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Revolution Ensemble EPK

Revolution Ensemble is an experimental group dedicated to pushing physical and musical boundaries through exploring improvisation, graphic scores, electronics and interdisciplinary collaborations. Based in Montreal, the core members are Gordon Fitzell and Tommy Davis, who invite other artists on a rotating basis to perform for specific project-based performances. They have collaborated on performance projects in Canada, France and the United Kingdom including the Strata New Music Festival (Saskatoon), GroundSwell Winnipeg, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Sonorities Festival (Belfast), and the World Saxophone Congress (Strasbourg).


REVIEWS FOR GORDON FITZELL

A moody chiaroscuro of sound
— The Los Angeles Times
Evocative ... exquisite ... like the elegant wind storm that rustled through the ensemble near the beginning, and the open, pulsing electronic chord that ended the piece
— The Globe and Mail
Philosophical ... shades of pianissimo
— The New York Times
Atmospherically internalised
— BBC Music Magazine
The strange imaginary animals in Gordon Fitzell’s “Evanescence” ... seemed to be from outer space. Mr. Fitzell uses electronic and avant-garde techniques, like running a wet finger around the edge of a glass, to create an eerie, throbbing, trancelike canvas, through which at one point a raspy cello line penetrates like the moan of an angry Martian
— The New York Times

Reviews for Tommy Davis

You heard the lush saxophone playing...interacting with the dancers and drawing ambient sound from the room itself. Beautiful harmonies sang in contrast to mysterious knockings and hums, and finally to ungodly, soul-shattering blasts.
— The Shepherd Express
...Use overblowing to create symphonic textures... [and] unearthly echos. [The] use of odd instruments like found-object percussion and horns made of long tubes took you to other worlds.
— Milwaukee Magazine

Media

r/evolution is a moto perpetuo work featuring uncommonly long phrases, trajectories and transformations. The piece requires extended circular breathing and the virtuosic execution of multiple simultaneous performance techniques. These techniques include multiphonics and other false fingerings, whisper tones, vocalizing/growl, pitched key clicks, and a blended teeth-on-reed embouchure. Fluidity of co-presentation and transformation across these techniques is essential to the continually evolving character of the work. Commissioned with the support of the Manitoba Arts Council, the work is dedicated to saxophonist Tommy Davis.
 


The score for Metropolis combines manipulated photographs with graphic notation and elements of conventional music notation. Each system of music features a different colour scheme, which, together with intervallic, gestural and sectional indications, constitutes an important synaesthetic component of the piece. The work was commissioned through the Manitoba Arts Council by saxophonist Allen Harrington and pianist Laura Loewen, who in 2006 were the first Canadian finalists in the world’s most prestigious saxophone competition—the Adophe Sax International Competition in Belgium. Metropolis appears on the album Metropolis (Parma Records, 2014) by the Harrington Loewen Duo.


For multiple suspended speakers.

A mobile art installation for five sonic luminescent orbs, :spin explores the concepts of spatiality and energy transference through the use of multiple ambulatory sound sources. This approach affords each listener a unique auditory and visual perspective on an ever-changing immersive environment. The work was first installed at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale in Portugal in 2007, where it ran for two months. It has also been presented at the Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival, the Winnipeg New Music Festival, and at the ISCM World Music Days in Bruges, Belgium. 


Multiple microphones signals are processed in real time to create an expanded and immersive listening environment. The electronic version of r/evolution was premiered at the 2016 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in Huddersfield, United Kingdom.
Recording engineer: Phillip Tock.

This work earned First Prize in the electroacoustic category at the CBC Radio National Competition for Young Composers in 1999, and Second Prize at the 1998 SOCAN Awards for Young Composers. It has received numerous national and international performances and broadcasts. An earlier version of !Zip, entitled Zipper Music II, appears on the 2000 2-CD set Présence II (CEC). 

In economics, food product formulation and many other enterprises, the term “bliss point” refers to an optimal quantity of consumption beyond which any further increase would diminish quality. In adapting this concept to music, I opted for a design that challenges the performers to choose the duration that best expresses their interpretation of the work—the sonic bliss point. Dedicated to Sea&Sky, Bliss Point appears on their self-titled 2015 album Sea&Sky

A peaceful and meditative work; works very well in candlelight or low lighting
Recording engineer: Phillip Tock.


Program Repertoire

 

Bliss Point for e-bow piano and alto saxophone by Gordon Fitzell
Garden Electric (electroacoustic) by Gordon Fitzell
Metropolis for piano, saxophone and electronics by Gordon Fitzell
Micrographia for solo tenor saxophone by Samuel Andreyev
Orb of the Sun for solo tenor saxophone and optional electronics by Gordon Fitzell
r/evolution for solo tenor saxophone with electronics and immersive speaker array by Gordon Fitzell
!Zip (electroacoustic) by Gordon Fitzell
Strouche for tenor saxophone by Tommy Davis
Improvisations by Davis/Fitzell

Tommy Davis, saxophones
Gordon Fitzell, electronics


Upcoming Performances

26-09-18 Interactive Art, Science, and Technology in Western Canada Conference, University of Lethbridge, AB

  • r/evolution for tenor saxophone and interactive spatial audio by Gordon Fitzell

16-10-18 Music in New Technologies (MINT), Halifax, NS

  • r/evolution for tenor saxophone and interactive spatial audio by Gordon Fitzell

Past Performances

12-06-17 Tendresses Mixtes - Festival Suoni Per Il Popolo presented by Code d'Accès in Montréal, Canada

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone (North American Premiere of electronics version) by Gordon Fitzell
    Tommy Davis, tenor saxophone; Gordon Fitzell, live electronics

03-12-16 Clare College Music Society: Contemporary Late, Clare College Chapel, Cambridge University, UK

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone by Gordon Fitzell

  • Bliss Point for e-bow piano and alto saxophone by Gordon Fitzell

  • Open Improvisations by Davis, Fitzell and Woo

  • Tommy Davis, tenor and alto saxophone; Gordon Fitzell, e-bow piano and electronics; Naomi Woo, piano

24-11-16 Sonorities Festival, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland

21-11-16 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival: hcmf//shorts, Huddersfield, UK

26-09-16 Eva Clare Hall, Desautels Faculty of Music, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada

  • Bliss Point for e-bow piano and alto saxophone by Gordon Fitzell

  • Micrographia for solo tenor saxophone by Samuel Andreyev

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone (workshop/recital of revised version with electronics) by Gordon Fitzell
    Gordon Fitzell, e-bow piano and electronics; Tommy Davis, tenor and alto saxophones
    **Supported in part by GroundSwell Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of Music**

11-03-16 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, USA

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone (Official North American Premiere) by Gordon Fitzell
    Tommy Davis, tenor saxophone

 12-07-15 XVII World Saxophone Congress, Cité de la Musique et de la Danse de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone (World Premiere) by Gordon Fitzell
    Tommy Davis, tenor saxophone

06-07-15 Conservatoire de Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, France

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone by Gordon Fitzell
    Tommy Davis, tenor saxophone

18-05-15 Faculté de Musique, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

  • r/evolution for solo saxophone by Gordon Fitzell
    Tommy Davis, tenor saxophone

10-03-15 Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

  • Metropolis for piano, tenor saxophone and electronics by Gordon Fitzell

  • The Garden Electric (electroacoustic piece) by Gordon Fitzell

  • Bliss Point for e-bow piano and alto saxophone (Premiere of saxophone version) by Gordon Fitzell

  • Orb of the Sun for tenor saxophone and electronics by Gordon Fitzell
    Gordon Fitzell, electronics; Tommy Davis, saxophones; Jason Noble, piano and e-bows

12-11-14 Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada

  • Metropolis for piano, tenor saxophone and electronics by Gordon Fitzell

  • !Zip (electroacoustic piece) by Gordon Fitzell

  • Improvisations
    Gordon Fitzell, electronics; Tommy Davis, saxophones; Jason Noble, piano

13-06-14 Strata New Music Festival, Saskatoon, Canada

  • violence for chamber ensemble by Gordon Fitzell

  • Metropolis for piano, tenor saxophone and electronics by Gordon Fitzell

  • Elea for piano trio by Gordon Fitzell

  • !Zip (electroacoustic piece) by Gordon Fitzell

  • evanescence for chamber ensemble and live electronics by Gordon Fitzell