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Artists Lori Freedman

Lori Freedman is a member of the international group of people currently named “the renaissance musicians.” Freedman’s artistic practice spans the gamut. With full throttle in both contemporary and improvised music streams she is known internationally for her provocative and creative performances. As an interpreter of written music for clarinet hundreds of works have been dedicated to and/or premiered by her. While managing a full performance schedule (more than 75 concerts a year), making recordings, touring and leading workshops, Freedman has also been receiving commissions to write music for an eclectic group of artists: Arraymusic Ensemble, Ensemble Transmission, Continuum Contemporary Music Ensemble, Ensemble SuperMusique, Upstream Orchestra, NOW Orchestra, Orkestra Futura, Grand groupe régional d’improvisation libérée (GGRIL), Queen Mab Trio, Crowbar Trio, Lott Dance, Oberlander Films, Foresite Theatre, Cooke Productions and Autumn Leaf Productions. Her solo works have been presented internationally (Croatia, Romania, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Cyprus, France, The Netherlands, USA) and she has received various performance invitations from organizations such as the Huddersfield Festival (UK), the International Society of Contemporary Music, the Gaudeamus Festival (Holland), The Loft (Germany), Radio France, Flâneries musicales de Reims and Théâtre Garonne (France), Rai Radio (Italy), Redcat Theater, Roulette and The Stone (USA). In 2017 she was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada for “outstanding artistic achievement,” twenty years after having received the Freddie Stone Award (1998) for the “demonstration of outstanding leadership, integrity and excellence in the area of contemporary music and jazz.” Highlight collaborations have been with Joëlle Léandre, Mauricio Kagel, Rohan de Saram, Frances-Marie Uitti, Philippe Leroux, JACK Quartet, George Lewis, Helmut Lachenmann and Richard Barrett. Apart from her 2 newest solo cds Solor (AM) and Excess (Collection QB), her most recent feature recordings include On No On (Mode Records), Bridge (Collection QB), Plumb (Barnyard Records), 3 and À un moment donné (Ambiances Magnétiques), Huskless! (Artifact Music), See Saw and Thin Air (Wig).

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Lori Freedman

Toronto (Ontario, Canada), 1958

Residence: Montréal (Québec)

  • Composer
  • Performer (clarinet, bass clarinet)

freelorif@gmail.com

Associated Groups

On the Web

Lori Freedman [Photo: Martin Morissette, Victoriaville (Québec), May 15, 2014]
Lori Freedman [Photo: Martin Morissette, Victoriaville (Québec), May 15, 2014]
  • Lori Freedman, Nicolas Caloia [Montréal (Québec), April 14, 2018]
  • Back row: Michel F Côté; Catherine Tardif; Pierre-Luc Senécal; Danielle Palardy Roger; Maya Kuroki; Susanna Hood; Ida Toninato. Front row: Diane Labrosse; ; ; Gabriel Dharmoo; Kathy Kennedy; Elizabeth Lima; Jean Derome; Lori Freedman; Vergil Sharkya’. Joane Hétu, direction [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), October 6, 2017]
  • Back row: Michel F Côté; Catherine Tardif; Pierre-Luc Senécal; Danielle Palardy Roger; Maya Kuroki; Susanna Hood; Ida Toninato. Front row: ; ; Gabriel Dharmoo; Kathy Kennedy; Elizabeth Lima; Jean Derome; Lori Freedman; Vergil Sharkya’. Joane Hétu, direction [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), October 6, 2017]
  • Back row: Michel F Côté; Catherine Tardif; Pierre-Luc Senécal; Danielle Palardy Roger; Maya Kuroki; Susanna Hood; Ida Toninato. Front row: ; ; ; Gabriel Dharmoo; Kathy Kennedy; Elizabeth Lima; Jean Derome; Lori Freedman; Vergil Sharkya’. Joane Hétu, direction [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), October 6, 2017]
  • Ensemble SuperMusique, under the direction of Jean Derome, plays Résistances [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), March 16, 2017]
  • Ensemble SuperMusique plays Résistances under the direction of Jean Derome, Joane Hétu and Scott Thomson [Photo: Céline Côté, Montréal (Québec), March 16, 2017]
  • Left to right: Lori Freedman, Marilyn Lerner, Ig Henneman during the recording, in concert of the album Réunion [Photo: Lauren des Marteaux, Toronto (Ontario, Canada), December 2, 2016]
  • Left to right: Marilyn Lerner, Ig Henneman, Lori Freedman during the recording, in concert, of the album Réunion [Photo: Lauren des Marteaux, Toronto (Ontario, Canada), December 2, 2016]

Main Releases

Collection QB / CQB 1923 / 2019
Ambiances Magnétiques / AM 244 / 2018
Mode Records / MODE AVANT 16 / 2013
Collection QB / CQB 0909 / 2009
Barnyard Records / BR 0305 / 2008
3
Ambiances Magnétiques / AM 157 / 2006
Tour de bras / TDB 9002 / 2006
Wig / WIG 14 / 2006
Ambiances Magnétiques / AM 103 / 2002
Spool Music / SPL 111 / 2000
Artifact Music / ART 020 / 1999

In the Press

Lori Freedman / CCMC. The Music Gallery, Toronto ON, October 15

Tom Beedham, Exclaim!, October 16, 2015

The Music Gallery has come a long way since it was founded by the Canadian Creative Music Collective, or CCMC, in 1976. Now celebrating the launch of its 40th season of operation and tenth X Avant festival, it’s embracing the occasion as an opportunity to measure its legacy. Opening X Avant X with acts that performed at the Music Gallery in its earliest years, last night (October 15) audiences were granted performances from the legendary improv group that is still a part of the Music Gallery’s legal, incorporated name, and a regular that first performed there in the ’80s.

[…]

Lori Freedman started with a bang, but one that belonged to a school far away from the unrestricted calamity that preceded her. Stationed behind a music stand, Freedman proceeded into a new program titled The Virtuosity of Excess, carefully following sheet music, stomping on a kick drum and wailing in an operatic voice, eventually leaning into a contrabass clarinet to demonstrate some of the peculiar sounds that have earned her a following.

Freedman’s storied catalogue bounces between the worlds of improvised and composed music, so it can be confounding that her new program promises excess but consists of complicated compositions by the likes of Brian Ferneyhough, Richard Barrett, Raphael Cendo, Paulo Perezzani, Salvatore Sciarrino and Paul Steenhuisen. Freedman doesn’t take long unpacking it to reveal there’s no drought of excess to be found in this show, though.

She took minutes between some pieces to prepare sheet music intended to be followed as a tapestry spanning six music stands; toward the end of one lengthy piece, she removed her clarinet’s mouthpiece as if asking for premature applause, only to proceed to play into the instrument without it. Her third piece was a composition Paul Steenhuisen less than innocently crafted out of transcriptions based on what he heard in select recordings of Freedman’s improvisations.

So yes, The Virtuosity of Excess lives up to its name: There are excesses of quiet, excesses of noise, excesses of structure, excesses of discipline, excesses of postmodernist indulgence and, in the best way possible, excesses of Lori Freedman.

The Virtuosity of Excess lives up to its name…

La maturité de L’OFF Festival de jazz

Serge Truffaut, Le Devoir, May 24, 2008

Enfin! Bravo! Merci aux organisateurs de L’OFF Festival de Jazz de Montréal d’avoir accompli un retournement temporel. La neuvième édition de cet événement ne se tiendra pas simultanément à l’autre, le «gros», si l’on peut se permettre. Après s’être rendu compte que l’offre musicale se confondait avec hyperinflation au début de l’été, les responsables de l’Off ont décidé de devancer les dates. Bref, il se déroulera du 13 au 21 juin.

La deuxième modification apportée est géographique. Adieu le Patro Vys, bonjour le Dièse Onze, qui a ceci de bien qu’il est un club de jazz à l’année. Jazz et resto situé au 4115 A du boulevard Saint-Denis, pour être précis. Les autres points de chute sont les mêmes que ceux de l’édition antérieure: le Lion d’or et le Pub Saint-Ciboire. Auxquels s’ajoutent cette année…

… La Sala Rossa. Et là, si l’on peut dire, c’est l’autre bonne nouvelle de cette année. Voici de quoi il s’agit: les organisateurs de l’Off se sont associés à ceux du festival Suoni per il popolo, qui se tiendra du 1er au 30 juin. Cette alliance, selon les confidences de Jean-Jules Pilote, cheville ouvrière de l’Off, devrait s’étoffer au cours des prochaines années.

C’est à espérer. Car au cours des prochaines semaines, ce duo d’organisateurs va proposer deux spectacles à La Sala Rossa: le Sun Ra Arkestra, dont on a parlé la semaine dernière, le 14 juin, et le Barnyard Drama, le quartet Lauzier, Myhr, Martel, Tétreault ainsi que Gordon Allen le 15 juin. Prix du billet de Sun Ra: 25$, alors que celui du lendemain se détaille entre 14 et 16$.

Puisqu’on décline les histoires d’espèces sonnantes, il faut insister sur un fait économique fondamental. C’est sérieux, très sérieux même. Le rapport qualité/prix inhérent aux shows de l’Off est REMARQUABLE! Le coût d’entrée des spectacles à l’affiche du Dièse Onze est de 8$. Ceux du Pub Saint-Ciboire sont gratuits. Ceux du Lion d’or: 20$ en prévente ou 25$ à la porte pour deux shows ou 15$ pour celui débutant à 21h30. Pour les détails, on peut se renseigner au lofffestivaldejazz.com

Bon. Après lecture du programme, six des shows au Lion d’or sont à retenir: la Fanfare Pourpour, qui aura l’accordéoniste et chanteur suédois Lars Hollmer pour invité. Cette fanfare à la veine humoristique indéniable est toujours dirigée par l’immense Jean Derome. Quoi d’autre? Il suffit d’écouter leur album paru sur étiquette Ambiances Magnétiques pour s’apercevoir que les membres de cette grande formation excellent dans l’alchimie des folklores du monde.

Le 18 juin, le saxophoniste et clarinettiste Chet Doxas va proposer un spectacle propre à aiguiser toutes les curiosités: Le Mur de Jean-Paul Sartre. Doxas a composé une série de thèmes inspirés, donc, de ce chef-d’œuvre littéraire qu’il interprétera en compagnie de Stéphane Allard et Zoé Dumais aux violons, de Jean René à l’alto, de Sheila Hannigan au violoncelle, de Zack Lober à la contrebasse, de son frère Jim à la batterie, tous sous la direction de Jon Sapoway.

Le même soir, mais après Doxas, les musiciens phares des labels DAME et Ambiances Magnétiques vont occuper la scène pour improviser à tout va. Autour de Derome, on retrouvera Joanne Hétu au saxo, Charity Chan au piano, Diane Labrosse à l’échantillonnage, Lori Freedman à la clarinette basse, Guido Del Fabbro au violon, Rainer Wiens à la guitare et l’incontournable Pierre Tanguay à la batterie.

Le 20 juin, le très courageux, le musicien essentiel, le contrebassiste battant Normand Guilbeault va décliner ses compositions retraçant la vie de Louis Riel. Il sera flanqué de quatorze musiciens, narrateurs et projectionnistes. C’est au Lion d’or le 20 juin à 20h. La veille, au même endroit, on aura droit à l’accouplement jazz et poésie avec José Acquelin, Renée Gagnon, Hélène Monette, Carole David et Jean-Marc Desgent.

Enfin, le 21 juin, l’affiche est alléchante parce que… parce que… le saxophoniste Janis Steprans a réuni trois autres saxos autour de lui pour clôturer cette 9e édition. André Leroux sera au soprano, David Bellemare au ténor, Jean Fréchette au baryton et Steprans, bien entendu, à l’alto. Simon Lévesque à la contrebasse et Dave Laing à la batterie vont rythmer le tout.

Les billets sont en vente à L’Oblique, à L’Échange, à L’Articulée ainsi qu’à la Casa Del Popolo et à Cheap Thrills pour les shows du 14 et du 15 juin.

Héroïque Lori!

Claude Gingras, La Presse, August 19, 2007

Invitée vendredi soir au petit festival Jusqu’aux oreilles, Lori Freedman a «navigué» avec une héroïque aisance et une alerte musicalité entre quatre modèles différents de clarinettes, pendant une pleine heure, sans pause, seule devant ses feuilles de musique et une cinquantaine de personnes entassées dans le chœur de la cathédrale anglicane.

Elle nous a d’abord présenté la rarissime — et encombrante — clarinette contrebasse, qui possède quatre octaves, des notes parmi les plus profondes de toute l’échelle musicale et des timbres rauques évoquant les rugissements de quelque bête sauvage — autant de caractéristiques réunies dans une pièce de Gérard Grisey se terminant sur des sons mystérieusement espacés et parfois à peine audibles.

La plus familière clarinette basse était illustrée par trois autres compositeurs. De Giacinto Scelsi, une page rapide et plus simple que ce qui précédait. De Georges Aperghis — et bien dans l’esprit de cet homme plein d’imagination —, des attaques violentes, des couacs voulus, des timbres qui suggèrent deux instruments différents, des effets de voix humaine. De Pascal Dusapin, des sons haletants, très aigus puis très graves, qui courent sur tout l’ambitus de l’instrument.

L’absolu contrôle maintenu jusque-là, la Montréalaise l’applique ensuite à la traditionnelle clarinette en si bémol et une autre pièce d’Aperghis, intitulée 280 mesures, où, cette fois, elle doit pousser quelques cris en jouant, produire des multiphoniques, passer instantanément d’une couleur à une autre et exécuter glissandos et sauts périlleux.

Elle termine avec une clarinette en do et une improvisation de six minutes, sorte de brillant résumé de tout ce qu’elle vient de faire.

… une héroïque aisance et une alerte musicalité…

The Music of Movement

Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail, August 11, 2007

Classical music as we know it only came into its own when people stopped moving or talking while listening to music derived from dancing and the performance of ritual. The repressed movement behind the sounds is still evident in terms such as andante (which indicates a walking pace) and passacaglia, which comes from the Spanish for strolling in the street.

So what happens when that kind of music is reanimated with dance, and thrown back into the street, or at least very near one? Thursday’s show at the Music Garden was all about finding out.

The Music Garden is a leafy retreat sandwiched between Queen’s Quay and a waterfront walking trail. Violinist Linda Melsted, dancer Julia Sasso and bass clarinetist Lori Freedman convened there in front of an attentive crowd to expose a passacaglia by Heinrich Biber to the wind, the passersby (including a very curious Great Dane) and to Sasso’s and Freedman’s choreographed and improvised responses.

The passacaglia as a form seems to have originated as a guitar vamp between verses of a song, probably as support for a few dance steps. By the time Biber got hold of it in the late 17th century, it had become a way of showing off one’s ability to spin melodic variations over a repetitive bass line.

We know from the difficulty of his music that Biber was an ace violinist, and not afraid to show it. His passacaglia is a real virtuoso piece, which I was almost sorry not to hear first as a completely solo item. Melsted is a fluent and sensitive violinist, and the piece rippled easily from under her fingers. But as Sasso started to dance, the novelty of seeing someone move to such a rigorously centripetal piece made it hard to notice everything Melsted was up to.

Sasso, beginning from a seated position on a rock, laid out her vocabulary in the opening minutes, in a series of clear, poised movements that flowed together into phrases or seemed to throw queries back at the music. She followed her own rhythm, not necessarily becoming more animated as the music flew into speedy elaborations. I got the feeling she was engaging Biber’s work not as a finished thing, but as something permeable and alive.

Periodically, she would walk back to her rock, and each time that walking gained resonance from everything that had happened. It was an explicit way of acting out the genre’s origins, of responding to Biber’s ground bass, and of gracefully reintegrating his rarified music into the kinetic patterns of ordinary life.

Freedman’s solo improvisation began with a deep guttural growl that also seemed to stem from the passacaglia’s bass obsession, and that fit pretty well with the throb of a passing helicopter. Her spiky, gestural sounds chipped and scraped at the edge of pitches, often slithering away as if she were playing an unkeyed instrument, like a trombone or violin. Her performance was an engrossing mixture of the sharp and the smooth; even when she attacked the sound hard, it often had a smudgy, evasive appearance.

She and Sasso closed the show with a long joint improv, built partially from their responses to the Biber, but also quite evidently from what they got from each other. Freedman threw out little mottoes from different spots around the stepped audience area (perhaps recalling Biber’s music-in-the-round experiments in Salzburg), before playing a more continuous music that included a virtuoso section for mouthpiece alone. Sasso reprised part of her Biber choreography en bloc, and at one point made a witty leap over the low cord separating her space from the audience, as if to show that no formal barrier was going to get in her way.

All in all, it was an intriguing experiment that stopped a number of passersby in their tracks. As we know from the experience of the past few centuries, classical music has a way of doing that.

Classical music as we know it only came into its own when people stopped moving or talking while listening to music derived from dancing and the performance of ritual. The repressed movement behind the sounds is still evident in terms such as andante (which indicates a walking pace) and passacaglia, which comes from the Spanish for strolling in the street.

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