Hammerhead Consort is a two-piano, two-percussion ensemble formed in 1990, and shortly thereafter, won the 1991 CIBC National Music Competition. Their lineup includes Corey Hamm and Haley Simons (pianos), and Trevor Brandenburg and Darren Salyn (percussion). In their short history, the group has already amassed a distinguished list of awards and prizes, including the Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation (1992), Best Classical Recording from the Alberta Recording Industry Association (1993, for their debut Arktos Recordings CD), and grant awards from the CBC, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canada Council and others.
Another facet of Hammerhead Consort's mandate has been the commissioning of works for their unique instrumental combination. Their second Arktos Recordings CD, Traffic (1999), includes several works written expressly for Hammerhead Consort (including the title track, written by Winnipeg composer David Scott), and has won critical acclaim (4 stars out of 5, Vancouver Sun). Consort concerts have won great critical and public plaudits, whether at events such as the Edmonton New Music Festival, the rESOund Festival of Contemporary Music, or at self-presented events.
To date, the consort has commissioned more than 30 pieces of music. But if Hammerhead Consort's first years have been auspicious, 2000 holds tremendous excitement. More new works have been written for them - including the exciting concept of a concerto expressly written for two pianos, percussion and orchestra - a first in music. This new piece has been commissioned by Hammerhead Consort (with the generous support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the CBC) by noted Canadian composer Howard Bashaw. The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is already committed to presenting the world debut of Howard Bashaw's Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra on March 1, 2000 at the finals of the Canadian Concerto Competition to be held at Edmonton's Winspear Centre.
2000 began with a bang for Hammerhead Consort - their first appearance at the world-renowned Winnipeg New Music Festival in February was a critical and popular success, in a stand-alone concert of works by Kim Helweg, David Scott, Howard Bashaw, Jim Harley and Lukas Foss. "Superb and "tour de force" were words used in reviews of the event, and "just under 1,000 noisy fans" (Winnipeg Sun) were in attendance.
Projects in the offing for the summer of 2000 include a recording project with Edmonton professional choir Pro Coro Canada. The CD is to include the stirring, yet undeservedly little-known chamber music version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Hammerhead Consort will also be presenting this work in concert with Pro Coro at the International Symposium of Music Educators (ISME) Conference in Edmonton in July.
Hammerhead Consort has also been asked to appear at the World Saxophone Congress in July, 2000 in Montreal. Composer Charles Stolte is writing a new work for saxophone quartet and the Hammerhead Consort's unique instrumental combination.
how to listen?