Three Big Things

It’s an interesting question, how to re-enter a correspondence that’s gone by the wayside. ‘Cause that’s what this website is: letters to pen-pals unknown. Hey there, you! It’s hard to know what to say! I see that the last time I wrote, I was getting excited for the Rex Hotel residency performances of the Lanka Suite in February 2014. More than two years ago. Heh heh… turns out I’ve been keeping things from you…

But the catch-up can be quick, because since then, only three really big things have happened:

THING NUMBER ONE:  60×60 Dance 2014 at the Harbourfront Theatre

What is that, you wonder? Funny you should ask, there’s a tiny interview right here that explains everything in a couple of minutes flat.

And Look! Here they are! Super-fast! All the dancers! All the dances! Kind of.


THING NUMBER TWO: The Lanka Suite 2015 at The Music Gallery with GREX and Jane Bunnett

It was a week of rehearsal with an amazing 15-piece ensemble, crowned, in performance, with the video art of Nilan Perera;

the kind of amazing all-music-all-the-time week that passes at such an intensity and with so much incredulous gratitude that it does, predictably enough, seem like a dream. But never fear: we do have material evidence.

Seems minimal, and it is, but that’s because the ALBUM is still in the works. The ALBUM, which despite the fact that a year has passed since the raw material was recorded in the Studio at Canterbury Music Co., is still in all-caps in my head because it is still very much an ongoing project. So, ALBUM it shall remain, until it either contracts into an album, or expands, into the LANKA SUITE ALBUM, and becomes a real object in the world, which I can share with you, cher pen-pal-de-mes-rêves.

But if, in the meantime, you’d like to know a bit more about it, here’s an interview by Lise Hosein with me about it on Jazz FM 91, that I really like.


THING NUMBER THREE: The Tova Kardonne Quartet

Ali Berkok and Nick Fraser and Luan Phung and I are playing old and new compositions of mine all over the place this Spring. Raw and wriggling, juicy and delicious, stripped down and naked, compared to the many clothes of all the large-ensemble music I have written before, I’m delectably excited to have these giants for collaborators. Here come all of the limping-dancing feelings. One performance snuck up and happened on April 5 at the Tranzac, but more are coming! May 31! June 19! check the performance calendar!


And there have been many adventures: backing up Tanya Tagaq at the 2014 Polaris Music Prize gala, in the Element Choir… improvising underpinnings and harmonies with Andrea Kuzmich’s Brou-la-la for the Day of Delight in Dufferin Grove… singing in Juliet Palmer’s composition Burble, which gives voice to the Wonscotonach/Don River…. playing with Adam Rudolph at the Music Gallery/AIMToronto inaugural January 2016 Toronto incarnation of the GO:Organic Orchestra… creating performance art with 17 musicians and dancers in an all-night takeover of the Tranzac in Colin Anthony’s immersive creation Bleeding True coexisTense #3 in April…



I’ll be participating in the Toronto Creative Music Lab, so, if the gods of composition favour me (wouldn’t want to assume… tricky li’l creatures) I’ll have a composition for instruments as-yet-unknown performed on Friday June 24… more on that, anon…


Here’s to staying in touch, oh-pally-oh-penny-pals.



Announcing a Series of Concerts at the REX Hotel

feb 2014 rex poster The Thing Is will be performing every Sunday in February 2014 at the REX Hotel in Toronto!

We’ll be premiering a series of new compositions that were inspired by a trip with my partner, Nilan Perera, to Sri Lanka last year– still-evolving works that incarnate the confusion and joy, the alienation and familiarity, the highs and the lows of exploring a society in transition, rebuilding its bonds and institutions after a devastating 30-year civil war.

And there’s quite the line-up of lovely musicians to play it, too:

Tova Kardonne- voice and composition

Mike Wark- flute

Peter Lutek- alto sax

Ali Berkok- piano

Ted Quinlan- guitar

Jim Sexton- bass

Mark Segger – drums

Nouveau Cours de Musique offerts! Les violonistes, violoncellistes, altistes, on joue!

L’année dernière c’était la première année que j’offrais de leçons d’instruments à cordes en groupe, en français, et à l’école. On s’est bien amusé, mais en plus, 7 élèves qui n’ont jamais joué d’instrument auparavant ont appris, et à lire la notation musicale, et à lire des rythmes, et à trouver ces notes sur leur violon ou violoncelle, ET à jouer en harmonie ensemble. On a fait un défilé pour la fête champêtre aux printemps, puis, couronnement de l’année, on a joué “O Canada” pour la graduation des élèves en 6e année.

condensed pic

Quand deux de mes élèves ont changé d’écoles cette année, pour aller à l’école Charles-Sauriol, je me suis dit qu’il fallait aller voir si, peut-être, il y en a des élèves qui veulent, eux aussi, apprendre des instruments à cordes, et puis jouer tous ensemble.

Actuellement, il y en a de tels élèves! Nous venons de commencer, mais il reste plusieurs places dans le cours pour d’autres élèves débutants sur leur instrument.  Pour nous joindre, veuillez voir la page “Educator/Educatrice” pour remplir le formulaire d’enregistrement.

in a noisy world…

I’m making this a quiet launch. Hello, first ever blog post of first ever blog! Out here in the real world I have been doing things, and this is the place for me to speak of them.

Ha ha!

It is the end of the summer in which I made my second trip to Portugal’s lovely ARTerra artist residency to write the music that in this noisy, vibrant, maddening, wonderful Toronto, is so unlikely to make itself heard in my very own head.


So there are tunes in the works, and there is a concert for playing some of them next Sunday September 15 at the Tranzac (check out my nifty Calendar – and yes, I think the Calendar is nifty, not because it’s different from any other, but because I made it appear in this blog!).


And then, one of my favourite events ever is coming up– Culture Days! This one is near to my heart not only because I get to play with the fantastic musicians who go by the names Mark Segger and Nilan Perera — but also because the gig itself is a fabulous opportunity to show the kiddies of various far-ish-flung neighbourhoods what improvised music is, how it can express the inexpressible within each of them, and how it can relate to the structured and familiar aspects of their world. This being the fourth consecutive year of my Interactive Musical Storytelling event of Culture Days, I hope that, in some small way, we have an impact of the next generation’s understanding and enjoyment of improvised forms, musical and otherwise.


Hey lovelies! Thanks for reading along! I’ll be hither and yon… catch you yon or hither!