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76Group of Seven when he explains the Gallery's programming: TheGroup of Seven once asked, "Would you read a book that tells youonly what you already know? If not, then why would you want tosee pictures that show you what you can already see for yourself?'"The Music Gallery extends that idea not just to experimentalworks, but also to classical music. In February, the Gallery willpresent a concert of three classical composers a lot of peoplehave never heard of, and most have never heard performedbefore: Pierre Boulez, Morton Feldman and Galina Ustvolskaya."They're masterful composers, composers who have earned theirplace in history, and it's unquestioned that their music will liveon," Oh says. "But this music is almost living on virtually,because no one's playing it." Oh points out that classical musicappears to most people to have a cut-off around 1945, with thedeath of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók - which he calls a"disturbing trend.""I'm not against the performance of Beethoven," Oh says. "I thinkit's really important that we play Beethoven. But there's a dangerthere. If we chain ourselves to one period of history - say 1700to the late 1800s, Bach to Brahms - music becomes amuseum." Instead of performing music as a sort of historicalartifact, the Music Gallery pushes artists and audiences torediscover, reinterpret and reimagine. "The Music Gallery is hereto support people who are searching for something," Oh says. Andthere's little doubt that whether it's the artist, the curator or theaudience that is searching, they'll find something new and rousingat the Music Gallery. "Without a place like the Music Gallery,"states Oh, "a lot of music would never get played live in Toronto."piece for 22 players - very intricate rhythm, very slowdeveloping," Oh says. "What happens in classical music is lotsof things happen in a certain recognized period of time. WithMichael Gordon's piece, not a lot happens over a long time, butyou get a really interesting sense of narrative." The MusicGallery paired the classical work with a performance by theNihilist Spasm Band, a noise band that pioneered the genre inthe 1960s and has inspired countless progressive punk bands."They're not reading music. They're creating incredible soundsfrom anything: blenders, smashing and breaking things,feedback loops," Oh explains.Despite Oh's classical training, he also once told a music critic,"Frankly, I believe a lot of Mozart's piano music is crap." His pointwas not that Mozart wasn't the genius that everyone thinks he is- "I love Mozart," Oh says now - but that we don't listen to hismusic with a critical ear because we blindly accept all music hecomposed as genius. "My point with Mozart," Oh says, "is insteadof going to hear music just because of a name, like buying clothesjust because they're by Tommy Hilfiger, it's a lot more work tothink about why you like something, or don't like something. It'sa challenge to explore new things and find new genius." Thatphilosophy is pervasive at the Music Gallery. Oh paraphrases theTop: The Nihilist Spasm band performs.Bottom: Gregory Oh's Halo Ballet.To learn more about the Music Gallery &its current season, visit

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