Edmonton Transcultural Orchestra

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short link: http://bit.ly/edtror

The new Edmonton Transcultural Orchestra (ETO) seeks to bridge the constructed "cultural" divides that appear to separate people from each other. "Culture" is too often a construction of special interests - nation states, political parties, religious groups - in search of power or money. Such "cultures" are rendered artificially discrete, according to context (e.g. "Chinese" culture doesn't appear the same from France or Beijing).

In reality "culture" is an attribute of individuals, not groups; we all share in multiple "cultures"; what we share is more than what divides us; even that which divides us is not different sortings into separable, homogeneous groupings but rather into overlapping, heterogeneous, fuzzily-bounded sets. Every culture has its subcultures, and no boundaries are clearly visible. Culture is not a countable noun - it's a continuous flow and a perspectival landscape; there is only "culture" not "cultures"; what we consider a "culture" is a continuous semantic web - any boundaries are only apparent. We are all connected, and multiply. And we are all unique.

The ETO demonstrates these linkages among all humanity in two ways: (1) socially, in the group itself, which is diverse, in backgrounds, languages, ages; crossing boundaries of all sorts - including university students, staff, and faculty as well as the broader community, and (2) musically, by highlighting the flow of music through people, via continuous performances connecting diverse regions and societies around the world.

The ETO is committed to representing and creating connections above and beyond perceptions of individual "cultures", imagined to be separable, countable bubbles ("Chinese culture", "Arab culture", "Norwegian culture"...). Rather, in our view, culture is individual - we're all culturally unique, just as we're genetically unique -- and at the same time culture is pan-human: it connects us all. There is no way to separate any one culture from another, and "cultures" are not internally homogeneous, because too much is shared, and all is in motion. We transcend "culture" considered as a countable noun to create a more general cultural flow.

The group, ETO, expresses these ideas - transcending "culture" - in two ways. Socially, we aim to represent our community, drawing membership from every corner, in all its diversity, transcending rather than reinforcing boundaries in our performances. Musically, we focus on the idea that music crosses boundaries, just like we do, and erases them in the process - we look for melodies and sounds that have traveled, and invent new ones that will travel in the future.

Music is such a powerful tool for connection and understanding. Please join us!

Upcoming performances:

Past performances:

Anyone is welcome as performer or listener or both; please contact Michael Frishkopf for more.