Spring and Summer 2017 News and Events

UK Tour 2017

I am currently on tour with percussionist Daniel Tones in the UK. We have held two successful concerts at Newcastle University, and York University. The rest of the tour will consist of seminars and a competition at Trinity Laban in London, and a concert at the University of Edinburgh where I will see my old friend Peter Nelson. The concerts include my Songs without Words for vibraphone and piano (including the premiere of a fourth one) and Daniel’s excellent performances of my vibraphone solo Cloud over Water.

February and March Premieres

A New Heaven and A New Earth for choir and organ premiered by the St. John’s Vancouver Church choir – Terry Fullerton conductor – Feb. 26

String Quartet #5: Land and Water premiered by Borealis Quartet March 12th at Orpheum Annex, Vancouver

Performances in May

String Quartet #1 (1974) and Northern Line: Angel Station (1986) by Bozzini Quartet May 10th 7 p.m. at Canadian Music Centre BC – delighted that the Bozzini Quartet are bringing back my first two string quartets.  I have revised the second for this concert!

Premiere of new version of Slender Gold for traditional Chinese instruments.  The first version was for a mixed ensemble of western and Chinese instruments. The new version is part of the Silk, Bamboo and Maple Festival in Chinese Traditional Instruments Music in Canada.  Concert will be Sunday May 21st at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre

Turning Point Ensemble in June – Turning Point Ensemble meets Hollenbeck, Nachoff and Houle

Don’t miss our blockbuster concert in the Jazz Festival featuring premieres by John Hollenbeck, Quinsin Nachoff, and François Houle – June 26 & 27 – Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Ostrava Music Days

I am very proud to participate in the Ostrava Music Days in the Czech Republic at the end of August this year.  I will be conducting a concert titled Rudolf Komorous Legacy which will include Rudolf’s Lurid Bride, Linda Catlin Smith’s Morning Glory, my Cello Concerto, and work by Martin Arnold and Christopher Butterfield.


Premiere, Western Canadian Music Awards & Recordings, Komorous, Zappa and more

English Horn-Dog Salmon
I am pleased to announce the premiere of ‘English Horn – Dog Salmon’ on Nov. 5th and 6th in Vancouver. The new work will be premiered by David Owen on a Turning Point Ensemble concert as part of the Modulus Festival.

New Recordings
I attended the Western Canadian Music Awards in Regina Oct. 15 and heard an outstanding Classical Musical Showcase. Turning Point Ensemble and musica intima’s CD ‘Thirst’ did not win the award for Best Classical Ensemble but my friends Ariel Barnes and Heidi Krutzen, who comprise Couloir did!
Speaking of recordings and cellist Ariel Barnes, Turning Point Ensemble is finalizing the editing and production on a new CD which will include my new Cello Concerto, Hindemith’s Kammermusik Nr. 3, and Berio’s Folksongs with Fides Krucker as soloist. Watch for this in the new year!
Turning Point Ensemble, along with Astrolabe Musik Theatre, is also working on a new recording of the music of Barbara Pentland. This will include her 1952 opera
‘The Lake’ and it will be on the Centrediscs label.

Rudolf Komorous Celebration
There will be a Rudolf Komorous celebration in Victoria December 8th. I will be conducting on the concert Rudolf’s ‘Lurid Bride’ and Linda C. Smith’s ‘Morning Glory.’ I also am privileged to play again ‘Olympia’, this time with Christopher Butterfield.

Zappa meets Varèse and Oswald
Turning Point Ensemble is working on a huge show Jan. 27, 28 & 29 that will include music of Frank Zappa from the Yellow Shark project, as well as Octandre and Intégrales by Edgard Varèse and a new work of John Oswald. Zappa’s G-Spot Tornado will be choreographed by Rob Kitsos. Pass the word and consider coming to Vancouver to see this performance.

Recent News

Here are some highlights of the 15/16 year:

Premiere of my composition ‘Gossamer Thread – Yousi Shu’ for solo sheng, strings and percussion on April 22, 2016.  Soloist – Sheng Ling-Hsuan, Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra conducted by Chih-Sheng Chen.  Commission of VICO – Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra.

Turning Point Ensemble recording (with musica intima) ‘Thirst’ nominated as Best Classical Recording for Western Canadian Music Awards.

Conducted premieres of Aaron Gervais and John Oliver with Turning Point Ensemble and Nu:BC Collective – April 29/30 2016

Conducted premieres of Mark Armanini, Moshe Denburg Farshid Samandari, with Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra – Feb. 27, 2016

Shanghai/Composer Exchange Project – organized by BC Chinese Music Ensemble, travelled to Shanghai in late November early December 2015 along with Vancouver composers Mark Armanini, Dorothy Chang, John Oliver and Ray Zhuo, hosted by Shanghai Conservatory, performance of my ‘String Quartet No. 4 – The Night.’

Music Director and Conductor for premiere of ‘air india [redacted]’ opera – composer Jürgen Simpson and poet Rénee Sarojini Saklikar – November 6 – 11 2015

Turning Point Ensemble Canadian Tour Oct. 14 – 20, 2015 – concerts in Edmonton (New Music Edmonton), Winnipeg (Groundswell), Toronto (New Music Concerts) and Montreal (ecm+) – premieres of Alexina Louie and Anthony Tan, and also including music by Dorothy Chang, Farangis Nurulla-Khoja, Linda Catlin Smith, and Ana Sokolovic


Cello Concerto Premiere June 5, 2016

I am very excited for the upcoming premiere of my new Cello Concerto on Sunday June 5th, 2016 at 5 p.m. in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Vancouver.  The work is a gift to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Turning Point Ensemble, and is composed for cellist Ariel Barnes and the Turning Point Ensemble (13 players total).  The piece is about 23 minutes long in three movements – The Curio Box, The Impossible Return and Assemblage.

The Faerie Queen with Royal Winnipeg Ballet

From April 29 – May 3 2015, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet has performed The Faerie Queen, music by Michael Bushnell and myself after Henry Purcell.  The music is for ten instruments and soundscape and was performed live with Tadeusz Biernacki conductor.  Congratulations to choreographer John Alleyne on having the ballet remounted!  In addition to the Winnipeg performances, there was a tour to Regina, Brandon and Saskatoon.   The reviews have been very positive.  Paula Citron in the Globe and Mail gave the music a mention:

“Vancouver composers Owen Underhill and Michael Bushnell have crafted a wonderful musical tapestry that’s been layered over an electronic soundscape that includes woodland noises.”

UK Tour with Daniel Tones

From April 27 – May 9, Daniel Tones and I are on tour in England.  Thanks to Danny for setting up the tour.  He has been playing my vibraphone solo ‘Cloud over Water’, and we have also been playing my ‘Songs without Words’ for vibraphone and piano.  For the tour, I composed a third Song without Words which we premiered in Leeds.  During the tour, I have also given composition masterclasses at the Royal Northern College of Manchester and the University of Birmingham.  Thank you to Scott Wilson for organizing our concert(s) and visit in Birmingham as part of BEAST FEAST.  In London, Daniel Tones and Russell Hartenberger are working with the Guildhall Percussion Ensemble culminating in a concert at Milton Court Barbican Centre which will include ‘Cloud over Water.’  Our tour concludes at University of York with a concert on May 8th.

2015 Events

Here are some performances and other events in 2015:


Bozzini Quartet performance of String Quartet #4: The Night, New Music Kingston, Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts

UK Tour with percussionist Daniel Tones – April 27 – May 8 – includes premiere of new Song without Words for vibraphone and piano

The Faerie Queen – Owen Underhill and Michael Bushnell – Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Choreography by John Alleyne, April 29 – May 3, Centennial Concert Hall Winnipeg

Conducting with Turning Point Ensemble

Carnival – March 13 & 14, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
Concert includes Jocelyn Morlock premiere, Hindemith, Saint-Saens, and Debussy

Carnival Tour – March 20 White Rock, March 21 Abbotsford, March 22 Salt Spring Island

Vancouver Pro Musica Sonic Boom Festival – March 27 Ensemble-in-Residence, Orpheum Annex

Masque Early and New – April 17 & 19, Telus Studio Theatre UBC Chan Centre
Concert includes premiere of Tony Wilson and music of Bradshaw Pack, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Harrison Birtwistle

CD Releases

Sassicaia by Francois Houle and Jane Hayes – includes Duotone (2014) for Clarinet and Piano – Redshift Music

Thirst – musica intima and Turning Point Ensemble – includes music by Ana Sokolovic and Julia Wolfe – Redshift Music

Recent Releases

Still Image CD Release

“Still Image” is a new CD of my music on the Centrediscs label.The CD features the Quatuor Bozzini on all four works. They are joined by clarinetist François Houle on the title work, and by trombonist Jeremy Berkman in the “Trombone Quintet.” There are two string quartets: “String Quartet #3 – The Alynne” and “String Quartet #4 – The Night.” This is a project that I have been working on for a number of years.

Please consider getting a copy of the CD. You can order it through Centrediscs at: http://www.musiccentre.ca/

Still Image CD Review in the Globe and Mail

“Owen Underhill’s music is a sea of fluid contrasts: the busy clockwork time of action and dance and the suspended time of contemplation; bold gestures that cut across static, glassy textures; counterpoint one can see through, like a forest of bare trees, yet folded into consonances. The Bozzini Quartet provides haunting interpretations of Underhill’s third and fourth string quartets, which sneak up on the heart via the head. Superb soloists grace the two wind quintets: Jeremy Berkman, who turns phrases into characters with eloquent tone and smooth line in Underhill’s stunning Trombone Quintet, and clarinetist François Houle, whose cultivation of unorthodox techniques – liquid quartertones and multiphonics like fine sandpaper – heightens the sense of a music in which the detail is almost tactile, and none of it is expendable.”

I Remember

Brenda Fedoruk, flute and Sarah Fryer, mezzo-soprano

This disc includes my 2007 composition “Remember” for alto flute and mezzo-soprano. “Remember” was commissioned by Brenda Fedoruk for this recording. The poem I set is by Christina Rossetti. For information on recording, see http://www.fedoruk.ca/cd-info-sales.html
The disc is for sale at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/flyerfedoruk


featuring clarinettist, François Houle

* Liquid – John Korsrud
* Schrift – Yannick Plamondon
* Concerto – François Houle
* Kya – Giacinto Scelsi

Liquid is an exciting new ATMA recording consisting of four substantial new works featuring the solo clarinet of François Houle and Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble under the direction of Owen Underhill. Three of the works are recent commissions by John Korsrud, Yannick Palmondon and Houle himself. The fourth is Giancinto Scelsi’s 1959 Kya. Liquid is inspired by the multi-dimensional and unique world of the solo clarinet as it merges and collides with that of a large chamber ensemble in ways that are unpredictable.