The Speaking Violist

On January 28, 2021, we recorded a virtual-lecture recital featuring the premiere of The Speaking Violist. Our guest speaker, Susan Holbrook, discusses the various areas of compositional interest (such as concrete poetry and constrained writing) that shaped the writing of Memos, and will also perform readings from her own work. Following the lecture, violist Susan Sayle performs The Speaking Violist, which consists of Memos set to music by composer Matthew David Becker.

This event was made possible thanks in part to ConneXions, an initiative by the Canadian New Music Network.

Susan Holbrook’s poetry books are the Governor General’s Award-nominated and Trillium Book Award-nominated Throaty Wipes (Coach House 2016), Joy Is So Exhausting (Coach House 2009),which wasshortlisted for the Trillium Award for Poetry, and misled (Red Deer 1999), which was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award.  She teaches North American literatures and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. With Thomas Dilworth she edited The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson: Composition as Conversation (Oxford U P, 2010). Her textbook How to Read (and Write About) Poetry was released in 2015 (Broadview), and in 2017 she edited Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems of Daphne Marlatt (Talonbooks).

Susan Sayle received her musical training in her hometown of Victoria and at McGill University where she studied with Steven Kondaks and earned a Bachelor of Music degree (with honours) in performance. A violist in Symphony Nova Scotia since 1986, Susan was appointed Principal Viola in 1994. During her time in Halifax, Susan has made her mark as a performer playing with the Dalhousie Chamber Players, Artemis (Toronto), St. Cecilia Concert Series, Indian River Festival, Concerts aux Isle du Bic (Rimouski), Barachois Summer Music, New Brunswick Summer Music Festival, Connexions Culturelles (France) and many times as soloist with SNS. Susan has taught at Dalhousie University and has been an Adjudicator for the Charlottetown and Kings county music festivals. Over the years, Susan has been frequently broadcast on CBC Radio and can also be heard on many recordings and film scores. She spends her summers in Charlottetown PEI playing with the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra.