An in-depth exploration of our tour:
Through our strategic planning over the past several years, we have identified touring and international collaboration as a priority. The goal is to increase impact and develop meaningful long-term relationships with international organizations that are of benefit to audiences, including our musicians and participating composers. Our European Tour is founded on just such a partnership – our ongoing multi-year Croatian/Canadian project between TPE and the Cantus Ensemble. The partnership has historical roots in Canadian/Croatian exchanges dating back to an important Canadian presence in the 1981 Zagreb Biennale, and more specifically in the TPE performance of Croatian and Serbian music in the 2017 World Music Days ISCM Festival. At that time, we developed an ambitious multi-year cultural exchange with partners from Zagreb that were attending the festival.
This tour represents the fourth part of that exchange which has already included:
- September 2019 – TPE Artistic Director Owen Underhill conducts Cantus Ensemble in Zagreb in a program of commissions from B.C. composers.
- September 2021 – TPE participates virtually in the 60th anniversary of Music Biennale Zagreb.
- April 2022 – Cantus Artistic Director Berislav Šipuš conducts TPE in Vancouver.
In the next phase of this artistic exchange, our 2023 European tour, we performed at:
- Concert Hall Vatroslav Lisinski in Zagreb (Croatia) on Monday, May 15, 2023
- Student Cultural Center in Belgrade (Serbia) on Wednesday, May 17, 2023
- Guarnerius Cultural Institution in Belgrade (Serbia) on Thursday, May 18, 2023
- Centro Botin in Santander (Spain) on Monday, May 22, 2023
The programming for the tour included a new commission for TPE by Croatian composer Helena Skljarov, Arcana by Murray Schafer, and works by Ana Sokolovic, Croatian-Canadian Michael Pepa and premieres by Vancouver composers Rita Ueda and Owen Underhill.
With this tour, we continued to build on a strategy of working directly with organizations and countries where there is strong interest in specific Canadian artists (composers and performers) and our ensemble, and where there is an aesthetic compatibility between the distinctive and original Canadian culture and the unique culture of countries such as Croatia and Serbia. As such, this strategy has been successful to date as it explores existing cultural links and historical relationships involving Canadian composers and artists, as well as a pronounced general interest and curiosity amongst the public in smaller European countries where there is a great respect for cultural expressions that are outside of the more dominant mainstream new music milieus in the largest European centres.