Glass Houses / John's Canoe


Sculptor John McEwen lives and works in a village blacksmith’s shop south of Georgian Bay. His steel silhouettes of wolves along with three-dimensional animals and various objects constructed of welded stars are a familiar sight to Torontonians.

McEwen has the best backyard in Canada - it’s home to many of his ongoing projects. I’ve long admired his work and have shamelessly pestered him to lend me pieces to install on my little island in northern Georgian Bay. The floating steel canoe sculpture is one such piece. McEwen arrived at my cabin one spring morning along with the nearly life-sized canoe and his scuba gear so we could anchor the canoe to the bottom of the Bay.

Over the next several months I made a video portrait of the canoe’s voyage through a Canadian spring, summer and fall. These images are accompanied by the music of our minimalist composer Ann Southam who enjoyed playing her pieces on an old upright piano in a Georgian Bay cabin a few miles south of McEwen’s voyaging canoe. John’s Canoe and Ann’s music seem to me to be very well met.

- Michael Mitchell

Continuum performed the world premiere of John's Canoe - which features Ann Southam's Glass Houses - on Friday, December 8, 2017 as part of Urgent Voices.

Ann Southam CA

Ann Southam was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1937 but lived most of her life in Toronto. After completing musical studies at the University of Toronto and The Royal Conservatory of Music in the early 1960's, Ann began a teaching and composing career which included a long and productive association with modern dance. As well as creating music for some of Canada's major modern dance companies and choreographers including The Toronto Dance Theatre, Danny Grossman, Dancemakers, Patricia Beatty, Christopher House and Rachel Browne, she was an instructor in electronic music at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and participated in many "composer-in-the-classroom" programs in elementary and high schools. While a great deal of her work was electroacoustic music on tape, in later years she became increasingly interested in music for acoustic instruments. She composed concert music for a variety of acoustic instruments and instrumental ensembles, working with such artists and ensembles as Eve Egoyan, Christina Petrowska Quilico and Arraymusic. Ann's work was commissioned through the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the CBC, and has been performed in Canada, Europe and the U.S. She was a member of the Canadian Music Centre, the Canadian League of Composers and a founding member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers.  She was the recipient of the Friends of Canadian Music Award in 2001.

Ann Southam passed away November 25, 2010.

Ann Southam