Ethos was formed in January 2011 as the house ensemble for the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre BC region’s inaugural Composer Mentoring Project. Ethos conducted a reading of a new work by Christopher Reiche with CLC president James Rolfe in attendance, read new works for ensemble and soprano by Christopher Reiche and James O’Callaghan, and were the core ensemble for Elizabeth Knudson’s chamber opera The Painted Brain, which premiered as part of Tom Cone’s Opera Project in May 2011. Following the completion of the Composer Mentoring Project, James O’Callaghan wrote Precious Metals for Chris Morano and Katie Rife, who premiered it at a performance workshop at the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts in July 2011.
In the fall of 2011 they began rehearsing in earnest as a group. There really isn’t much written for their combination of instruments, so they spent their first few months together improvising with the occasional open score piece thrown in. In the spring of 2012 they were presented in a concert of improv at the Western Front by Barking Spinx; they collaborated with composer Edward Top and the students of Gilpin Elementary in Burnaby as part of the Canadian Music Centre’s Composer in the Classroom program; and they were presented in concert at the Vancouver Art Gallery by the Redshift Music Society. At the Redshift concert they premiered works written for them by Kathleen Allan, Daniel Brandes, and Iman Habibi, linked by their own improvisations. This composer-ensemble collaboration was part of the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre BC region’s 2012 Composer Mentoring Project.
Although the Ethos Collective is a relatively new ensemble, several of the members have performed together since they were kids: they played together as young musicians in the Vancouver Youth Symphony and studied together at the University of British Columbia before going their separate ways to pursue graduate studies abroad. Coincidentally, four of the six members went to grad school in Chicago (while the percussionists were in San Francisco and Indiana). It was upon everyone’s return to Vancouver that the collective began to take shape.
For information on our more recent activities, see our past event listings.