Through the piano, Gentiane MG transcends emotions and thoughts to plumb the unknown

Montreal jazz pianist Gentiane Michaud-Gagnon (or Gentiane MG as she abbreviates her title) ignited her profession with a bang lower than two years in the past and exhibits no signal of slowing her momentum.

The 27-year-old launched Eternal Cycle, her first album as a pacesetter, in the summer season of 2017. That album of unique compositions for her trio was picked by CBC as one among the yr’s greatest Canadian jazz releases. For 2018-19, Michaud-Gagnon was named Radio-Canada’s jazz discovery.

On Thursday, she brings her trio to the NAC Fourth Stage, upfront of the upcoming launch of her sophomore album Wonderland, to be launched in early May. Below, Michaud-Gagnon, a composer and participant who’s unafraid of exploring advanced musical and psychological realms, discusses how she’s progressed as an artist.

Q: You recorded your second album along with your trio in January. How does this document differ out of your trio’s debut disc?

A: My second album is in a method a improvement of the first one, whereas being fairly totally different. There are two items in Eternal Cycle that I feel initiated the inventive course of for these new 13 items. The writing is extra developed, the items are contrasting and every has a special rhythmic idea. I needed to discover totally different types. There are some brief interludes, some through-composed items, in addition to a collection in three components. I additionally searched for brand spanking new methods of making improvised sections so as to lead the trio and myself to new territories.

Q: How would you describe the emotional content material of your music?

A: Music is a language that goes method past the actuality of phrases. I feel every particular person has its very specific method of perceiving the message of 1 given piece of music. My brief reply can be that I have a tendency to be attracted by darkness when it comes to artwork on the whole, though there’s a whole lot of nuance to that concept. Darkness can’t exist with out brightness.

When I compose, I feel loads about the concept of inaccessible emotions, of contradictions, of emotions that I can’t management. Each piece has an actual that means to me based mostly on the place I used to be in my life at the second I composed it. How emotions will be translated to music remains to be an idea that I discover mystical and that I don’t fairly perceive rationally. I simply know that music is the solely method for me to transcend an entire world of emotions, thoughts, and to dig additional into the unknown.

Q: How important are the titles of your compositions to you? What ought to a listener take from such evocative titles as Forgiveness, Repentance, Sanctuary, Erased Self, Empty Canvas and Heavy Weight?

A: Titles are arduous to discover and are crucial to me. Often, whereas I’m in the means of writing, I begin conceptualizing what the piece means to me. Then, I strive discovering a phrase or an concept based mostly in actuality that describes it. Once the idea is extra outlined, I seek for the proper phrase, or the proper few phrases. That final step is the hardest. Most of the time, I’ve the title earlier than the piece is completed, though typically it requires extra analysis. Other occasions I get fortunate and the title comes first and begins the entire inventive course of.

When it comes to albums, I strive to discover the title as early on as potential so I can write items which are all a part of the greater idea. Eternal Cycle was expressing deep emotions that typically go away however that all the time come again. Wonderland represents hope. It’s a spot the place issues will be totally different, a spot the place magnificence nonetheless exists and the place the cycle is likely to be breaking. Forgiveness, Sanctuary, Erased Self, Empty Canvas and Heavy Weight characterize a lot of the mandatory steps towards that Wonderland.

Q: Beyond your trio, you’re additionally enjoying with some musicians a era older than your self, resembling Yannick Rieu and Frank Lozano. What do these experiences provide you with?  What do you’ve gotten in widespread with and how do you differ from jazz gamers who is likely to be twice your age?

A: I really feel blessed and grateful for the alternative to share and to be taught from these unimaginable musicians. Playing with such musicians has made me develop enormously. They have extra expertise, they’ve performed with extra individuals than I’ve, and they’ve extra data.

What we now have in widespread is one thing that I feel we’re all making an attempt to attain. Something that goes past actuality and that touches spirituality. A state through which solely music actually means something and the place us as mortal human beings doesn’t matter a lot, no less than whereas we play. I feel it’s in these moments particularly that age doesn’t imply something anymore.

Montreal has a really wealthy jazz neighborhood in that sense. Older musicians share with youthful musicians, and I’m all the time amazed to see how age is transcended by the incontrovertible fact that we share one thing very significant to us all and this alone is sufficient to let go of our variations.

Q: What inventive and profession objectives do you’ve gotten for the remainder of 2019?

A: First of all, we’ll launch my new CD Wonderland on May 6. I have already got concert events booked round Quebec for the remainder of the yr and we’re engaged on a Canadian tour for the trio in the fall. I really like touring. I’m at the moment engaged on some new music for a duo with saxophonist Frank Lozano, and often enjoying round Montreal with totally different tasks.

My short-term inventive objectives are all the time evolving. I’ve spent the higher a part of the final yr working towards the launch of my upcoming album, and am now lastly ready to re-focus my power in the direction of engaged on my private musical improvement. But in the finish, I feel it’s all serving the similar objective: to continue to grow as a performer and composer and to proceed sharing with different musicians.

Gentiane MG Trio
When: Thursday, March 28, eight:30 p.m.
Where: NAC Fourth Stage
Tickets: $19 at or the NAC Fourth Stage

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