot of gold” (Globe & Mail), which premiered at Artword Theatre in Toronto in November 2000 to outstanding critical acclaim.

Both in and out of association with the company, Susanna has been actively involved in collaborative interdisciplinary creation projects exploring the interaction of movement, sound and varying forms of interactive technology. Such collaborations have included feel HEaR SEEcret with performance artist Katherine Duncanson, musician/composer Nilan Perera, and electronics artist Jim Ruxton at Toronto’s Free Fall Festival 2002; Spinvoler with composer John Oswald at music festivals in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, and Albi 2002/03; and Liminal Projects with the team of musician/composer/visual artists Jackson 2bears and Tom Kuo, and visual artist Tanya Doody throughout Ontario and British Columbia 2001/02.

Guelph Residency:

Scott Thomson and Susanna Hood will share the role of Improviser-in-Residence through the ICASP project in Guelph, Ontario, in the autumn of 2012.

They will be in Guelph for seven weeks during the autumn of 2012 to immerse themselves in the community, and to collaborate widely as performers, creators, workshop leaders, and educators during their stay.

As a culmination of their work in Guelph, Susanna and Scott will create and present a site-specific event-piece to take place in Exhibition Park on Saturday afternoon, 13 October.  This yet-to-be-named event-piece will feature diverse collaborations not only with a cross-section of Guelph's scenes of professional dance and music-making, but also with numerous local amateur musicians and dancers with whom they will have worked.  The collaborations among amateur performers, in particular, will emphasize creative exchanges across generations – parents and young children, grandparents and grandchildren, etc.  In Exhibition Park, these exchanges will be framed within Scott's concept of 'cartographic composition' that, through its creative approach to the spatial relationships between performers and audience members, fosters an unconventional, playful, and notably family-friendly context in which to experience performance.

In addition, Susanna and Scott will contribute to various aspects of the 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival, Colloquium, and Nuit Blanche (5-9 September) including workshops and a performance with young musicians from KidsAbility, a service organization for children with physical and developmental disabilities; workshops and a performance with the inaugural Guelph Jazz Workshop; participation in the colloquium on the theme of improvisation and pedagogy; performances of original conceptions as part of a John Cage Centenary 'Musicircus'; the presentation of a new work, Basso Continuum, featuring Susanna, videographer Nicholas Loess, and double-bassist Rob Clutton; and the third annual performance of Scott's site-specific composition for the Radiant Brass Ensemble on the banks of the Speed River in Royal City Park, Riveradiant.

Other aspects of Susanna and Scott's residency will include stand-alone workshops, the leadership of ICASP's Reading Group for one session, an on-campus performance by The Rent, and a general immersion in and interaction with the Guelph community and its creative practitioners from different fields.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 26TH, 2012, 7-10 PM
Improviser-in-Residence Launch
Van Gogh's Ear (10 Wyndham Street North), Guelph

Guelph Jazz Workshop performance,
Guelph Jazz Festival main tent

Guelph Jazz Festival Concert with the KidsAbility Parade Band and Friends,
River Run Centre

Nuit Blanche performances, various locations

Creative and Participatory Dance and Music in Market Square, featuring the Woodshed Orchestra,
Downtown Guelph

ICASP Reading Group
Guelph Public Library

Thursday at Noon concert with The Rent,
MacKinnon Room 107, University of Guelph


The Share: Dance and musical performances throughout Exhibition Park, Guelph
by Susanna Hood and Scott Thomson
A community-based, family-friendly event of music and dance in Exhibition Park
Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Check out more details for this exciting event here.

The Improviser-in-Residence program is funded with the support of Musagetes and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Improvisation implies a deep connection between the personal and the communal, self and world. A “good” improviser successfully navigates musical and institutional boundaries and the desire for self-expression, pleasing not only herself but the listener as well.

– Rob Wallace