Queer Arts Festival is presenting a free performance of Cris Derksen’s landmark Orchestral Powwow this Saturday, June 24 at 7pm in the Roundhouse Turntable Plaza at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Yaletown. The Canadian Music Centre in BC is proud to be a Community Partner of Queer Arts Festival, and to have the opportunity to co-present this groundbreaking performance with them.

Twenty-one artists, including Composer & Cellist Cris Derksen, The Chippewa Travellers, the Allegra Chamber Orchestra, Hoop Dancer Nimkii Osawamick, and percussionist Jesse Baird, will perform the Juno-nominated composition. Derksen’s work integrates Western classical and traditional Indigenous Powwow music.

Classically-trained Allegra Chamber Orchestra will follow the lead of The Chippewa Travellers’ Powwow drum In this choreographed chamber symphony, as they create new forms of music bringing Indigenous music to the centre of the European model.

‘I have always been interested in the intersections of the contemporary and the traditional art forms, music, visual arts, fashion, writing, theater all move forward through these intersections of trying to explain the human condition in new ways by pushing the old in new directions. The Orchestral Powwow Project is just that, using older classical tools with Powwow groups is a way I can express the intersections between the old and the new. It brings together both parts of who I am as a Half-Cree, Half- Mennonite Classically Trained Cellist. What excites me most about this project is bringing our Aboriginal music to the center of the European model and we as aboriginal artists lead the way with our drums and our heart beat to create new forms of music.’

— Cris Derksen