Birds of Paradise from Vancouver at Open Waters Festival '18
Singapore composer, new instrument creator Dirk Stromberg performs at Open Waters Festival '18
Transatlantic Zodiac at the Open Waters Festival '18
To Dream of Silence at Halifax Music Coop OWF '18
Maureen Batt performs at Open Waters Festival '18
Fifth Wind performs at Open Waters Festival '18
Upstream Ensemble at Open Waters Festival '17 in the Dunn Theatre

RECAP: Open Waters Festival 2018


Thank you to everyone who took part in Open Waters Festival 2018!  To the people working behind the scenes, our audience and of course, our amazing performers, we thank you for the bottom of our hearts.  With over 20 performances, this was our biggest festival to date!  We look forward to next year's festival!

View Open Waters Festival Photo Album

Lukas Pearse                           Gay Hauser
Artistic Director                      Administrator

Welcome to Upstream Music!

For over 27 years, the Upstream Music Association has been creating pan-genre orchestral nujazz, beyond classical, cyber world, experimental music improvisation, composition & conduction ensembles, concert series, festivals, recordings, workshops and symposia in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Open Waters Festival '18

Dalhousie Arts Centre, The Marquee Club, King's College, Halifax Central Library
Festival Passes $60, Adults $25, Seniors $20, Students $15. Afternoons and late night $10
Friday, January 5, 2018 - 7:30pm to Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 11:00pm

Never the same river twice… Open Waters Festival celebrates the flow of new and surprising music. While water brings life, music enlivens life, especially live music. Rivers of improvisation run through many traditions, and we celebrate where these meet at Open Waters Festival of new and improvised music. 

Upstream Music Association brings together musicians and presenters of varied facets of contemporary music, each united by being up-river from the main stream, and with a common spirit of exploration of the new and a celebration of the unknown.

We are pleased to present these artists, each different from one another, yet who all share this path of searching. 

Five Halifax locations, 20 extraordinary events.  

Festival Pass $60

Friday, Jan. 5, Day Pass - Adults $25, Seniors $20 & Students $15
New Hermitage - 7:30pm Dunn Theatre
Fifth Wind - 8:30pm Dunn Theatre
Jason Sharp - 10:00pm Marquee Club

Saturday, Jan. 6, Day Pass - Adults $25, Seniors $20 & Students $15
Talk-Back - 12pm, Maureen Batt - 2:00pm, Tristan DeBorba - 2:35pm, MAC - 3:00pm, all at MacAloney Room
suddenlyLISTEN - 7:30pm, Thundermakers - 9:00pm, all at Dunn Theatre
Jeri Brown - 10pm, Transatlantic Zodiac all at the Marquee Club

Sunday, Jan. 7, Day Pass - Adults $25, Seniors $20 & Students $15
Simon Docking & Tim Crofts - 2:00PM, Trio Pupo - 3:00PM, all at MacAloney Room
Vocalypse Productions - 7:30PM, at the Dunn
Upstream Quartet - 10PM, Open Company - 11:00 PM, both at the Marquee Club.

Monday, Jan. 8, Day Pass - Adults $25, Seniors $20 & Students $15
Dalhousie Ensemble Composers - 7:30pm, Dalhousie Improv. Ensemble - 8:15pm, Birds of Paradise - 9:25pm, all at the Dunn Theatre.

Tuesday, Jan. 9 - Individual Ticket
To Dream of Silence - 8pm at the Halifax Music Coop

Wednesday, Jan. 10 - Individual Ticket
Metropolis - 7pm at King's College Alumni Hall

Get your festival pass or tickets now at or contact us.

Upstream Ensemble - New Directions

Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts
$25 Adults, $20 Seniors, $15 Students
Sunday, November 5, 2017 - 8:00pm to 10:00pm



New Directions! New Music! New Compositions!

The flagship group of Upstream, following the vision outlined in 1992 of an ensemble of improvising composers, the rejuvenated Ensemble charts new courses into the skillful unknown, boasting some of the most accomplished creative musicians in our port.

This concert will feature a new work by each member of the Ensemble, each exploring the dynamic between the literate score and the intuitively improvised.  

With members drawn from the jazz, classical, pop, folk and experimental music scenes in Halifax, and each with a distinct vocabulary of improvisation,  the combined energies of this group offer a stunning range of musical horizons

Featuring: Lukas Pearse, Dawn Hatfield, Geordie Haley, Tim Crofts, Devin Wesley, Jeff Reilly, Doug Cameron, Andrew MacKelvie, Andrew Jackson and Donald MacLennan