"These were the colours I saw." Tom Thomson
"These were the colours we heard." The Algonquin Ensemble
SONIC PALETTE is a musical celebration of Tom Thomson's work, capturing the spirit of his landscapes through compositions written for piano, guitar, double bass and string trio. Inspired by Thomson’s artistic legacy, SONIC PALETTE immerses audiences in Thomson's world through performing original musical interpretations of his canvases and stories of his heritage and life.
In 2017 both the sesquicentennial of Canada and 100th anniversary of Thomson’s death align and offer us an opportunity to celebrate both occasions in a convergence of art and music. Some compositions represent a collage of works based on similar themes: sunsets, Canoe Lake, and log drives; other canvases have stand alone tributes such as THE JACK PINE & THE WEST WIND. While predominantly instrumental in scope, a handful of vocal selections are part of the program, providing biographical and contextual content. With permission from appropriate institutions, the show be accompanied by a slideshow with photos of Thomson’s life and art.
Retracing some of Thomson's life paths from where he grew up in Leith, Ontario, to French River, to Algonquin Park, to the Studio Building in Toronto, two of the founding members of The Algonquin Ensemble, Kathryn Briggs and Terry Tufts, traveled to immerse themselves in the Thomson legacy to bring an authentic perspective to the music they have been composing for the past two years.
Supporting the project is world-renowned luthier, Linda Manzer, a pioneer in the guitar world, creating an instrument such as has never been seen: THE SONIC PALETTE. Award-winning recording engineer, Ken Friesen, is also endorsing the project and will be at the helm both in the recording studio and at select performances.
WHY THOMSON? Tom Thomson is the first example of a truly Canadian school of art. His death cemented the resolve of the artists he inspired: The Group of Seven. They committed themselves to pursue the untamed Canadian wild through their brushstrokes to create a medium that is even now recognized as distinctly Canadian. Thomson's demise was a turning point in the art world and the history of Canada which gave us a sincere sense of ourselves, gifting us with a cultural heritage known across the globe.