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Reaching new depths

Two classical music performances in the Sea to Sky region

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What: Mined Over Matter (New Music in New Places)

When: Sunday, March 16, 2 p.m.

Where: British Columbia Museum of Mining (Britannia Beach)

Tickets: Free, reservations required (1-866-640-9881)

Who: Erato Ensemble

When: Sunday, March 16, 2:30 p.m.

Where: Whistler Public Library, Fireplace Lounge

Tickets: Free

Most people can’t claim to have attended a classical concert, let alone enjoyed one from the depths of a mineshaft, but residents of the Sea to Sky corridor are being invited to do just that, with a new, exciting musical performance.

This Sunday afternoon the British Columbia Museum of Mining will play host to Mined Over Matter, a classical concert that guides audience members through the depths of mining tunnels, exploring new acoustics to create a unique musical experience.

The concert is part of the fourth New Music in New Places series organized by the Canadian Music Centre (CMC). Though the New Music in New Places series is typically financed by the SOCAN Foundation, the performances planned for the Sea to Sky region are being funded by the Cultural Olympiad.

Colin Myles, director of the CMC, explains the nationwide program is designed to encourage people to enjoy music by presenting it in places it would not normally be heard.

“It’s experimental,” said Myles, “but it’s to attract new people to listen to music in new ways, to present contemporary music in different contexts, and it’s really working.”

Some of the new venues have been very non-traditional — performances have been held in a maximum-security penitentiary, a moving elevator, a funeral home, an observatory and an aquarium.

Myles says it’s also an opportunity for musicians to get creative with acoustics and other aspects of their performance.

“Some of the pieces, for instance, which have been done in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library have really used that to great advantage, having people at all the different levels, and it’s quite exciting to the listener to hear that.”

By holding classical and contemporary concerts in such unusual places, Myles says they are also able to attract a more diverse audience.

“I hate using words like demographic, but a lot of concerts of contemporary music attract a very narrow age range,” he explained.

So far, the performances have received a great reaction from audience members.

“We’ve had people saying they’ve never heard any contemporary music before, they’ve never listened to any Canadian music.”

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