Red Brick Programme

Red Brick

music: Columbus
choreography: James Kudelka
performance: Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie
dancers: Laurence Lemieux, Graham McKelvie, Valerie Calam, Christianne Ullmark, Jones Henry.
musicians: Array Ensemble
vibraphone, marimba, gongs, piano, clarinet, violin, double bass.

Columbus was written for the Arraymusic Ensemble in 1988. Music world premiere on October 15, 1988.

Composer Michael J. Baker’s note:
Once more heading into unknown territory, the new city appearing simultaneously strange and familiar.’

Press quotes:
C.V. is bracing and hypnotic, the unrelated gestures allowing Kudelka to sculpt a variety of movements- from pure formalism to sport poses to tableaux right out of genre painting- that fuse into an exhilarating overall structure. Michael J. Bakers’ score is one off his best, giving a dramatic momentum to each movement in the rhythmic and instrumental variations. C. V. seems as if it should simply end, in the kind of choreographic semaphore with which it began, but Kudelka has found an unforgettable image to bring it to a quiet place.” Stephen Godfrey, Globe and Mail, Montreal, 1989

Accompanied by a Michael J. Baker score, C.V. must represent a considerable memory challenge for its dancers, given the lack of a connecting theme or narrative, but the very randomness of the imagery presents no problem to the viewer because of Kudelka’s talent for devising pose after striking sculptural pose along the way…’ William Littler, Toronto Star, February 28, 1990.

Columbus is available on the In Paradisum CD – Artifact Music ART 026

The Waldo
Marimba solo performed by percussionist Rick Sacks
World premiere February 24, 1994, Toronto

Composer Michael J. Baker’s note:
The Waldo is a virtuosic marimba solo written for Rick Sacks. The marimba player uses the instrument to trigger far-away electronic events that subtly shadow the music he is playing. Mr. Sacks, who is an avid science fiction fan, suggested the title after a story by Robert Heinlein. Because of this story, the term ‘waldo’ is now commonly used to describe a mechanical extension of a human being.’

The Waldo is available on the Ten Planets CD, Artifact Music ART #037

Encoded Revision
music: Encoded Revision
choreography: Peggy Baker
dancer: Brodie Stevenson
pianist: John Kameel Farah

World premiere for both the music and the dance: February 7, 1997, Chico, California

Composer Michael J. Baker’s note:
The creation of this work was based on the literary form of the palimpsest: a document written upon several times, with remnants of earlier, imperfectly erased writing still visible. A palimpsest simultaneously documents and destroys its own history, encoding the original text within a revision.

Press quote:
‘Encoded Revision….provided yet another remarkable collaboration, this time involving a score by Arraymusic artistic director Michael J. Baker perform by pianist Andrew Burashko. In this work Baker plays a tramp who starts off shouting ‘ Fire! Fire!’ With hat and dangling suspenders, her Chaplinesque jumps and circling arm swings depict the tramp-bystander described in newspaper accounts of the death in 1898 of the composer’s great grandfather. Burashko drops pages of the score to the floor as he plays, and Baker ends by covering herself completely with paper before rolling backwards into the dark.’
Selma Odom, Dance International, summer 1997.

No commercial recording available


On the occasion of this special event celebrating Michael J. Baker’s music, Artistic producer Marie-Josée Chartier chose for the second half of the program, a selection of musical pieces from Big Pictures which in its entirety comprises of eight different works. Three new choreographic works are created for this event and will be interspersed with instrumental pieces.

Big Pictures premiered May 26, 1992, du Maurier Theatre Centre, Harbourfront, Toronto. The full-evening multi-disciplinary work Big Pictures was originally created by Michael J. Baker (music), Bill James (choreography) and Dan Solomon (visuals).

Composer Michael J. Baker’s note:
Big Pictures began as an examination of the process of becoming an artist. We discovered a book of writings and drawings by Paul Klee that spoke to many of our concerns. We were also interested in fragments of our own experiences and those of some friends These have all been abstracted into the material of the piece.’

Press quote:
A brilliant commentary on the nature of art:

….Big Pictures not only has integrity it is a brilliant commentary on the nature of art…
Paula Citron, Toronto Star, May 27, 1992

World Premiere
choreography: Marie-Josée Chartier
dancers: Marie-Josée Chartier and Valerie Calam
musicians: Array Ensemble
trumpet, clarinet, piano, double bass, percussion

musicians: Array Ensemble
double bass, trumpet, two marimbas with bongos, piano

Girl In Mourning
World Premiere
dance: presented on film
choreographer and dancer: Heidi Strauss
Video artist: Jeremy Mimnagh
musicians: Array Ensemble
two vibraphones, piano, soprano

The place of the Twins
musicians: duet for clarinet and violin

One Day
World Premiere
choreography: Serge Bennathan
dancers: Julia Aplin, Marie-Josée Chartier, Dan Wild, Carolyn Woods
musicians: Array Ensemble
piano, double bass, trumpet, violin, clarinet, percussion, soprano

Red Brick Reprise
musicians: Array Ensemble
violin, trumpet, clarinet, piano, double bass, percussion
dance directed by Marie-Josée Chartier

Big Pictures is available in the Music from Big Pictures CD, Artifact Music ART #018

Arraymusic Ensemble:

Rick Sacks: artistic director and percussionist
Adam Campbell: percussion
Stephen Clarke: pianist
Peter Pavlosky: double bass
Colleen Cook: clarinets
Anita McAlister: trumpet
Rebecca Van der Post: violin
Guest soprano: Carla Huhtanen