Monday, September 14, 2015

Calendar at a glance:

Septembre 12-October 3: Workshop & Concert with Ellwood Epps
October 4: Workshop with Joe Morris: ''Properties of Free Music''
October 11: Workshop with Peter Valsamis & Yves Charuest ''Polyphonic and rhythmic awareness in collective improvisation with drums''

Detailed information on all workshops appears below.

October 4: Workshop with Joe Morris: ''The properties of Free Music''

                                                                                                 (photo by Rob Miller)

''The most profound improvisors at work in the U.S." -Will Montgomery, The Wire

This workshop is a co-presentation with the Off Festival de Jazz, Tour de Bras, and La Passe. Joe will be performing as part of the Off festival on October 5 at La Vitrola at 8pm.

A workshop with American guitarist Joe Morris, open to all instruments, levels and disciplines. Participants should bring their instrument. This workshop will address specific tools relating to melodic structure, rhythmic expression, and group interplay. This workshop will be presented in English.

A highly original voice on the electric guitar, Joe Morris has had a long and hard-working career in improvised music. He has made nearly 50 records as leader, and even more as a sideman, and has performed with Joe Maneri, David S. Ware, and Malcolm Goldstein. He also teaches at the New England Conservatory and curates the Improvisations:Arcade concert series.

Sunday October 4, 2-4pm
La Passe, 1214 de la Montagne
The number of participants will be limited. To sign up, send an email to

October 11: Peter Valsamis and Yves Charuest: Polyphonic and rhythmic awareness in collective improvisation with drums

This workshop is a copresentation with l'Off Festival de Jazz and La Passe. Peter and Yves perform at the festival on October 8th at Résonance Café at 8pm. 

The topics covered in this workshop will include polyrhythms, polymeters and rhythmic awareness and their relation to the polyphony in collective improvisation (linear/gestural/melodic playing), and non-hierarchical ways of listening to the relations between the instruments in the context of collective improvisation.

Peter Valsamis, drums
Born in Montreal, Peter Valsamis plays drums and percussion and also works with computer. Now based in Los Angeles, California, Valsamis continues to nurture a wide range of interests. As a drummer, he has presented his music to concert audiences in Europe, Asia and North America, performing with Steve Lacy, Cecil Taylor, Marco Eneidi, Lisle Ellis, Bern Nix, Don Preston, Dana Reason, and Glen Moore. He has performed at many jazz and music festivals, including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Victoriaville, Sibiu, South by Southwest, and High Sierra.

Valsamis is also an accomplished dumbek player, performing frequently with various Middle Eastern ensembles in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Valsamis’ studio endeavors include soundtracks and sound design for films and games, as well as music production and engineering. Valsamis received his M.F.A. in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, where he studied with Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, William Winant, and Leo Smith.

Yves Charuest
Canadian saxophonist Yves Charuest has worked on the jazz and new music scene in the 1980-90s with many canadian musicians such as Michel Ratté, Jean Beaudet, Guillaume Dostaler, Lisle Ellis and Jean Derome, in different groups and projects. He was also a member of the Peter Kowald Trio (1985-1990) with Louis Moholo, with whom he played extensively in Europe and in the USA, and played with William Parker, John Betsch and Mathias Schubert.

More recently, Charuest has been involved on many projects with the following ensembles: Duo Charuest-Caloia, Murray Street Band, Ratchet Orchestra, The Disguises, Charuest/Shalabi/Caloia, Four-sided Circle and Still as well as with Nicolas Caloia, Ellwood Epps, Agustí Fernández, Lori Freedman, William Parker, Sam Shalabi, Scott Thomson, Peter Valsamis and Josh Zubot. Charuest does also solo work and collaborates with choreograph Susanna Hood and dancer Alanna Kraaijeveld.

Sunday October 11, 2-4pm
La Passe, 1214 de la Montagne
The number of participants is limited. To sign up, send an email to

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Autumn session starts September 12!

A practical approach to group improvisation
with teacher Ellwood Epps
Saturdays, September 12, 19, 26 + October 3, 2-4pm
with concert October 3 @ 9pm.
To sign up, please send an email to

Come join this unique workshop where you'll unleash your creative spirit and develop skills as an improvising musician!

What is improvisation? Where do we begin? What do we listen for and how do we evaluate what we are playing? Over four Saturday afternoons we'll address these questions through exercises and discussions focusing on listening, developing musical materials in our own style, and investigating strategies and forms for making music. Then we'll invite our friends and present an informal concert as a way of celebrating what we've learned and experienced together.

The workshop is a great way to meet other musicians and to gain confidence in your creativity. As an ensemble we encourage, challenge, and inspire each other to make music that we can all call our own. Come expand your horizons and get your creativity flowing in a positive and encouraging environment!

All are welcome, no matter what instrument you play, how long you've been playing, or what style of music you might play. This four-day workshop is about making music together in real time.

About the teacher:
Trumpeter Ellwood Epps has directed the Studio d'Improvisation since 2009. He performs across North America with improvisers including William Parker, Steve Lacy, Lori Freedman, and Henry Grimes, and can be heard on 60 recordings. Ellwood has shared his experiences and insights with hundreds of students across Canada. His dedication to sharing knowledge and creating a positive, creative environment in his workshops make the SIM an open door to creativity for amateur and professional musicians alike.

Practical details:
The workshop and concert will take place at La Passe (1214 de la Montagne), a beautiful concert space and an important nerve center of Montreal's creative music scene. Piano, drums, and p.a. system will be provided on-site.

The workshop will be in both French and English, depending on the needs of participants.

The cost of the workshop is 
$100. The price includes all four afternoons and the concert.

One position of helper-participant is available. In exchange for some simple work, this person will be able to take the workshop free of charge. Please inquire if you feel this would make it possible for you to participate.

To watch some videos of a SIM concert, follow these links:

For info on Ellwood Epps, go to

''I love these workshops where we can explore and develop with others and with complete freedom our own freely improvised music.''
-Isabel Serra, saxophonist

'' The workshop has been a great experience in the foundations of improvisation, listening, response, sensitivity, sounds etc. Ellwood thank you again for this great experience and inspiration during these workshops.''
-Francois Corbeil, trumpeter

''A space of sound experimentation, boundary breaking and the bending of preconceived notions ...A great class to step outside the box.''
-Tarek Burgan, guitarist

''The worshop with Ellwood Epps was a way for me to try something new with my voice.''
-Vincent Bergeron, vocalist