Feb 20, 2020

Behind the Musik: The Indigo Project

The Indigo Project. With Feet of Blue by Tim McLaughlin, MAIWA

By Alison Mackay, program creator

The Indigo Project is an exploration in music, words, and images of the influence of indigo dye on the culture and economy of Europe and India in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Practised in tropical climates around the world, the complex art of indigo dyeing was particularly important in India. Extracted from the leaves of the indigofera tinctoria plant, the blue dye was preserved in small cakes which could be transported in camel caravans to the Middle East and then on to Europe. During the Middle Ages indigo was a rare luxury commodity, made expensive by the taxes levied at multiple frontiers along the silk road.

When Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498, a new direct ocean route from India to Europe helped to make spices, textiles, and exotic dyes much more affordable. Indigo was more intense and versatile than woad, the traditional European blue dye plant, and in spite of the lobbying efforts of local woad dealers, indigo became widely available all over Europe, where it was used to dye silk gowns, military uniforms, and clothing for working-class people.

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Jan 16, 2020

Get to know Laura Millard, the photographer behind Gone with the Winds

Contrails by Laura Millard
Contrails by Laura Millard

In keeping with our 2019/20 Season theme of “old meets new” we are thrilled to share the work of some of Canada’s and the world’s most exciting contemporary artists as part of our season campaign.

These stunning images were chosen to complement both the season theme and the theme of each individual concert. We chatted with Laura Millard, the photographer behind the image for Gone with the Winds.

Jan 9, 2020

Behind the Musik: Gone with the Winds

Gone with the Winds. Image by Laura Millard.

By Dominic Teresi, bassoon

The premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail was advertised in Vienna on July 16, 1782. Just four days later the young composer wrote to his father in Salzburg: "Now I have no small task: by Sunday week I have to arrange my opera for wind band, otherwise someone will step in front of me and take the profit.”

Dec 30, 2019

The kinship of making music: Tafelmusik Winter Institute with cellist Keiran Campbell

Keiran Campbell (centre back) with the cello class of TWI 2017 and cello faculty Christina Mahler.
Keiran Campbell (centre back) with the cello class of TWI 2017 and cello faculty Christina Mahler.

By Keiran Campbell, cellist

Dec 22, 2019

Get to know Cecilia Livingston, composer

In our 2019/20 Season, we are exploring how "old" can meet "new." This theme runs across our season in many ways, including six short new works by living composers written to complement the programs.

We are delighted to introduce Cecilia Livingston, whose new work for wind sextet will premiere in Gone with the Winds this January.

Tafelmusik: Tell us a little about yourself, and how you started composing music.