Soundstreams announces Encounters – Blurred Realities

Soundstreams 2022/23: 40 years of Excellence in Canadian Music

Encounters – Blurred Realities

March 9, 2023 // Toronto, ON – Soundstreams’ Encounters series aims to bring people together through music and discussion to explore themes that resonate in their communities.  New Canadian music stimulates and provokes ‘cultural conversations’, music with underlying themes that resonate with our time and place. A ‘cultural conversation’ is a form of storytelling: multiple participants interpret and respond to themes that ponder identities, values, attitudes and issues; and such conversations unfold over time.

This season, Soundstreams offers programming that aims to broaden these artistic horizons with exciting guest curators. Our Encounters series began in December by featuring a program curated by Métis scholar Rena Roussin. Later this season, we will also feature an evening created by turntablist and first-generation Grenadian Canadian Cheldon Paterson (SlowPitchSound) and composer James O’Callaghan, exploring “sampling” in the hip-hop and new music communities.

On April 13, the series continues with Encounters – Blurred Realities. Composers Maziar Heidari, Saman Shahi and Keyan Emami from the Iranian Composers of Toronto (ICOT) will premiere a new 15-minute work for percussion quartet and electric guitar. Titled Stream of the Unconscious, this work delves into the mind of a displaced person: the ongoing identity battle of a refugee, the constant daydreaming of an immigrant, and their collective efforts to negotiate new meaning in the intersectionality of their lives.

The Encounters series offers a musical experience that is free and accessible to all. Seats are limited, and patrons can reserve their free admission ticket by visiting

Encounters – Blurred Realities

Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Ave, Toronto

April 13 @ 8pm

Artists: Richard Burrows, Yang Chen, Jamie Drake, Tim Francom (percussionists) and Andrew Noseworthy (electric guitar)

Maziar Heidari, Saman Shahi and Keyan Emami, curators/ composers

This piece is composed collectively by members of ICOT, Maziar Heidari, Saman Shahi and Keyan Emami in close collaboration with their creative partners: Richard Burrows, Yang Chen, Jamie Drake, Tim Francom (percussionists), and Andrew Noseworthy (electric guitar).

Stream of the Unconscious makes several references to music that was once heard by the composers in various stages of their lives. Some of this music may have been used by the Iranian State media as propaganda, while others may have been lullabies on the radio, or forbidden and underground revolutionary anthems. The aim of the work is to act as a commentary about how these melodies live and breathe as fragmented remains of memory and distant history in an immigrant’s conscious or subconscious psyche.

The piece also makes some use of free improvisation, rendering each performance of it somewhat different. In the spirit of this feature, this evening will include two full performances of the work spaced by a brief discussion among the creative partners and Soundstreams’ artistic team to dig deeper in the meaning, approach, and inspirations behind the work.

ICOT is a non-profit art organization founded by five Toronto-based composers and musicians in 2011 with the mission of creating new works that bridge Canadian and Iranian culture through music and art. ICOT has produced over 60 new works since its inception, and has curated or has been involved as featured artists over 35 concerts.

ICOT has produced 2 operas (Operatic Narrations of Arash the Archer, The Journey: Notes of Hope), 2 ballets (5 Tableaux from Khosrow and Shirin, Trio in Chaargah), 12 orchestral works (Secret of Solstice, Recall The Eden), dozens of chamber works and vocal works, as well as three call for scores that allowed ICOT to collaborate with over 20 composers from 8 different countries.

ICOT has received commissions from the National Ballet of Canada, Tirgan Festival, Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, 13 Strings, and has been featured in Ottawa Chamberfest, Hamilton Philharmonic’s What next Music Festival, Nuit Blanche Festival, Canadian Music Centre’s 2017 Season as well as LADOM Ensemble’s 2017 Debut Atlantic’s Eastern Canada tour. In addition to the aforementioned groups ICOT’s music has been performed by Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, Symphony on the Bay and Ton Beau String Quartet.

ICOT’s current members are Maziar Heidari (Music Director), Keyan Emami (Artistic Director), and Saman Shahi (Executive Director).

The Toronto Heliconian Club in Yorkville, will serve as the evening’s venue for the event. It is the oldest association of its kind in Canada, founded in 1909 to give women in the arts and letters an opportunity to meet socially and intellectually. Members range from women who have earned great distinction to those in the early stages of their careers.

Stream of the Unconscious is commissioned with support from the Ontario Arts Council. Encounters: Blurred Realities is supported by TD.

Please add to your listings.

Contact: Kirk Thomson, [email protected]

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