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Spectrum Composer Jesse Dietschi Discusses "Canmore"

Spectrum’s upcoming concert, Journeys, is all about physical journeys that lead to or represent significant inner development, enlightenment, and/or change.


My piece, entitled Canmore, represents my personal relationship with the Canadian city located just on the edge of Banff National Park. Throughout my childhood, Canmore was the prime vacation destination that my family travelled to for ski trips every single year. At first, it was a charming little town nestled in a small valley surrounded by mountains that I always associated with excitement, exploration, and family ties. However, over the years, and our repeated visits, the city grew rapidly, and the small town charm that I became fond of was quickly replaced by rampant commercial genericism.


Simultaneously, my family was slowly fracturing with each passing year. My parents’ divorce, coupled with my brother’s (and eventually my own) departure from home meant that the family unit that made the annual trek westward diminished. A family of four became three, then two. Finally, my last visit to the city was as a touring musician many years after our annual pilgrimages ceased. Here I stood alone, removed from my family, in a city that mutated so drastically I could no longer recognize it as the charming mountain town I held so dearly in my memories.

This piece represents this inverse relationship between city and family, with the periodic connections between the two acting as snapshots into the simultaneous evolution and devolution of each. Despite their opposing trajectories, both entities share the common fate of mutation almost beyond recognition, growing increasingly dark and tainted.

I look forward to hearing this storyline brought to life by the very talented ensemble we have lined up for Journeys. Graham Campbell, guitarist and Spectrum-ite, will be featured alongside the awe-inspiring Ton Beau String Quartet on this and several other works on Saturday, December 6th at the Alliance Française de Toronto Theatre (24 Spadina Road). The concert will also feature award-winning jazz guitar extraordinaire Alex Goodman, and more information can be found at www.spectrummusic.ca. I hope to see you there!


-Jesse Dietschi

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