Octopus is the improvising percussion duo of Germaine Liu and Mark Zurawinski. Owing partially to their like-mindedness as players, and the fact that they’re actually a married couple, they have created a very unique ensemble synergy.
Recently, as part of a residency at the humble west-end free improv venue Somewhere There, they’ve taken it upon themselves to source new pieces from people in the improvisational and contemporary chamber music communities for them to perform.
This coming Wednesday (July 13th) they’ve got pieces by Rob Piilonen and, very appropriately, fellow texturally-minded percussionist Tomasz Krakowiak. The following week on July 20th, they’ve got pieces by myself, Heather Segger and Allison Cameron. Then, in their final show of the series on the 27th, they’ve got works by Joe Sorbara and Holger Schoorl. After the pieces are performed, there are improvised sets in which Octopus and the composers of the works play together.
My piece Birthmark/ Beauty Mark, as with a lot of my other recent chamber-type, concerns itself a great deal with melodic gestures, but also static plates of sound whose sonorous properties evolve and transform gradually.
This work sees Liu and Zurawinski using a strange instrumentaal combination of vibraphone, child’s glockenspiel, kazoos, metal and ceramic mixing bowls, tuning forks, cymbals and sympathetically-resonating snare-drums (to produce an itchy buzzing sound through various sections of the piece). Sometimes they’re eaching playing several of these instruments at once! I’m really grateful to be able to compose for them as they’re an extremely talented pair, frankly a bit under-recognized in the Toronto scene, given their skill and singular sounds as percussionists.
Here’s a video shot by the wonderful Ayal Senior of the duo in action.
performs works by Nick Storring, Allison Cameron, and Heather Segger
(with a group improvisation after)
227 Sterling Road Unit 112 (just south of Bloor on Ruttan St.)
July 20th, 2012, 8PM
Be sure and check out their shows on the 13th and 27th as well!!