Continuum Contemporary Music

Region: Ontario
Continuum Contemporary Music

Organization: Continuum Contemporary Music Ensemble
Profile Type: Ensemble


Formed in 1985, Continuum Contemporary Music presents concerts featuring the core ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, as well as unusual instrumental combinations. Featuring some of Canada's top musicians, the ensemble has earned international acclaim - De Telegraaf (Amsterdam) wrote "Ensemble Continuum performs magic with sound"; Bragbants Dagblad hailed the ensemble as "sublimely skilled". Continuum was awarded the 1994 Chalmers Award and in 2014 was shortlisted for the Toronto Arts Foundation's Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition.

Led by Artistic Director (and ensemble percussionist) Ryan Scott with Operations Manager Josh Grossman, the organization has been responsible for commissioning close to 150 new works from emerging and established Canadian and international composers. Increasingly the group engages in collaborative and interdisciplinary work.

Continuum has performed across Canada and has toured twice to Europe; in 2012 Continuum served as resident ensemble for the new music series at Chamberfest Ottawa. Continuum has recorded two CDs on its own label; on the Centrediscs label Continuum formed the recording ensemble for a CD of works by Chris Paul Harman and also recorded Raw, a CD of works by James Rolfe. Interdisciplinary projects include SHE! with choreographer Conrad Alexandrowicz; Distillation with video installation artist Ramona Ramlochand; and Souvenir with filmmaker Gary Popovich. Continuum has also collaborated with composer John Oswald, flutist and conductor Patrick Gallois, philosopher Mark Kingwell, actor RH Thomson, and with institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum and TVOntario.

Special projects have included l'Oreille Fine, featuring concerts and a symposium dealing with the subject of contemporary expression in a classical art form; SHIFT, a festival of Canadian and Dutch music, film and literature that took place in Amsterdam and Toronto; and Contes pour enfants pas sages, settings of Jacques Prévert's children's stories by composer Christopher Butterfield, written for Continuum's ensemble with soprano and tenor, 12-voice choir and projected images.

Continuum's 2013-14 season featured the premiere of Singing the Earth, a collaboration of Anna Höstman (composer), Dylan Robinson, Patrick Nickelson and Marion Newman; Gaudeamus: Deconstructed/Reconstructed, a two-day co-presentation by Continuum, Arraymusic, the Music Gallery and ISCM Canada bringing the artistic vision of The Netherlands' famed Gaudeamus Muziekweek to Toronto; and By Other Means, a concert exploring new ways to get sound out of old instruments. Continuum also collaborated with the Toronto District School Board, educator Doug Friesen and composer Chris Thornborrow in the presentation of ten new works by elementary school students.

The 2014-2015 season celebrates Continuum's 30th anniversary! In October, we present Souvenir, a film and live music project nineteen years in the making featuring several of Canada's most touted composers. In March, our 30th anniversary concert features sensational works for our core ensemble and guests, as well as a premiere from Jason Doell, winner of the 2014 Toronto Emerging Composer award. Our season closes in May with Collide, a collaboration with Subtle Technologies bringing together scientists, media artists and composers in search of new meanings in music. Additional activity includes a return of our education collaboration with the TDSB; New Music 101; and our smash-hit fundraising event Continuum Karaoke.

What began as a group of musicians and composers seeking to explore the performance and composition of new music beyond an institutional setting has evolved into one of Canada's most important ensembles, thanks in large part to founding Artistic Director Jennifer Waring. After 29 years, Jennifer left Continuum at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season to pursue new opportunities. Ryan Scott, Continuum's long-time percussionist and co-Artistic Director since 2011, began his term as Artistic Director in July, 2014.

Continuum is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the Julie-Jiggs Foundation, the SOCAN Foundation and many private donors. Continuum is a member of the Canadian New Music Network and the Toronto New Music Alliance.