Recently, I had the unalloyed privilege of performing a new piece I was commissioned to write specially for the occasion of the official opening ceremony of the new Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (Halifax, Nova Scotia). The performance date was June 25th 2015, almost ten years to the day that I myself arrived in Canada as an immigrant. As one can imagine, it is impossible to separate the personal from the artistic in a project such as this; despite its simplicity and brevity, arguably the most meaningful commission I have ever received.
I was asked to write something I could perform myself, on piano, but given the nature of the event I felt it appropriate to include a non-Western instrument. In this case I chose the Oud, the beautiful Middle Eastern cousin of the European Lute. Appropriately too, I decided to name the piece, simply: ‘Homecoming’. To watch/listen to the performance, also featuring my dear colleague Daniel MacNeil, visit the link below and scroll to approx. 8 mins. in the video that is part three of the opening ceremony:
The new museum, by the way, is seriously worth a visit. It is a worthy testament to the profundity of how this country has been shaped over time by people from all over the world.