Tales From the Deep Blue

This concert took place on Nov 12, 2016


What lies in the murky depths below? Scientists have better maps of Mars than they do of the ocean that covers 70% of our planet, and composers from Debussy to Herbie Hancock have drawn inspiration from the deep blue.

The Spectrum composers take their turn creating new music about the sea. Mythological reinventions and personal recollections inspire 6 imaginative world premieres. The whimsical, mysterious, and playful sounds of the ocean will be brought to life by the eclectic Shaw Street Collective. Toronto’s very own koto-playing indie singer-songwriter Jessica Stuart makers her composer debut, with the world premiere of her piece “Behind the Waves”.


Azulada by Shannon Graham
A Meeting with Poseidon by Chelsea McBride
The Nine Daughters of Aegir by Edwin Sheard
Behind the Waves by Jessica Stuart
La Sirena Ventura by Jay Vazquez
The Gold Coast by Mason Victoria

About the Shaw Street Collective

12977216_865241866919406_2069783502084525313_oAnthony Savidge- Marimba

Emma Rowlandson-O’Hara- Trumpet

Mikolaj Debowski- Trombone

Alyssa Ramsay- Cello

The Shaw Street Collective is a New Classical Ensemble dedicated to the creation of works, the re-imagination of chamber music, and educational outreach. 
The ensemble was founded in 2014 by Mikolaj Debowski, Anthony Savidge, and Emma Rowlandson-O’Hara, and as a collective, frequently invites other artists to collaborate and widen the scope of creative possibilities. In the fall of 2015, cellist Alyssa Ramsay joined the Collective as a full time member. Since the combination of trumpet, trombone, percussion, and cello is so unusual, the group’s repertoire consists of original compositions and pieces arranged by its members. The Collective has collaborated with pianists, harpists, videographers, and photographers. Members of the group have performed with acclaimed ensembles such as the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, National Academy Orchestra, the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa, Regina Symphony and Niagara Symphony.

In September of 2015, the Collective took part in a two-week residency in the Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, (with funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board and Saskculture) followed by a national tour. Their concerts were met with critical acclaim and described as “absorbing” and “transformative.”


About guest composer Jessica Stuart

jessica-stuartSimply put, when you’re the only ‘koto’ (a traditional Japanese 13-stringed instrument) playing indie singer-songwriter in the world, whose trademark red hair and genre-bending dancefloor grooves have taken you on multiple tours throughout Asia and Australia, despite being Vancouver born and a long-time Toronto native, you’re bound to raise an eyebrow or 2000.

Three albums into her career, since 2008, musician Jessica Stuart has always determinedly and instinctively expanded her music playing abilities, as a quadruple threat musician who produces, writes, plays and performs all of her own music arrangements. Certainly as an inventive genre-bending composer, guitarist and vocalist on her own past recordings Kid Dream and Two Sides to Every Story, and contributor to the works of other fellow nouveau musical innovators (e.g. she sings back-up vocals on the forthcoming album by Polaris Prize and Juno Award-winning throat singer Tanya Tagaq featuring The Element Choir), shape shifting becomes necessary. And because Stuart intentionally attaches herself to wide ranging indie rock, soul and jazz music scenes in North America, being rhythmically and harmonically adventurous is just another day at the office for this multiple Award-nominated and winning musician. “I am convinced that people’s taste in music is so much more than what they’re fed through the mainstream, and that we should stop ‘dumbing it down’ and using formulas to try and make art,” says the multi-lingual Stuart who has been playing the koto since she was nine-years old, describes herself as a “prog Joni Mitchell”, and who over the last three years has won Best Album Award designations at the international (IMA’s) Independent Music Awards, and was the runner up in Harbourfront Centre’s Soundclash Music Awards, among other accolades.