Abstract colours

Open Waters Festival 2022


Various locations


On December 21st, 2021 the Province of Nova Scotia announced restrictions on in-person attendance at musical performances. The Open Waters Festival is a series of on-line events.

Never the same river twice...Upstream Music welcomes you to the Open Waters Festival 2022

Parallel flows converge with the splash of improvisation to bring new music to life before our very ears! No matter our origins, we all forge paths balancing between the provisional and our best-laid plans, and the Open Waters Festival investigates and celebrates this visceral reality through new and improvised music.

Full program download below:




Sarah McCabe: Real Fake Birds

We are delighted to team up once again this year with the Scotia Festival of Music to present this concert. Violist Sarah McCabe, a former Young Artist at Scotia Festival, has spent recent years developing her repertoire as a composer, improviser and performance artist specializing in work with AI. Join us for a dramatic and fascinating evening of musical exploration.



Behrooz Mihankhah is an Iranian Canadian composer, pianist, and singer-songwriter based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Behrooz Mihankhah and his ensemble will be presenting music from his debut album Lydium. Inspired by his migrations through Iran, India, and finally to Canada, Behrooz Mihankhah’s debut full-length album "Lydium" takes impressionist and jazz compositions and presents them in an Iranian instrumental context. This collection of original and pre-existing pieces fuses musical traditions of the past with contemporary concepts of composition and improvisation.


Herd of Pianos: Full-length Film

Herd of Pianos Full-length film screening

Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary art. With the 2020-2021 renovation of the DalhousieArts Centre, ALL of the university’s pianos huddled for shelter in the basement of the Dal Art Gallery. While the jackhammers reworked the building’s structure, curator Peter Dykhuis invited Upstream to film multi-piano improvisations by improv piano virtuoso Tim Crofts and a sextet of Halifax’s finest pianists performing US composer Steve Reich’s Six Pianos and Canadian-NZ composer Juliet Palmer’s Circus Dog. Join us for a deep cinematic dive into a piano experience appropriate for these unprecedented conditions, with pianists Simon Docking, Jennifer King, Tara Scott, Ian Bent, Mark Morton and Megan Thibeault.




Rebecca Fairless, Carmel Farahbakhsh, and India Gailey craft delicately layered soundbaths from the sonorous tones of various objects, stringed instruments, electronics, and vocal sounds. Together they form an aural landscape that is intricately spacious and melodious, with just enough grit. 

Rebecca Fairless, looper 

Carmel Farahbakhsh, electric violin

India Gailey, cello


Azuline Duo

Azuline Duo features award-winning musicians Sara Traficante (flute) and Emma Rush (guitar).  This ensemble pushes the boundaries of their instruments and conventional programming with unusual and rarely heard repertoire, and a dynamic onstage presence that engages the audience from the first note.  They tour regularly throughout North America and have a mission to bring live classical music to rural Canada.  Whether up north in the Yukon Territory or down south in Texas, Azuline Duo makes a lasting impression with their innovative performances on both traditional and unexpected stages.



Halifax improvising string players India Gailey, Kelvin Mansaray, Norman Adams, and Lukas Pearse join with guest Sarah McCabe to weave complex textures within a lush string ensemble.


Strata: Re-Grain

Strata (Brandon Auger and Norman Adams) present re:Grain an iteration of their live installations for various electronics.


Up in the Air Redux

Up in the Air Redux: 8:00PM

Upstream Music and Breaking Circus collaborate in Up in the Air Redux, a series of short contemporary circus and improvisational music performances, featuring artists from a broad range of artistic backgrounds joining together to explore the idea of "The Unknown" in movement and sound. 

Featuring: musicians Linshan Sui, Mohammad Sahraei, Lukas Pearse, Evan Syliboy, Taral Naik, India Gailey, Ellen Gibling, Ross Burns with circus artists Ryan Gray, Dawn Shepherd, Jayden Gigliotti, Aiyana Graham and Kura Braodnax. 


Carl Mayotte Trio

Carl Mayotte Trio (Quebec)

Carl Mayotte and his group deliver a magical concert where solos and virtuoso flights of fancy follow one another like some kind of action film, keeping you on the edge of your seat, wide awake and alert. One of the main aims of this young jazzman is to democratize jazz by creating a concert where communication and the exchange of energy with the audience are fundamental. Sometimes complex, melodic, or even nostalgic, the music played by Radio-Canada's 2020 Révélation Jazz and his band is guaranteed to leave no one unmoved. 


Collection: Recollection

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The Quad on Quinpool, 6067 Quinpool Rd, Halifax

Collection: Recollection

Visuals: Despo Sophocleous, Audio: Danielle Jakubiak, Programming: Amy Brandon

Collection : Recollection is an augmented reality sound installation which maps 3D objects and surround soundscapes to the Quinpool / Windsor Quad in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where St. Patrick's school used to stand. Built on GPS-based AR technology, users see and hear AR augmentations (both visual and sound) which are mapped to the field, and the soundscape they hear alters based on their positioning.

This piece is available as a self-guided experience throughout the festival, but there will be a guided tour at 4:30 on Monday January 10th.

      App is in the App Store and Google Play - links below.

DOWNLOAD for iOS - App Store: 


DOWNLOAD for Android - Google Play


Everything on our website also: https://www.collectionrc.com/

Promo Videos: https://youtu.be/0L-gjfhWv-o

2 minutes: https://youtu.be/MTI7PNWwFCs

1 minute: https://youtu.be/KiC58zykjNE


Alkali Collective

Join Alkali Collective for an evening of new music as they explore the spectrum of the contemporary genre.

Alkali Collective is a new, artist-led ensemble dedicated to the creation, performance, documentation, and educational outreach of 21st-century music. This collective is open to musical and interdisciplinary projects spanning all artistic genres. We provide a voice for music concerning cultural, environmental, and political issues. We are an equitable group that invites all to create, appreciate and explore new art.

Alkali Collective is flexible in size and instrumentation, enabling us to meet the ever-changing needs of a contemporary performing ensemble. It is our mandate as a new music collective to be a driving force in the commissioning of new art and to be a platform for the voices of emerging composers to be heard. Our performances highlight both new and established composers as well as interdisciplinary artists from Nova Scotia, Canada, and abroad.


Jacob Caines, bass clarinet:  Andrew Mackelvie, saxophone:  Shauna DeGruchy, trombone: iCharna Matsushige, violin: India Gailey, cello:  Megan Thibeault, piano:  François-Xavier Leroy, percussion.


The Bonafide Trombone Quartet

The Bonafide Trombone Quartet

New-Nova Scotian trombonists Tom Richards and Jill Stella join with Halifax’s jazz trombone luminary Andrew Jackson and rising new music trombonist Shauna DeGurchy. Each brings a substantial yet very distinct trombone pedigree, and their combined forces promise a powerful low-brass-kicking.

Tom Richards is a musician with a kaleidoscopic range of work. A low-brass specialist, pianist, composer, conductor, and producer, Tom performs with dozens of active projects and has recorded on well over a hundred records.

Jill Stella Richards is a freelance trombonist, vocalist and marketing strategist. She graduated from Humber College with a Bachelor's Degree in Music & Trombone Performance and has studied Sound Therapy at the Transformational Arts College. She has performed with bands in Toronto (before moving to Nova Scotia in 2021), including: Christine Duncan's Element Choir, The Woodshed Orchestra, Chelsea Mcbride's The Socialist Night School Big Band and many more. She's honoured to collaborate with so many incredible humans.

Andrew Jackson is an acclaimed Juno-nominated, ECMA award winning, trombonist and composer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His versatility and unique sound have made him one of the Maritimes first-call players. He is an artist constantly exploring new sounds and not afraid to blend genres.

Shauna DeGruchy is a Halifax-based trombonist who frequently performs as a soloist and in collaboration to create and present new music and interdisciplinary works. She is a founding member and co-artistic director of contemporary chamber ensemble Alkali Collective.


Carlos Moras and Friends

Carlos Moras and Friends (Matt Gallant, Geordie Haley and Lukas Pearse)

Carlos A. Mora Baez is an innovative and passionate musician trained in jazz, classical and popular music styles. Originally from Cuba, Carlos has over 20 years of experience performing for a variety of international audiences as a soloist as well as in groups and orchestras. He now calls Halifax home, where he often plays with Persian-fusion group Open Borders, but here will present original and jazz compositions. 


The Upstream Quintet with Tom Richards

The Upstream Quintet with guest Tom Richards

Upstream Music Association has a long history of inventing and reinventing ensembles, drawing upon both longtime members and drawing in new musicians on the scene.   This 2022 Festival edition of the Upstream Quintet features new-Nova Scotian trombonist-composer Tom Richards and scene stalwart Matt Gallant alongside some of Upstream's key creative improvisors Geordie Haley, Dawn Hatfield and Lukas Pearse, presenting a mixture of new and original compositions with unpredictable improvisations from this magical combination.


Michael Formanek's Drome Trio (New York)

The Drome Trio (New York)

“The concert will consist of pieces from Palindrome Series #1, and Palindrome Series #2 from 2020.  These pieces started as graphic scores that are played forwards then backwards creating the palindrome.  They were then reinterpreted into conventional music notation and arranged into larger compositions that are linked  together with improvisations, both structured and non-structured. The resulting music allows for an organic flow to guide the pieces to different places each time they are performed. “

Michael Formanek - Double Bass and Compositions

Chet Doxas - Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet

Vinnie Sperrazza - Drums