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“Berlin-based Toronto composer Chiyoko Szlavnics explores musical ideas that while leaning toward abstraction possess a finely nuanced sensitivity to the nature and reception of sound”

— Wholenote Magazine

(livestream + studio audience | runtime 60 minutes)

NOVEMBER 27, 2021 @ 8PM ET


Since its beginnings in 1972, the Array Ensemble has created and presented hundreds of new Canadian and international compositions to audiences in Toronto, across Canada, and beyond. A flexible ensemble featuring a core instrumentation of five of Toronto’s most dedicated new music performers, each Array Ensemble season balances world premieres with performances of seldom heard and classic works by established and new generation composers from a wide range of artistic and cultural perspectives. 

Born in Toronto and based in Berlin since 1998, Chiyoko Szlavnics is one of Canada’s most singularly experimental voices. As a composer and visual artist, Szlavnics’ work finds inspiration in natural processes: lines and waves, temporality and regeneration, incremental change and intersecting events. This program features a selection of her most radical and poetic works for instruments and electronics, performed by members of the Array Ensemble and guests. 


Water Sky (2018) • 15 mins.
Sine waves & video

Constellations I-III (2011) • 10 mins.
Stephen Clarke – piano + sine waves

Her Teeth Were White (1999) • 7 mins.
David Schotzko – percussion

Gradients of Detail (2005-6) • 23 mins.
Steve Sitarski, Suhashini Arulanandam – violins, Aysel Taghi-Zada – viola, Amahl Arulanandam – cello


Born and raised in Toronto, Chiyoko Szlavnics has had a Berlin-based practice for twenty-three years. Her first compositions were written for her own musical trio, as well as for contemporary dance projects, in the early 1990s. She joined Hemispheres Music Projects in 1992, and 40 fingers saxophone quartet in 1993, at the invitation of Nic Gotham. While composing for both ensembles, Szlavnics often consulted with James Tenney, whose invaluable input is still relevant to her work today. A year-long Fellowship grant from the Akademie Schloss Solitude took Szlavnics to southern Germany in 1997. Following her residency, Szlavnics moved to Berlin and joined its burgeoning experimental music scene, vigorously exploring music in just intonation.  

Around the year 2003, drawings became the basis for Szlavnics’s compositions. This new-found graphic approach led to the creation of abundant compositions for acoustic instruments (solo to chamber orchestra, sometimes together with sinewaves), as well as pure sinewave pieces exploring density and non-unison beating. In 2010, Szlavnics began creating more complex “moiré” drawings. These drawings quickly became an independent artistic ouevre, and have since been included in international exhibitions featuring sound-inspired visual art.

Chiyoko Szlavnics’s compositions have been presented at numerous European festivals, and performed at locations as varied as Seoul, Tel Aviv, Ostrava (Czech Republic), Vienna, Linz (Austria), Bellelay Abbey (Switzerland), Berlin, Donaueschingen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Brussels, Turku (Finland), Oslo, Montréal, Toronto, New York, Guelph, Regina, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Her music has been featured numerous times in German radio broadcasts and print media, and in international webcasts and blogs. Szlavnics is currently composing a new piece for six voices from the London-based EXAUDI ensemble, drawing inspiration from Anne Carson’s remarkable book: “Eros The Bittersweet”.