Instruments of Happiness With Upstream Guitar Ensemble

Maritime Conservatory for Performing Arts - 6199 Chebucto Road, Halifax
Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 8:00pm to 9:30pm
$25 for Adults, $20 for Seniors, $15 for Students

Instruments of Happiness – who we are, why we do it, what we’ve done

I have played guitar for 46 years, electric guitar for 41 years. My interest in the instrument really began on February 9th, 1964, when The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show for the first time.  The guitar (and the music) is created to make us happy, sad, contemplative, ecstatic…frankly, one is never indifferent in the face of music. According to my favourite guitar manufacturer, the legendary Robert Godin, you can never be sad with a guitar in your hands.  Absolutely, the guitar is an “instrument of happiness”, hence the name for this new ensemble “Instruments of Happiness”.

For almost the past 30 years I have been exploring a new approach to the electric guitar a vision as both a composer and a guitarist.  It is a vision which does not ignore my roots in jazz, blues, rock and noise, but a vision which seeks to extend the boundaries of the electric guitar, incorporating chamber music, electroacoustics, orchestral music, opera, etc. “Instruments of Happiness” is, to a great extent, the next step in this evolution.

Instruments of Happiness is clearly obsessed with the electric guitar.  We only have electric guitar on stage, and we hope guitarists will find some sympathetic resonance with our concerts.  However, we also hope to move beyond the guitar, creating new projects and concerts that are unique, imaginative and passionate musical events, all prepared with the greatest care for the quality of sound and the performance of the music.  We hope to be not just guitarists, but musicians.  We hope to bring you some happiness with our instruments.

Instruments of Happiness come in three sizes: the chamber quartet, the 20-piece professional orchestra, and our unique 100-guitar ensemble which combines professional and community players in presenting exceptional, site-specific new music for large ensemble. 

Since its creation in 2014, the group has released its first CD (2016 – on the US Starkland Records), performed sold-out shows of it 100, 20 and 4 guitar ensembles in Montréal, played at the Sound Symposium Festival (St. John’s), the Festival Montréal Baroque, and presented its 100-guitar piece “100 Very Good Reasons Why…” at the Modulus Festival in Vancouver.  Its next 100-guitar event will be presented on April 9, 2017, at the Complexe Desjardins in Montréal.  The event will premiere the newly commissioned piece “Hymne sauvage”, by Montréal composer Alexandre David, a work celebrating the 75th anniversary of the birth of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.  “100 Very Good Reasons Why…” will also be presented in the summer of 2017 at the Stratford Summer Music Festival.

Tim Brady: composer, guitarist, founder and artistic director