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For immediate release India is in the spotlight at the 18th edition of

Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies
On Place Royale and around the Museum on Sundays, February 26 and March 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Montréal, February 6, 2012 – Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies are putting India in the spotlight this year with the highly-anticipated presence of Sandeep Bhagwati—a composer originally from Mumbai, India, now living in Montréal—who will present an original composition titled Rives et dérives. For this unique outdoor concert, trains, tugboats, and boats moored in the Old Port for the winter will join other urban instruments to create an original piece of contemporary music of the most unusual kind. Remember that in performing Indian music, there is always a drone, an enveloping sound that precedes the music and is sustained when the other instruments stop playing. This drone is usually produced by an instrument called a tambura, and its presence symbolizes the anahata that surrounds us all. It is the eternal river of sound from which rhythms and melodies emerge and where they eventually return. Rives et Dérives, the composition Sandeep Bhagwati is presenting, recreates this drone with boat horns and foghorns. The river and the boats play the role of the constant but perpetually changing drone that surrounds the listeners. Melodies emerge from this river and are punctuated by percussive waves and sounds produced by singers located within the crowd. The singers do not create the music but improvise to the surrounding sounds; they move among the crowd, allowing listeners to hear a melody that ebbs and flows, giving them the impression of listening to the sounds of the river. Sandeep Bhagwati, composer of the 18th Port Symphonies Born in Mumbai, India, Sandeep Bhagwati is an internationally renowned composer, theatre director, and media artist. The recipient of many awards, he studied in Austria, France, and Germany. His compositions, including six operas, have been performed by renowned musicians in prominent venues and at festivals around the world. His compositions have also garnered international recognition and won several awards. He holds a Canada Research Chair for Inter-X Arts in the departments of Music and Theatre at Concordia University in Montréal, where he is the director of matralab, a research centre for intercultural and interdisciplinary arts. March Break at the Museum with the whole family In addition to the Port Symphonies, the Museum is holding several entertaining family activities this winter. During the school break, from Saturday, March 3 to Sunday March 11, parents and children are invited to come explore and have fun at the Museum. An all-new activity offers families a chance to learn about the ways of life of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians and the inhabitants of New France. Iroquoian-themed activities and clothing from the New France era will allow parents and their children to see what life was like in the earliest days of Montréal. Next, Romeo—a plush rat who is the mascot of the ExploRATion Tour—invites families to take a fun tour through the Museum’s archaeological remains, visiting the permanent exhibition, Where Montréal Was Born, with the help of a tour booklet. The goal is to help Romeo—a nosy, storytelling rat—find selected objects in the Museum’s remains.

Finally, from the top of Pointe-à-Callière’s belvedere, a new exhibition highlights the majestic views that can be seen from the highest spot in the Museum. Children can compare Montréal’s 19th century architecture in photos to the more contemporary architecture visible with the naked eye. During their visit to the Museum, families can also view the Yours Truly, Montréal multimedia show, and see the Colours of India exhibition. All of these activities are included in the price of admission to the Museum. Nuit blanche à Montréal – One Thousand and One Nights, from ancient India to today And don’t forget Nuit blanche à Montréal as part of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. This year, Pointe-à-Callière is offering an activity on the theme of “One Thousand and One Nights, from ancient India to today.” In the archaeological crypt, visitors can listen to storytellers Stéphanie Bénéteau and Myriame El Yamani share old tales inspired by India and the One Thousand and One Nights. Visiting Pointe-à-Callière for the Nuit blanche is also a great opportunity to walk through the Where Montréal Was Born exhibition and its archaeological remains, interspersed with virtual experiences, touch screens, 3D images, and a superb interactive mural. This activity takes place on the night of Saturday, February 25 to Sunday, February 26, from 8 pm to 3 am. Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies benefit from the support of the Department of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women under the Agreement on the cultural development of Montréal, the Société de développement commercial du Vieux-Montréal, and the Quays of the Old Port. Pointe-àCallière’s thanks La Presse and The Gazette for their support in promoting the event. The Museum is subsidized by the City of Montréal. – 30 – Information: Catherine Roberge, Communications Coordinator croberge@pacmusee.qc.ca, 514 872-7858 Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History 350 Place Royale, Old Montréal (Québec), H2Y 3Y5 http://pacmusee.qc.ca

Did you know…?
• • • Each of Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies requires the participation of some thirty music students to operate the horns on the boats and trains. The Port Symphonies are created using the horns of boats moored in the Port of Montréal for the winter season. The boats, usually lakers—boats used to transport grain or metal between the Great Lakes cities and Montreal or other cities along the St. Lawrence River, —are frozen in the ice at the Port from January to mid-March each year. The composers must visit the boats in January, compose their piece specifically for the sounds of the boats in the port, taking into account the position of each, thereby creating works in which some sounds come from close by while others originate from further away. Over the years, the various composers have succeeded in creating new sounds by reducing the sound of the horns or by experimenting with original ways to play them. Up until 2005, Radio-Canada broadcast the Symphonies on its radio network across Canada, on both live and recorded programs.

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What are the origins of the Port Symphonies? In the winter of 1995, Pointe-à-Callière presented two Port Symphonies for the first time. The very first Port Symphony in Montréal was performed on February 8, 1995, on the occasion of the opening of the temporary exhibition The Port as Seen by Pierre Bourgault, Gilles Vigneault and Helmut Lipsky. The work by Newfoundland composers Don Wherry and Paul Steffler was called Ballycatters and Growlers. That same year, Helmut Lipsky also wrote La Valse des sirènes, which was performed on March 11 and for which he himself played the violin live from the Museum’s tower, answering the call of ships in the port. Radio-Canada broadcast the Port Symphonies live during a special one-hour show on its radio network. For the first edition and for several years thereafter, Radio-Canada was a major project partner, and, through the work of Navire « Night » producer Hélène Prévost, was involved in many aspects of the Symphonies, from providing aesthetic guidance and choosing the composers to promoting and broadcasting the work. Pointe-à-Callière has produced Port Symphonies during the winter season for the past 17 years now, rousing the dormant port, livening up the historic area of Old Montréal, and creating an extraordinary event for Montrealers: an outdoor concert of boat horns in the middle of winter! How is a Port Symphony composed? The sound of a boat horn is very rich, pleasant-sounding, uncommon, and different from one boat to another. As with other musical compositions, the score for a Port Symphony is not written for a specific instrument but rather is contingent on creating an overall effect. In Montréal, we use lakers—boats that transport merchandise on the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes seaway—that are moored in the port during the winter season. The composers of Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies must visit the boats beginning early in the month of January to identify the sounds they will have at their disposal in order to compose their work. They first consider the placement of these “instruments” and then compose works that will reflect the variations in sound, based on the distances between the boats themselves and the distance between the boats and the Museum. In addition to the musical possibilities afforded by the boats, the composers make use of one or two locomotive whistles and, in some years, of the bells of Notre Dame Basilica. The musical work

is therefore composed according to the distance between the instruments, taking into account the effects produced by distance and echo, and the location of performance and listening. The acoustic space must be considered as a central element, since the boats’ anchorage affects the strength of the horn’s sound. The distance used in the Port of Montréal is about one kilometre from east to west. In this way, the sound of a horn can be augmented by boats located further away, creating a balance between the chorus and the solo instrument. Basically, it is the same principal used to organize an orchestra but with unconventional instruments. Each Port Symphony requires the participation of some thirty volunteers to sound the boat horns. Port Symphonies are a unique experience. Inevitably, the piece is quite susceptible to the elements, and varies according to the wind direction and strength, rain, snow, temperature, humidity, and fog—all of which have an effect on the sound of the horns. Also, since the listening area is so large, the same symphony can be heard from different locations and be perceived in completely different ways, whether one is at Pointe-à-Callière, on the Quays of the Old Port, or elsewhere in Old Montréal.

Who has composed the Port Symphonies since 1995?
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 February 8 March 11 March 3 March 10 March 2 March 9 March 1st March 8 February 28 March 7 February 27 March 2 February 25 March 4 March 2 February 22, 23 February 22, 29 February 20, 27 Feb. 26, March 5 March 4, 11 March 2 March 1, 8 February 28, March 7 February 27, March 6 February 26, March 4 Don Wherry and Paul Steffler: Ballycatters and Growlers Helmut Lipsky: La Valse des sirènes Claude Schryer: Harbour Music for Horns and Bells Walter Boudreau: Appel du grand large André Hamel: Le Chant des grandes coques Michel Smith: Macaque Michel Frigon: Ode à Poséidon Monique Jean: The Call of Blowing Machines Jean-François Laporte: Les Sirènes volantes Silvio Palmieri: Enfant-Phare Gilles Tremblay: L’Appel de Kondiaronk Luc Marcel: Phonographe Michel Tétreault: ... en paix sous l'Arbre de paix
Danielle Palardy Roger: La Grande Entente ou Entendre comme dans s’entendre

Louis Dufort: Intonarumori Sandro Forte: Fifteen Minutes on the Bridge Marc Beaulieu: Citizens of the Atlantic Jean Derome: Ici nous arrivâmes Diane Labrosse: 20,000 Sounds Under the Sea André Duchesne: Hello New York… Montréal here… Come in please! Martin Leclerc: Echoes on the Sea Bernard Falaise: Le son corsé du cor corsaire Pierre Labbé: Sound Waves Anthony Rozankovic: Yours Truly, Samuel de Champlain Sandeep Bhagwati: Rives et dérives