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WAY featuring Morag Northey and Darrin Hagen

12 Apr Posted by in Schedule | Comments
WAY     featuring Morag Northey and Darrin Hagen

WAY is a workshop presentation of a new experimental musical piece created and performed by composer Morag Northey.  It is a study in impermanence as both a jumping off point and as a place to land.  It is a sound story of original compositions, voice, cello, some folk & jazz arrangements, nature, spoken word and sound design. WAY will be performed live to a back track that includes improvised cello lines, transformed into original electronic compositions by the award winning Darrin Hagen. Layers of story, melody, rhythm, voice, song, cello and Darrin’s proocative creations will come together and invite us to journey.  This piece wishes to encourage us to make changes for the better –  for our planet, for our communities, and for our families.

“Rules change, Abnormality shifts, and then we are ‘Out of Order’. 

The body knows this, but will the mind listen?”

Morag Northey MM, BA AA Composer, Cello, Voice, Writer 

 Asli Yilmaz MD, FRCPC, Assoc Prof of Pathology & Laboratory; Med Dept, U of Calgary, Anatomical & Surgical Pathologist

Morag Northey

Morag Northey On Collaboration: I fell in love with cello and the world of chamber and orchestral music from as early as I can remember. I attended most of my violinist/violist Mother’s rehearsals and concerts. With the first note of a symphony my imagination was off on adventures only to end at the final cadence. I was transfixed by the rich, soulful, and romantic cello tones, mesmerized by how cellist’s bodies moved, and enchanted by their melodies.  As a performing cellist, writer, singer and composer, I am fascinated by the emotional realm. Being open to listen, hear, and respond to my surroundings through potentially healing sound vibrations, is of interest to me. While my compositions are often traditional in nature, my passion for expression and desire to honour what the moment asks can lead me down an avant-garde path.

Darrin Hagen and I met this past fall/winter as a collaborative sound design and composition team for Theatre Network’s Edmonton production of Eugene Stickland’s play, “The Innocence of Trees.” We began by extracting a short segment of my cello quintet composition,’Fire’ which Darrin then looped, bent, sound manipulated, lowered, and reversed – in front of us a totally new unique musical idea was formed, as was a fresh perspective. It is a really special thing to be strangers and yet so quickly get to know one another through the magic of music.

Morag Northey Biography:

Morag Northey, is an award winning artist with works that consider healing, the land, and the vivid emotive expression of story.  She is a composer, musician, writer, songwriter, director & a producer in the areas of film, dance, theatre, and sound installation. Morag was creator, leader and performer for a year of motivational Full Moon walks, talks, and concerts in Fish Creek Provincial Park.  She performed a three year series of solo voice and cello improvisatory concerts called ‘Together Calgary, Together World’, and walked, played and serenaded along ‘The Way of St. James’ – 720 Klm across Spain. As visionary, and director she recently co-created ‘iiststii’ik Listen’ a niitsitapi healing garden, soon to be developed in Fish Creek Provincial Park.

Morag has been cellist and composer for numerous theatre/musicals, performed the Elgar Cello Concerto with orchestras in Canada & US 2019, and is a dedicated teacher to her studio of wonderful cello students.   Her CD ‘This is the Life’, Red Venus Blue Tango (2009, US & Canadian debuted play ’17’ – when emptiness turns inside out’ (2017), film scores ’Enticed’ (2007), ’We Are the Land’ (2021), ‘what of your own water,’ (2022) and sound installations ‘Whispers’ (2020),  and ‘RiverWoman’(2022),  have kept her happily in creative.  Awards include “Outstanding Theatrical Composer” as a collaborative sound design & composition team with Peter Moller in ATP’s play, “Butcher” 2015 (Premiere, Enbridge New Canadian Play) and, Morag’s film ‘We Are The Land’ recently awarded: Montreal Independent Film Award Nomination, an LA Independent Women Film Award for ‘Best Composition,” was selected for the Toronto Short Film Festival, and the Onyko Film Awards for ‘Best Experimental Short Film.’

Morag and Darrin Hagen’s first collaboration was for sound design this past winter in Eugene Stickland’s play ‘The Innocence of Trees’, Theatre Network.  Interestingly, her first theatrical composition and sound design was for Eugene’s play ‘Queen Lear’, (2009 Urban Curvz, Pumphouse Theatres).  As mentor, dramaturg and narrator, Eugene performed in Morag’s own first play ’17 – when emptiness turns inside out,’ (Sunset Theatre Explorations Series).   

Morag is Mother of two amazing women, as well as Blueberry the kitty, & Monk the golden retriever.  Thank you Damon Johnston and Francesca Davenport for inviting me to perform this first workshop of WAY, in celebration of the very special Benjamin Henry Davenport – I am honoured <3 

Darrin Hagen On Collaboration: I have always been a minimalist at heart hypnotized by small patterns of music.  Growing up on radio pop and country stations, my first encounter with minimalism was the swirling and hypnotizing synthesizer patterns of Eurodisco.  Once my ear opened to that, electronic dance music and remixes filled my life for a decade.  And then I discovered orchestral minimalism and avant-garde modern music, and I became officially obsessed.  The music I compose now almost always combines the electronic and the acoustic.  And my favourite composing devices are patterns and repetition.  Working with a musician you have never met before, and being awestruck by another musical mind – it’s like being invited into someone else’s imagination.  Even better, the invitation to deconstruct and reassemble the product of someone else’s soul – that’s an invitation that demands respect and honour!  How can I be so in love with an instrument I never learned to play? Morag arrived with beautiful cello music composed, and then we two strangers started sampling small pieces and patterns and looping them into their own new repetitions and patterns, inspiring new layers that appear as spirits in wait.  Then she would perform over the loops, winding longer melodies over the tapestry of sound.  We met through the music

Darrin Hagen Biography:

Darrin Hagen is an award-winning playwright, author, composer and Queer historian whose plays have been produced across Canada, in the U.S and Europe. Since “The Edmonton Queen” (published by Brindle & Glass), he has created art that is a unique window into gender and history. During the pandemic he turned his attention to composing music and creating video art and has done a deep dive into queer history research, including many hours working with MacEwan’s Edmonton Queer History Project. 

He has been Artistic Director of Guys In Disguise since 1987, has received 7 Sterling Awards for his work in Edmonton Theatre, an AMPIA for his broadcasting work. Other plays include Tornado Magnet, BitchSlap!, Witch Hunt at the Strand, Buddy, The Empress & The Prime Minister and Metronome, and The Pansy Cabaret. 

He has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Alberta Artists in the past 25 Years, as well as one of 100 Edmontonians of the Century. 

A special Thank You to Amelia Northey-Taylor for Sound Production 


This concert is presented in memory of Benjamin Henry Davenport

B.Mus, LL.B, BCL  1971-2017

Cellist and former Artistic Director of the ProArts Society.