Verisimo presents: Les Femmess de FILMPROV Rachel Burman, cello

Sunday February 10th at Anticafe in the Old Port of Montreal Verisimo: Chamber Music and Film will be hosting a Filmprov event celebrating the life and pioneering work of female filmmaker Germaine Dulac.

Cellist and composer Rachel Burman founded the new opera company Opéra FOE in 2011, and has since composed and mounted two operas : Notre Damn (Théâtre La Chapelle, Montreal, 2014) and Slideshow (Théâtre La Chapelle, 2018). Her work has been commended by critics for its audacity and its "singular and necessary" artistic approach (Revue Jeu.org). Cellist for Montreal’s Ensemble Mruta Mertsi, Rachel has enjoyed many rich collaborations with its director André Pappathomas. One of their shared projects, particularly close to her heart, is the show Poèmes de détention et quelques « contres », which sets to music the poetry of Quebec writer Claude Gauvreau.

  • What drew you to music?

I think I was pulled into music by the way listening to it could make me feel. I have a very strong memory of being about five or six years old, and my sister who was a teenager at the time was playing David Bowie in the house. I remember the intense sensory pleasure that music gave me, my whole body and mind just feeling so good. I had a similarly intense experience listening to Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik when I was about thirteen, and just beginning to play the cello at school. I think it solidified in me the sense that musical activities had intrinsic importance, because music could elevate your life above the ordinary day-to-day level of existence.

  • Who are you inspired by?

I’m inspired by artists who combine more than one creative talent to create a highly personal work of art. So for example a songwriter who writes amazing lyrics as well or has a fantastic visual sense. One of my very favourite artists is David Byrne. His very unique, natural strangeness as well as his ability to collaborate with and bring out the best in other artists have been a model for me, even if artistically I’m nothing like him!

  • What is your creative process?

I do lots and lots of playing around with my cello and a looper pedal, generating material, and then sift through that pulling out what I like. The few hidden gems in all of that material will often spur new ideas, around which my compositions grow.

  • What’s an average day like for you?

A lot of mundane tasks, some teaching and grant-writing, unrelated reading and podcast-listening, exercise, taking care of my teenager, being with my loved ones… and then some mad spurts of creative activity or practicing, in which all the aforementioned get neglected.

  • Do you collaborate often others? What is that process?

My most frequent and influential collaborator is André Pappathomas. The creative process varies depending on whose project it is. If the compositions are “mine”, I usually have already composed the piece before we work together, and we will work in rehearsal to integrate his improvisations on invented instruments into the compositions. When I play for his André’s projects, we often generate my cello parts for his compositions by starting with an improvisation and developing the motifs and musical attitudes that suit his conception of the work-in-progress.

  • This concert is focusing on the feminist films of a female filmmaker and featuring all female musicians: how do you feel about the representation of women in classical and contemporary music today? What are your thoughts on working with all women?

I love working with women because they tend to collaborate very well.

Join Rachel and the rest of the gang for an evening celebrating the surrealist films of Germaine Dulac and the power of improvisation on February 10th at Anticafe (40 Notre Dame Est) Doors open at 8. $15 Entry includes free coffee, tea, pasteries, and other cafe amenities.

If the entrance fee prohibits your attendance please feel free to reach out of us personally and we will handle everything on a case by case basis. Financial restrictions should not restrict the experience of live performance and art.


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