bemused 1.jpgWhat lies in the murky depths below? Scientists have better maps of Mars than they do of the ocean that covers 70% of our planet, and composers from Debussy to Herbie Hancock have found inspiration from what lies in and below the deep blue seas.

The Spectrum composers create new pieces based on some of Earth’s most out-of-this-world species, a myriad of unusual geographic features, and even lost historical artifacts. This newly-minted music will be brought to life by the eclectic Shaw Street Collective. Shannon Graham’s piece “Azulada” will have it’s world premiere, as it evokes the mystery and joy of experiencing the ocean.

Saturday November 12, 2016
Alliance Franciase Theatre, 24 Spadina Rd
Tickets: $15 general/$10 student/senior/arts worker

Buy tickets here


Azulada by Shannon Graham
A Meeting with Poseidon by Chelsea McBride
The Nine Daughters of Aegir by Edwin Sheard
Behind the Waves by Jessica Stuart
La Sirena (Ventura) by Jay Vazquez
The Gold Coast by Mason Victoria

The Shaw Street Collective is:

Anthony Savidge- Marimba
Emma Rowlandson-O’Hara- Trumpet
Mikolaj Debowski- Trombone
Alyssa Ramsay- Cello

Learn more about Spectrum’s season:


Toronto’s most formidable saxophone quartet will be performing at the Music Gallery’s X Avant Festival, opening for Sarah Neufeld: The Ridge on Saturday Oct 15th, 2016. The program will contain all original music from it’s members including the premiere of a new piece by Shannon.

For more information or to buy tickets visit

With equal parts jazz-trained and classically-trained saxophonists, Dialectica attempts to find an aesthetic truth through the discourse of these two musical points of view, akin to the Dialectic method of philosophy found in Plato’s Socratic Dialogues.

Tackling philosophical inquiries even Socrates himself couldn’t foresee:

Can a current Canadian identity be found where the lineages of European art music and North American art music meet?

Can the saxophone occupy a space in the collective unconscious that lies beyond that of Careless Whisper and Baker Street?

Can the world handle more than one female saxophonist in one place?



Stereoscope (saxophone duo of Olivia Shortt and Jacob Armstrong) is premiering  Shannon’s piece written specifically for them called “Unconscious Conflict” on Thursday June 23, 2016. The piece, for alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, and voice evokes the constant battle between the Id and the Super-ego (dueling saxophones) while the Ego (voice) is caught in the middle of an unconscious conflict. Original text  for the piece was written by Jay Vazquez.

Unconscious Conflict
I There exists an unconscious, the invisible puppet master
II The Id demands and the Super-ego punishes
III The neurotic Ego is caught in the middle of an unconscious conflict

Performance Details:
The Toronto Creative Music Lab presents: The art of moving and grooving/ Dance like no one is watching.
Burdock Music Hall: 1184 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N2
7:30 pm
Tickets $10/$5
See the facebook event

13340167_1220804374598851_7822632932667399603_oSpectrum Music concluded it’s fifth season on Saturday June 4th, with Tower of Babel, a concert featuring new music inspired by interpretations of the ancient story. Spectrum was happy to host guest musical director Noam Lemish (piano), international guest artist Amos Hoffman (guitar and oud), as well as Peter Lutek (reeds), Justin Gray (bass), and Derek Gray (drums and percussion).

Shannon Graham’s piece “Heaven On Earth” featured an instrument more often found in a Zen Buddhist temple than on a concert stage: the hauntingly beautiful Tibetan singing bowls (performed by Derek Gray- pictured below).

To stay informed of Spectrum’s future events, including an exciting 2016-2017 season starting in the fall like them on facebook.



4.pngA symbol of both universal oneness and division, the iconic story of the Tower of Babel is a common thread in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish religious texts. All people united to build a tower that reached the sky, but God intervened, fracturing them with incommunicable language barriers.The story attempts to explain or describe the historic division of the human race into language and culture groups.

Can this ancient story shed light on the plight of divisive modern nation states and religious groups? Can it remind us that the sky itself is truly the limit if we can overcome our per-ceived differences? Spectrum uses this musical retelling to traverse and celebrate cultural and religious diversity.
Saturday, June 4
Alliance Française de Toronto  [map] (Bloor & Spadina)
7:15 pm pre-concert chat
8:00 pm concert

$15 general, $10 students/seniors/art workers

Amos Hoffman – oud, guitar
Noam Lemish – guest musical director, piano
Peter Lutek – C clarinet, bassoon
Justin Gray – basses
Derek Gray – percussion


Join us early for a pre-show chat with musical director Noam Lemish about Tower of Babel: Interpretations and Implications for the 20th Century. Featuring a panel of experts in theology, international relations, and religious law.

This concert will present new pieces by Spectrum composers:
Shannon Graham, “Heaven on Earth”
Chelsea McBride, “Sky High Visions”
Graham Campbell, “Rural Brewery”
Jay Vazquez, “Shinar”
As well as new works by guest composers Nathan Marsh, Amos Hoffman and Noam Lemish.

Come indulge in some healthy escapism for an enchanting and enriching evening of music and literature. Spectrum invites you to step “through the wardrobe” to some of literature’s most beloved and fantastical lands. Enter the gritty dystopian world of Infinite Jest, in a suite composed by Brad Cheeseman in homage to the modern masterwork by David Foster Wallace. Narnia, Middle Earth, Oceania, and Westeros will be stops on the itinerary as the members of Spectrum along with other guest composers depict fictitious realms and -topias from the seminal works of modern literature.

Saturday Feb 6th 2016. Alliance Francaise Theatre (24 Spadina Rd)  
8pm Concert


Nick Fraser – Drums
Tara Davidson – Alto/Soprano Saxophone
Shannon Graham – Tenor Saxophone
Aidan Sibley – Trombone
Thom Gill – Guitar
Brad Cheeseman – Electric Bass
Juan Olivares – Clarinet/Bass Clarinet

A taste of what to look forward to from the last Spectrum concert, Tracing One Warm Line:

Spectrum Music premiered a program of new music for Ozere chamber folk ensemble on Saturday Nov 14th in their concert “Tracing One Warm Line”. The program included Shannon Graham’s piece, co-written with Javier Vazquez, “Woman With Many Names”.  Ozere performed the Spectrum composers new works beautifully to an attentive audience, and singer/songwriter Alex Lukashevsky led everyone in a sing along of Stan Roger’s Northwest Passage to close the show!

Ozere soundcheck

About Woman With Many Names

La Malinche was an Indigenous woman who translated for the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes, helping him overthrow the Aztec empire in 1521. After her death, she was named La Malinche, and became a symbol for the betrayal of one’s own people and culture. However, as more time passed, historians and artists began to see her with more complexity. This piece will portray each one of her names (La Malinche the traitor, Malintzin the victim, Dona Marina the lover, and Malinalli the survivor) to pose the question: does the history of an individual’s life have an end?

9_Woman 3 lover

Dialectica 4Dialectica performed their unique blend of jazz, classical, and pop music for saxophone on Wednesday Oct 14 at The Emmet Ray. New music rubbed elbows with a sea shanty, country dance, and mambo in an eclectic set!

Learn more about Dialectica.

Shannon Graham’s Saxophone Quartet- Movement 1 “Starry Night”