Music

Darcy James Argue Culture

Updating big band jazz for the 21st century

Darcy James Argue and his big band the Secret Society make some of the most daringly ambitious music in contemporary jazz and they have the Grammy Award nominations and critical acclaim to prove it.

A galaxy full of stars Culture

An out-of-this-world composition

Composer Sophie Kastner, MMus’22, recently took part in a unique collaboration with NASA, creating a vivid piece of music about the Milky Way based on data about the galaxy that has been gleaned by the Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.

Kid Koala, a pioneering innovator of turntable music, performed at student dorm parties while pursuing an education degree at McGill (Photo: Corinne Merrell) Culture

From DJing at Gerts to touring with Radiohead

Before he became a pioneer of turntable music and a contributor to Hollywood soundtracks, Kid Koala (aka Eric San, BEd’96) performed at student dorm parties while pursuing an education degree at McGill.

Jim-West-Justin-West-square-crop Culture

A father and son in tune with the music business

Some of the best music released in Canada, albums that have contended for Junos and the Polaris Prize, come from a pair of Montreal-based record labels. Meet Jim West, BA’79, the president of Justin Time Records, and his son Justin West, BCom’04, the president of Secret City Records.

Burt Bacharach smiling Culture

We say a little prayer of thanks

Tributes continue to pour in for masterful pop composer Burt Bacharach, AMus’48, DMus’72, who passed away on February 8. Bacharach’s music spanned decades and included a long list of smash hits, including “I Say a Little Prayer” and “The Look of Love”.

Élisabeth St-Gelais leaning against a mural People

A voice for her home, a voice for her people

Élisabeth St-Gelais, BMus’21, has recently been receiving a lot of attention, winning McGill’s Wirth Vocal Prize and a grand prize at the Canadian Music Competition. The young Innu soprano from Saguenay says her Indigenous heritage supplies the foundation for her art.

Daniel Seligman standing in front of POP Montreal posters Culture

Montreal’s impresario of POP

One of the hallmarks of Montreal is its vibrant indie music scene and Daniel Seligman, BA’00, has been one of its key promoters. The longtime creative director of POP Montreal shares his thoughts on the state of music in Montreal – and what it's like to hang out with Patti Smith.

Stéphane Tétreault playing the cello in a hospital People

Sharing music beyond the concert halls

Françoise Henri, MMus’98, is the general and artistic director of the Société pour les arts en milieux de santé, a network of musicians who have performed thousands of live concerts for hospital patients throughout Quebec. COVID-19 made that mission much more complicated.

Culture

Fighting on the cultural front

Mark Marczyk, BA’02, is an award-winning Ukrainian-Canadian musician with two bands, Balaklava Blues and the Lemon Bucket Orkestra. As a musician and as an activist, he is focusing all his energy on supporting the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russia. 

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