9 Questions

Self-isolation has given us a chance to do a little reading, watch some TV, home clean-up, and perhaps take on a new or existing hobby. The answers to these nine questions will give you an idea of how the the folks in Camerata Nova have spent this time. Enjoy!

Andrew surrounded by some of the things taking up his time in self-isolation

Andrew Balfour
Artistic director/composer in residence

Where are you and who are you spending isolation time with? In Toronto with my beautiful partner, Sara.

What’s on your reading list? Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis and Brother by David Chariandy. Two brilliant books, after 15 dogs, I’ll never look at at dogs the same way.

Current binge-watching recommendations? Ozark (dark but intense), Waco (great acting and writing), Spy (Sasha Baron Cohen is an amazing dark actor), The Last Dance (about the Chicago Bull and Michael Jordan)

Guilty pleasure binge-watch recommendations? Old hockey games, Curb Your Enthusiasm (still one of the funniest shows ever!!). Tiger King (NOT)

New skills and hobbies? Definitely cooking skills have gone up, dish washing, cleaning the fridge every week.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art: Composing music, novel writing.

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money? Probably a Canadian Brass album, and Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest. (both blew my mind.)

What three famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party? J.S. Bach, Keith Richards, Rasputin, what a dinner that would be!

What will live performance look like after COVID-19? The classical world will be a very different reality in the next few years, I doubt there will be a choral concert season next year. People have already come up with some very creative ideas online, but you really can’t reproduce the concert experience live with choirs. Organizations are going to lose quite a bit of money, and some probably will have to go under. I think large organizations, symphonies, opera companies, ballets, will all have to come with ways to make money for their large payrolls, but will probably have to cut jobs to survive. And artists travelling will probably be off the table for the next year or two. This is all unknown territory for everybody, but I wish all in the arts world the best and hope that we can find ways to collaborate more in the future, that is is what we will need to do.

Roland surrounded by some of the things keeping him busy while at home

Roland Deschambault
Executive Director

Where are you and who are you spending isolation time with? At home in Winnipeg, MB with my wife, Angela.

What’s on your reading list? Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin and Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars and follow-up The River.

Current binge-watching recommendations? Happy Valley, The Bridge (Bron/Broen), Sherlock

Guilty pleasure binge-watch recommendations? Survivor (all seasons)

New skills and hobbies? Leather crafting

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art. Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money? Aha’s Hunting High and Low

What three famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party? My all-Canadian dinner would include Sidney Crosby, Malcolm Gladwell, and Wayne Gretzky. I’d love to hear what Gladwell gets out of them outside of canned hockey talk.

What will live performance look like after COVID-19? Not a whole lot for quite some time but with some creative thinking we could be in for some incredible art.

Sandi surrounded by some of the things keeping her busy

Sandi Mielitz
Past President, Camerata Nova, lover of the arts

Where are you and who are you spending isolation time with? Home with my husband – a happy hermit living with a caged tigress…?

What’s on your reading list? A Gentleman from Moscow by Amor Towles, The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Current binge-watching recommendations? Babylon Berlin, Peaky Blinders, Occupied

Guilty pleasure binge-watch recommendations? Met Opera Free Streaming – nothing like gorging on Wagner!!

New skills and hobbies? Zoom, theology course

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art. Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, Britten’s Cello Suites, Velasquez’ royal portraits, Franz Cline and Mark Rothko paintings, Gould’s Goldberg Variations

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money? The Messiah – I was a nerdy kid…now I’m a nerdy old person…

What three famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party? Jesus, Benjamin Britten and writer/philosopher Simone Weill – what the heck is belief and the human role in the universe?

What will live performance look like after COVID-19? On-line creativity will take off but, at the same time, there will be a powerful, renewed appreciation for the vulnerability, sensitivity and fragility of live performance!

Vic Pankratz is one of the directors of Camerata Nova and director of choirs at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate

Where are you and who are you spending isolation time with?
I am at home and isolating with my wife Kathy.

What’s on your reading list?
Peter Robinson’s Careless Love, the Laurie R. Holmes and Russell series, Patrick DeWitt’s Under Major Domo and Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers. I love fiction and murder mystery books and I love Malcolm Gladwell.

Current binge-watching recommendations? Bosch, Schitt’s Creek, Homeland

Guilty pleasure binge-watch recommendations? I am embarrassed to say I just watched the entire season of Formula 1 Drive to Survive. The amount of money and resources that go into making this “sport” happen are so against what I believe in. So I thought I would watch one show and the speed and danger sucked me in. I still think this racing should not be allowed.

New skills and hobbies? I am having a blast learning to play the guitar. I was loaned a beautiful electric and it has been so much fun.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art: Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast series is brilliant. I also love the art of Manitoba artist Don McMaster

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money? Haha. I think it was something like Razamanaz by Nazareth. Around 1973.

What three famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party? Mohandas K. Gandhi to talk about what nonviolent resistance would look like today, here in Canada. Malcolm Gladwell because he is awesome and part Mennonite. And finally I would invite the great American conductor Robert Shaw. After working with him on three different projects I always wanted to learn more about what made him so passionate.

What will live performance look like after COVID-19? This is a tough one. On-line performances just don’t have the power of a live performance. I have to believe that at some point we will get back to singing and making music for each other. There is nothing else like it.

Mel Braun Conductor and Music Committee member; Professor, University of Manitoba

Where are you and who are you spending isolation time with? With my wife Lynne, daughter Emma,
and dog Toby, seeing our other kids Micah and Maddie from time to time.

What’s on your reading list? An inveterate reader of mysteries, I’ve been reading all my favourites, particularly digging into a box of books that my librarian sister Connie, who lives in Calgary, sent my
way last week….what a lovely surprise that was. Craig Johnson, Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin, Ake Larsson, and Patricia Connolly are some of the Mystery authors I’ve been gobbling up. I’ve also got Virginia Woolf, Kate Atkinson, and bio of Willie Nelson awaiting perusal. I make almost daily trips to the little library kiosk in our neighbourhood to either drop off a book or find a used one that someone has left.

Current binge-watching recommendations? I’ve been enjoying a bunch of the Netflix offerings from Iceland, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Poland, and Israel. I particularly like the ones that have subtitles so that you can hear these actors at work in their own language. Currently I’m well into an Israeli/Arab series, Fauda. Another recent favourite was Unorthodox.

Guilty pleasure binge-watch recommendations? Anything thriller-ish or mystery-ish. Like reading mysteries, I love the puzzle-solving aspect of these shows. Also, how could I forget the recent reruns of the Toronto Raptors Championship run and that Jets/Nashville series from 2017. I SO miss hockey!!!
New skills and hobbies? Same old, same old….running, reading, doing puzzles, doing crosswords, cooking, composing, and practicing Schubert’s Die WInterreise.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art: B Minor Mass by Bach, any of the Mozart opera ensembles, Schubert’s songs, Gerald Finzi’s “Earth, Air, and Rain” song cycle, Beatles Revolver and Abbey Road, CSNY “Deja vu”, and Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”.

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money? It was a toss- up between Mozart’s Requiem and the Guess Who American Woman album.

What three famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party?
Rembrandt, Bach, and Dickens is a start, but it could just as easily be Hildegard of Bingen, Mozart’s wife Constanze, and Dustin Byfuglien. I’d enjoy the varying points of view on art, politics, and life.

What will live performance look like after COVID-19? The big question indeed…no doubt there will be a ton more online content, especially as online platforms develop to help us figure out how to do real- time ensemble performances. I imagine there will also be a lot more video-ed performances streamed or broadcast on the Net. The thing about musicians, though, is that they need proximity to riff off of each other, and I for one am waiting to get back into the live rehearsal/performance paradigm…..it’s hard to exchange energy and vibrations electronically. It will take some time for audiences to loosen the social distancing protocols that we’ve so quickly gotten used to, so we’ll all have to be extremely creative about how we use our performance spaces….trust the arts community to figure this out, though…right now, the world needs us artists more than ever.


Anne Janes, Chair, Board of Directors, Camerata Nova; Treasury Board Analyst, Government of Manitoba

Where are you and who are you spending isolation time with? At home with my husband Chris.

What’s on your reading list? Harry Hole crime novels by Joe Nesbo – because they are great reads and take my mind away from everything else. That and whatever is on deck for my book club.

Current binge-watching recommendations? Valhalla Murders, Trapped, Bosch, Schitt’s Creek.

Guilty pleasure binge-watch recommendations? CSI SVU.

New skills and hobbies? Sewing a patchwork quilt, building a lasagna garden – for pleasure and food.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art: The Garden of Earthly Delights – Hieronymus Bosch or The Triumph of Death – Pieter Bruegel.

What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money? Michael Jackson, Thriller – yep, I’m a child of the 80s.

What three famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party? Craig Ferguson, Margaret Atwood and Vance Gilbert.

What will live performance look like after COVID-19? Smaller concerts, smaller venues or virtual ones. Something new needs to develop at least until a vaccine is developed and perhaps on a more permanent basis as this could be the new reality for a long time. Possibly more interactive online opportunities as well with some kind of new arrangement for reimbursement of the performers.

 

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