Central Africa, ca. 1,000,000 B.C.E.

As far as we can delve into our collective memory, it seems that human beings first demonstrated their capacity for intelligence and emotion by means of ritualized body movements, which anthropologists consider to pre-date the invention of spoken language. Our distant ancestors developed a whole series of coded gestures that enabled them to exchange information which was their prime means of survival in a world, that on the whole, was rather cruel: Where are the tigers? How deep is the river at this point? And so on.

Rhythm, by use of percussive sound, was also destined to completely govern the spoken word, because the expression of ideas and emotions required varying cadences. According to the nature of the comments, this might be urgent, irascible, funny or of a sexual nature, and the use of modulated sound (in the low, medium or high registers) as an additional communication component, led directly to chanting and rhythmic singing. From there, it was no more than a short step to reach Noces de Figaro! Music was born…

Montreal (Quebec), Canada, February 21st to March 3rd, 2013 C.E.

For its sixth edition, the Montreal/New Music festival (MNM) specifically celebrates voice and percussion, the two fundamental and inseparable poles of musical expression, through more than 50 events performed over 10 days. The MNM festival will also take advantage of the opportunity to highlight the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, rightfully considered as “Year 1” of the “modern” musical era, as well as the 30th anniversary of the death of Claude Vivier. We shall hear and see more than 28 groups (including 5 from France, Germany and Japan), orchestras, choirs and soloists, approximately 57 composers as well as 25 premieres!

All this has been made possible thanks to our main donors—at the federal, provincial and municipal governmental levels— our major festival partner Place des Arts, and particularly our numerous faithful collaborators in the creative music sphere. This will doubtless be a “memorable” adventure to which we invite everyone!

Enjoy the festival!

Walter Boudreau, February 33, 2013