Associated Artists
Paul D. Miller
Gordon Monahan
Pamela Z
R. Murray Schafer
John Oswald
Hildegard Westerkamp
Steve Heimbecker
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
Francisco Lopez
  Open Ears
Festival 1998 -
  Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Presented by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in conjunction with NUMUS concerts, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and other local organizations, this biennial Canadian and international festival features the use of unusual venues and a very eclectic range of musics from new classical music to electroacoustics, musique actuelle and sound installations. The focus of all events is the act of listening. Featuring a mix of local, national and international artists, concerts have featured ensembles from traditional ensembles such as string quartet, orchestra, choir to turntable art, musique actuelle, outdoor electroacoustic events, multi-media, dance and the Ensemble Karel bicycle orchestra from Montreal. A late night series concentrates on cutting edge work from the world of live electracoustics and improvised music. Concerts are presented indoors and out, in traditional concert halls and churches as well as alternative spaces, including several buildings that had been abandoned for long years and brought to life for the festival. Richard Windeyer's 'Soniferous Gardens' saw the audience lead through a dance/theatre/music performance throughout Victoria Park, an ambient music-theatre piece involving performers from the surrounding community. Other guest composers and performers have included DJ Spooky, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Pamela Z, Gordon Monahan, Pauline Oliveros, Murray Schafer, Uri Caine, Martin Tetrault, Henry Kaiser, Michael Snow, John Oswald, Tim Brady and Hildegarde Westerkamp, as well as local ensembles such as the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, NUMUS Concerts, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Dancetheatre David Earle and the Penderecki String Quartet. Sound installations are an integral part of the festival. The 'inner Ear' festival-within-a-festival presents a variety of work in collaboration with the K-W Art Gallery, the KOR gallery and students from Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo. In 1999 the Sonic Playroom, an installation in which sound-generating sculptures and installations can be explored by visitors of all ages was presented over a five day period to over 1000 people - families, school children, people dropping in off of the street . The space was so popular that in the end some of the pieces had been 'played' to their death! Public workshops, symposia and sound walks as well as in-the-school educational events are also an important part of Open Ears, whose community outreach involves a huge community effort with literally hundreds of volunteers and professionals involved, from students of local public schools and universities through to professional orchestra musicians, city counselors and local business people. A large proportion of the audience were being given their first exposure to new music and the thousands that attended in the concert hall, in the parks and on the streets responded enthusiastically. Workshops, symposia and sound walks are a regular feature of the festival. In 2001, the Canadian League of Composers held their 50th anniversary celebration as part of the festival. 2005 featured the 25th anniversary of the Association for Canadian Women Composers. In 2007 Montreal's Steve Heimbecker was artist-in-residence and created "Songs of Place: Kitchener", the most recent in a series of works inspired by cities across Canada and Europe. Accessed 12.08.2009 from
Bibliographic Refs
Funder Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, Kitchener City Council, Musagetes Fund, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, Ontario Arts Council