Artistic Director & Project Curator
‘In commissioning Seasons of the Sea, I stumbled upon something much more powerful than I had imagined: a collaboration which is relevant to today’s issues of reconciliation and our environment. It is unusual to be able to reach a new audience with a work that speaks to their hearts and at the same time enrich our regular audience’s understanding of another culture. It is such a pleasure to work with Rosemary while performing the brilliant music of Jeffrey Ryan who has given me the freedom to improvise in a true dialogue as new stories from each First Nations community we visit are incorporated into the work.’
Joan Blackman is the Artistic Director of Vetta Chamber Music. As a violinist, she has been a long-time member of the Vancouver Symphony as Associate Concert master, soloing with the VSO, Victoria Symphony, and the CBC Radio Orchestra. Well known throughout Canada and the US for her chamber music skills, Joan has performed on Music in the Morning, Music Fest Vancouver, the Pender Harbour Music Society Concert Series, The Jeffery Concerts in London, Ont., and the American String Project, as well as the Hornby Island Festival, the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival, and the Victoria Summer Music Festival.
‘Composition is typically a long stretch of solitary work, followed by a flurry of rehearsals a few days before the premiere. It is exciting when an opportunity to collaborate with other artists comes along. Even more exciting, Seasons of the Sea not only allowed me to write a solo violin for dear friend and colleague Joan Blackman, but to collaborate with Coast Salish / Sahtu Dene storyteller Rosemary Georgeson to create a major music and spoken-word piece that reflected on the sea and the environment from our two cultural perspectives. Our journey and process together has been rich, profound, and illuminating.’
Praised for his ‘strong personal voice’ (Globe and Mail), composer Jeffrey Ryan is a four time JUNO nominee and recipient of SOCAN’s Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award whose music runs the gamut from orchestral and camber works to opera, art song, and choral music. Born in Toronto and raised in Fergus, Ontario, he has called Vancouver home since 2002, when he began a five year stint as the Vancouver Symphony’s composer-in-residence, then stayed to be a part of Vancouver’s burgeoning new music community. He remains as fascinated today by the English Bay tides as on the day he arrived.
Follow Jeffrey’s blog: jeffreyryan.com
‘When Joan and Jeffrey first approached me about “Seasons” I was intrigued by sharing stories of Seasonss. I thoguht about it for a while and all my thoughts took me back to my father and the many stories he would share with my brothers and myself so we could learn our way around on the water. Dad would speak of all these places with ‘exotic’ names like Tseballos, Namu, Klemtu and he had stories from every place he travelled on this Coast in every season during his lifetime. It was through all the memories of my father that I found this piece. All the good memories came flooding in, then came Dad’s words about what was going to happen to our way of life on the water and the changes that were yet to come.
Art speaks louder than just words. Art makes us think and it creates change from not just within ourselves but how we view our world. This amazing, powerful and passionate collaboration between Joan, Jeffrey and myself makes me realize even more that we are all the same and we all have a responsibility to this planet we call home.’
Rosemary was the recipient of the 2009 Vancouver Mayor’s Award recognizing her as an emerging artist in community arts. Rosemary has provided outreach and story consultation for Vancouver Moving Theatre’s In the Heart of a City: The Downtown Eastside Community Play and co-wrote and provided cast hospitality for We’re All In This Together: The Shadows Project. She was Urban Ink Productions Community Liaison and worked closely with Marie Clements on the CBC radio drama Hours of Water involving 100’s of participants–decades of women who lived and worked in the drowning west coast fishing industry. Rosemary’s first documentary “We Have Stories” screened in the fall of 2013 at “The Heart of the City Festival” and was also part of “Indigenous Women In Film” Screening/Discussion/Q&A at Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC in May 2014. Rosemary was also Vancouver Public Library’s Aboriginal Storyteller in Residence 2014.
I just loved it, such beautiful, clever compositional choices, magical sounds and a lovely arc of storytelling — I was very moved.’
former BC Arts Council program officer