Toronto-based musical collective, Art of Time Ensemble, come together to celebrate Canada’s best poetic export, Leonard Cohen, with their album ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen Live’. Released on September 29th. The collaborative group of Canadian musicians from the world of jazz and classical music came together in 2018 and over three nights recorded the live album in front of a captive audience.
They also partnered with fifteen Canadian authors and poets on this album, many of whom knew Leonard Cohen personally.
Check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gemvc9hPGFs&feature=youtu.be
“The 13 tracks on this album were recorded live in concert as part of a Leonard Cohen tribute in 2018. Over three nights, this tribute also featured 15 Canadian authors and poets, many of whom knew Leonard Cohen personally. These shows were deeply emotional, and it shows in every single performance,” says Andrew Burashko, The Art of Time Ensemble’s founder and artistic director.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3DreXqrifFvgTRk0WhURWz?si=V-ixhisrRVe6GfdjRI7L-g&nd=1
“In choosing the songs for this tribute, I wanted to cover the entire span of Cohen’s career, showcasing both well-known classics and lesser-known tracks such as “Come Healing” and Treaty” from very late in his career. I also very deliberately chose a diverse group of composers and arrangers with disparate sensibilities to create a very distinct aesthetic universe for each song. The singers on this album are all veterans and icons of the Canadian pop music scene – all forces of nature and in their own right. Their passion for these songs shines through in every performance.”
The Art of Time Ensemble was born in 1998 brought together by Andrew Burashko’s vision. With a mission to ‘engage diverse audiences in powerful arts experiences through the performances, collaborative endeavours, and curatorial vision of its Artistic Director.’
The Art of Time Ensemble draws on Toronto’s best artistic creatives from the world of music, art, dance, and theatre. They combine high art and popular culture delivering enrichment and enlightenment to their audiences through the power of music. The dedication of the ensemble’s cast of arrangers, musicians, and artists has kept the ensemble strong for over twenty years which has allowed collaborations with people from all corners of the world of art.
Members of the group over the years have included Jonathan Goldsmith, Rachel Mercer (principal cellist of the National Arts Orchestra), Benjamin Bowman (concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera), Stephen Sitarski (concertmaster of Esprit Orchestra), Steven Dann (soloist and former principal violist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Toronto Symphony), Thomas Wiebe (soloist and cellist of the Duke Trio); Phil Dwyer (renowned composer and jazz saxophonist) and the great Canadian guitarist, Rob Piltch, and many more.
As well as a pool of experienced musicians, The Art of Time Ensemble has worked with dancers, filmmakers, artists, and writers from the creative arts over the years.
Michael Ondaatje, one of Canada’s best-known writers and cultural icons, compliments the group’s performances.
Michael says, “Some of the best evenings that I have witnessed in Toronto have been performances by Andrew Burashko’s Art of Time Ensemble – a caravan of classical and pop musicians. The result is entertainment that is often thrilling, often full of insights – as in the old values of art that delight and instruct.”
The stand-out track includes a haunting version of Cohen’s classic ‘Hallelujah’ featuring Steven Page and Gregory Hoskins with its memorable waltzing lyrics beat in rhythm with even the most robust of heartstrings.
Other notable tracks include Cohen’s ‘Come Healing Featuring Sarah Harmer’ and ‘A Singer Must Die Featuring Steven Page’. Harmer’s version features a piano, woodwind, and string accompaniment with her bright vocals that feel poignant today. Steven Page’s take on ‘A Singer must Die’ is almost comedic. Yet its outing is sprinkled with sad undertones. At moments, you’ll feel that you’re in a 1950s Paris smokey jazz club sipping whiskey.
‘Songs of Leonard Cohen Live’ is out September 29.
Art of Time Ensemble
Toronto, ON: Steven Page, Singer
Tom Wilson, Singer
Sarah Harmer, Singer
Gregory Hoskins, Singer
Sarah Slean, Singer
Andrew Burashko, piano (musical director/producer)
Amy Laing, cello
Robert Carli, saxophone/clarinet
Sheila Jaffe, violin
Rob Piltch, guitar
Joseph Phillips, double bass
Bryan Baird, arranger
Gavin Bryars, arranger
Robert Carli, arranger
Andrew Downing, arranger
Kevin Fox, arranger
Jim McGrath, arranger