NACO in the North: It’s lesson time in Yellowknife for composer Carmen Braden

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Fred Cattroll/National Arts Centre Jean-Hee Lee and Susan Rupp are upstaged by a witch at J.H. Sissons School in Yellowknife. (Fred Cattroll/National Arts Centre)

Photograph by: Fred Cattroll , National Arts Centre


YELLOWKNIFE – Seven people around a table, sifting, sorting, polishing. An experienced composer, a young composer, and others there to learn.

One of the seven people around the table was Carmen Braden from Yellowknife. The young composer, 27-years old, received Alexina Louie’s advice during a public workshop under the stage lights at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

Braden found out the orchestra was coming to Yellowknife and offering educational events, bringing Louie with it, and sought feedback.

Wednesday was a busy day for the orchestra, with 15 such events scheduled out of more than 50 educational activites on the tour, which also includes six concerts. There were workshops from orchestra members like Donnelly and Renshaw, and featured guests like Mark and Sivuarapik. Small groups of brass and strings played at schools and retirement homes. Acclaimed Canadian violinist James Ehnes was to hold a master class, while Norwegian conductor Arild Remmereit was scheduled for a choir conducting workshop.

Braden sent some her scores and recordings to Louie before they met, giving the experienced composer a sense of her strengths and weaknesses, “which was what I was looking for because up here you don’t get a lot of people at that professional level able to give critical feedback,” Braden says.

“That’s what I was really hoping for, and it really was very successful.”









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