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All photographs taken by Mari Alice Conrad unless indicated. 

Looking North, Outside the Chamber:

Empowering Youth Through Music 

As a 2022/2023 Canada Graduate Scholarship Awardee, I will embark on a research-creation initiative in August 2022 where I will respectfully travel to various locations in Canada's High Arctic and Greenland. These visits will prepare me to create an immersive and compelling composition project of 5 chamber (small ensemble) works for developing musicians. My research suggests that chamber music can be an inclusive, participatory way of knowing that empowers youth to express their ideas and critically consider and engage with the world around them.  I will post updates on the expedition on my social media and website, but feel free to read below for more information on this fascinating project.  


Chamber music, or music for small ensembles, can provide a platform for youth to explore the world around them through the activities of music-making. In contrast to large music ensembles, such as bands and orchestras, chamber music offers a collaborative environment where leadership is dispersed among the participants who adapt to one-another and discover how to interpret, communicate, and cooperate in the crafting of a unified musical presentation. My research-creation project explores the exciting potential of this small ensemble ecology as a means for empowering youth and as a vehicle for the creative, musical exploration of local and global communities with the specific theme of climate change.


The firsthand audio-visual material for this project (landscape audio field-recordings, photography, and videography) will derive from my planned two-week expedition to the High Arctic in August of 2022. I will compose an immersive and technically accessible collection of five chamber pieces designed for intermediate musicians (ages 14-19). In the interest of maximum inclusivity, my musical compositions will feature flexible instrumentation including fixed electronics, voice, western and non-western instruments, electric instruments (such as electric guitar), and improvisational elements utilizing traditional and non-traditional notation. The project website, featuring expedition sound files, media, as well as a space to share performances, will further build on collective experiences and appeal to a diverse range of musical backgrounds and experiences. 


To learn more about this project, listen to a recent interview with New Music Edmonton below:

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