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ICASP welcomes Scott Thomson and Susanna Hood as Improvisers-in-Residence for 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 Ambiances 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.

Stay tuned for more news about the dynamic, innovative, and collaborative projects and workshops that Scott and Susanna are planning with various community partners in Guelph this autumn.

So one of the things that improvisation has come to mean in the context of highly technological performance is that improvisation is the last claim to the legitimate presence of a human in the performance of music.

– Bob Ostertag