I spent a week in the Megantic region to advance the composition of sarasaraahat, a solo cello piece commissioned by Julia MacLaine. Coincidentally, she is the assistant principal cello of the NAC Orchestra! Julia invited 6 Canadian composers to compose a work related to one of the 6 preludes of Bach’s Cello Suites. I imagined a ghostly resonance of Prelude No. 2 in D minor, inspired by the ornamentation of Indian Carnatic music, which has influenced my ear and my musical language for the past decade. During the residency, I was able to write a preliminary version of the work and receive feedback from Julia, which will allow me to perfect my score before the work is recorded and performed in concert.
I also took advantage of the NAC’s resources to have my article Reflets de la colonialité dans la scène des musiques nouvelles, recently published in Intersections magazine, professionally translated. As an active member of the new music scene, I want to move away from its Eurocentric roots and critique its colonialist tendencies, both through my artistic work and my professional choices. My article shares insights into the cultural homogeneity of the milieu, access issues, the legacy of classical music, the concept of European excellence, the presumption of universality, the coexistence of statuses of legitimacy and marginality, the ambiguous relationship with cultural appropriation, and the basis for the attribution of credit. Before even discussing strategies that might constitute a decolonizing framework for this art scene, it is useful to identify how coloniality is reflected in it. I am therefore working with translator Elise Pineda on the English version of this text, with the aim of reaching a much wider readership and sharing it with composition pedagogues in universities and conservatories across the country.