(December 20, 2007 - Thunder Bay, ON) Dr. Aristocles (Aris) Carastathis, a Professor of Music and former Chair of Lakehead University's Department of Music, has been named one of four Canadian recipients of the Norman Burgess Memorial Fund. As such, Carastathis will compose a work commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre (CMC).
Between now and August of 2008, he will work to create a new piece for viola and guitar, with alternate piano accompaniment. Carastathis describes the work-yet to be named-as a multi-movement piece which includes written and free sections. "Commissions are awarded to composers to create pieces of music for specific instruments, durations, and purposes," says Carastathis. "The specific purpose of this piece, as determined by the CMC, is to encourage young musicians to embrace New Music, also known as contemporary concert music, with flexibility and creativity."
Throughout the development of this work, Carastathis will collaborate with Catherine Jillings who will act as Consulting Educator on the project. Jillings is the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra's principal violist. She also teaches viola at Lakehead University. In October of 2008, young musicians will receive the opportunity to appreciate the completed piece at its Toronto premiere-where all four of the 2007 Norman Burgess Memorial Fund recipients will showcase their work.
Approximately seven minutes in length, Dr. Carastathis' piece will be composed in three continuous movements. Each movement will explore particular techniques on the featured instrument(s), while maintaining an overall consistent design to ensure it does not become a mere exercise piece. Dividing the work into shorter sections during practice may better suit young students with shorter endurance spans. "Eventually, these short-term goals will promote students' desire to learn and play through the piece in its entirety," Carastathis says. The work will include improvised sections which provide students a certain amount of freedom-not only to interpret the music, but also to create it. As a music educator and promoter of New Music, Carastathis has learned that engaging young musicians in music at a personal level and in a positive fashion ultimately means effective learning and favourable results.
The commission is valued at $2,500, with additional funding for the Consulting Educator. Carastathis notes that "Although it isn't much by comparison to some of the funding received by those in the sciences, it is a substantial amount for an arts award." Artists contend that this award is revered and hard to secure. Carastathis is a proud and grateful recipient.
Dr. Carastathis is a classically trained guitarist who teaches music composition at Lakehead University. He has produced more than 70 works across a variety of genres, including symphonic, chamber, and electronic music. His works have been performed at venues in Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Poland, Serbia, as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York City. His compositions have been broadcast in Canada on CBC Radio and in the United States on PBS Television. His work has also been recorded and released on a number of CDs. Carastathis has received many past commissions from organizations such as CMC, Music Canada 2000 Festival Inc., Algoma Fall Festival, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, Louisiana Sinfonietta, Acadia Trio, Louisiana State University New Music Ensemble, Louisiana Composers' Guild, and Baton Rouge Symphony Chamber Orchestra.
A noted musician, educator, consultant, and administrator in Canada and the United States, Dr. Norman Burgess had a passion for fostering innovation, creativity, and excellence in musicians, and displayed unlimited energy, optimism, perseverance, intelligence, patience, and compassion. He longed to see a larger and richer collection of high-quality Canadian music become available for young players, and the Norman Burgess Memorial Fund has been designed to fulfill this wish.
For additional information about the CMC and the Norman Burgess Memorial Fund, please visit www.musiccentre.ca.
Media: Dr. Carastathis may be contacted directly for media interview at 807-768-8085. Please contact Communications Officer Heather Scott at 807-343-8177 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information about this media release.
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca.