Guide to Tone Deaf 2011

Tone Deaf, Kingston, OntarioWhen I first came to Kingston twelve years ago, I came to study music at Queen’s, specifically classical music.  In my first two years I took all the mandatory courses in Classical, Romantic and Baroque music history; learning about Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.  It was in third year, when I had more electives, that I began to discover so many other musical options for myself and this violin of mine.  I took a course in Avant-garde music and performed pieces that used jugs of water, playing cards and pots and pans as instruments, I sat in dark rooms listening to Electroacoustic students perform their soundscapes and I remember one great performance where I was out in the hall and couldn’t hear or see my fellow musicians for the duration of the performance.  In my fourth year I helped a student complete his thesis by performing one of his original works with a computer as my duet partner.  It was different and exciting and I loved it.  Although at first these new sounds surprised my very melodically tuned violinist ears, over time I developed and incredible respect and interest in experimental music.

That same year, I saw Queen’s Electroacoustic professors Dr. Kristi Allik and Mike Cassells perform in the first Tone Deaf Sonic Arts Festival, curated by artist Craig Leonard.  Performances took place all over Kingston and the surrounding area with outdoor concerts at Little Cat, in downtown parking lots, field trips to house concerts in Inverary and Yarker, and of course The Artel and Modern Fuel hosted their fair share of these shows as well.  In the second year of the festival, Matt Rogalsky, Queen’s prof, composer, media artist and Gertrude performed in the festival and when Craig left Kingston, Matt took it from there.  Since then Matt has curated many of the festivals and has worked with co-curators such as performing artist Clive Robertson, Modern Fuel artistic director Michael Davidge and most recently experimental musician Chris Trimmer.

This year, on its tenth anniversary, the festival has expanded and Matt hopes this growth will continue over the next decade.  Next week, The Baby Grand will host a series of concerts featuring musicians and performance artists from Canada, The United States and England.  Tickets are $12 adults, $8 students/seniors for one night and $30/$20 for all three nights and are available at The Grand Theatre Box Office and online.  In addition to these live performances, there will be an art installation by Kingston artist Cecily Taylor at The Verb Gallery (inside Wayfarer Books, 85 Princess St.) from October 22nd-November 5th.  Admission is free and the exhibit will be open during store hours.  There will be an opening reception on October 22nd at 7pm.

This guide gives you bits of information on each artist but cannot possibly paint a full picture of what they do.  Please have a look at their sites, listen to their music and watch their videos for the complete story.

Thursday, October 27th, 8pm

  • Charles Hayward: A musician from the UK whose current work focuses on percussion, swirling electronics and lyrical fragments.

Friday, October 28th, 8pm (curated by Craig Leonard)

  • Gen Ken Montgomery: A New York composer, sound artist and collagist whose events bring people together to focus on the experience of listening.
  • TORSO: This Halifax musician uses custom built machines and electronics to create an array of dark and epic compositions, both live and recorded.
  • The One Family: This married couple from Sarnia create ambient soundscapes using violin, synthesizer, guitar, vocals, a sampler and percussion.

Saturday, October 29th, 8pm

  • c_RL: These Toronto artists compose a mix of electracoustic, experimental and indie music.
  • Malcolm Goldstein A violinist and composer from Montreal, Malcolm has been active in the presentation of new music and dance since the early 1960’s.

Thanks to Dead Air for today’s photo.


Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

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