Clapping Music at Parkdale! Inspired by the Legendary Steve Reich

April 14, 2016 | Miriam

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Steve-Re_1891275bAll this week, musical Toronto has been buzzing because the legendary composer/musician Steve Reich is in town. He's on the cover of The Whole Note this month, and he's gotten big play in both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. Tonight he'll be at Massey Hall -- last night he was at the Toronto Public Library's Appel Salon with the internationally renowned artist Michael Snow.

If you can't make it to Massey Hall or if you missed the Salon event, you can still get in on the action because at the Parkdale Branch Auditorium, Wednesday, April 20, 7 pm, we are hosting a remarkable cultural event under the auspices of Soundstream (the music organization that brought Reich to Toronto), and part of their wonderful, participatory Soundstreams Salon 21 series. We cannot, alas, keep Steve Reich in town, but we can offer an opportunity for music lovers to be part of the creation of a musical event. 

Clapping Music

Here is a unique opportunity to learn a popular piece of minimalist music and make musical history! Join us as at Parkdale next Wednesday, 7 pm, and get in on the act -- perform Steve Reich’s Clapping Music in an 80-person ensemble in celebration of his 80th birthday. All you need is curiosity and the ability to clap your hands -- prepare yourself for some real fun!

Reich explains why he wrote this piece, composed in 1972: "Late in 1971 I composed Clapping Music out of a desire to create a piece of music that would need no instruments at all beyond the human body."


Here's an illustration of the score, signed by Reich. There were no smart phones back then, but today, you can get a Clapping Music app and teach yourself Reich's music. It's a great way to learn rhythm, too. 

Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library

This Soundstreams Salon 21 program is just one of many exciting musical programs at Parkdale this spring. The Parkdale Branch has always been a great community hub, and with the opening of the new Musical Instrument Lending Library, the branch is taking it up a notch. If you come to Clapping Music (don't be shy!), this is a great opportunity to learn more about the Musical Instrument Lending Library.

Herd of colored ukelesSpread the word, and tell people that if they have any working musical instruments (e.g., we don't yet have any sitars), take it down to Parkdale. The demand for the instruments is huge -- predictably -- and many, many more are needed. I waited 24 hours after the opening to try to grab a violin, to no avail. But I'll be back!