By Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski
Andrew Burashko made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at age 17 and has since established himself as one of the most sought-after and eclectic classical musicians of his generation.
The Russian-born artist’s musical dexterity and passion for experimentation led him to the creation of Art of Time Ensemble. Since its inception in 1998, Art of Time Ensemble has become known for its daring interaction with the Toronto cultural scene. As artistic director, Burashko has worked with some of the best musicians in Canada and internationally.
The mandate of Art of Time Ensemble is to give classical music the contemporary relevance and context it needs to maintain a broader audience to survive. Committed to finding new ways of blending classical music with other genres as well as other art forms, each Art of Time program is uniquely different in theme and content.
I spoke with Burashko about his inspiration, what audiences can expect from a typical Art of Time show, his wish list of artistic collaborators and about his newest collaboration with London DJ Gabriel Prokofiev, which will on stage for two performances Feb. 22 and 23.
1. Art of Time Ensemble presents classical music in innovative, dynamic ways. What can a classical music neophyte expect to take away from an Art of Time show?
Hopefully, a smile and a desire for more. I think they should expect to hear something they’ve never heard before and to learn things they hadn’t known before. It’s also important to note that while we are a classically inspired company, the many forms of music we present – pop, jazz and others – are both accessible in their own right, and reveal the accessibility of classical music. It’s all just good music.
2. Where do ideas for new shows come from? And roughly how long does it take to develop a new show from concept to execution?
The ideas come from my curiosity and interest in every type of music, as well as theatre, dance, film and literature – elements that we love to play with. A show may take a year to turn around or a decade. I’ve had some ideas kicking around in my head for 10 years that we haven’t staged yet, and won’t until the concept is complete in my head.
3. You’ve collaborated with some of Canada's top artists. Do you have “wish list” of artists you1d love to work with in the future?
I’m a huge fan of K.D. Lang, Tom Waits, Paul Simon. The list goes on and on.
4. What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in blending classical music with other genres (both musical and otherwise)?
None. There are connections between classical music and pop, classical music and jazz, as well as every other performance discipline. Creators in every field are influenced or inspired by creators in other fields. We just explore those connections. You’d be amazed at how similar the various musical forms become as you begin to dig deeper.
5. Can you tell readers what they can expect from the upcoming Gabriel Prokofiev show?
They can expect to hear great music they’ve never heard before. And, speaking of the connections I mentioned earlier, you’ll to get to see/hear how electronic music has been influenced by music that came before and is now influencing music being written in the classical world. It’s not immediately apparent that the world of electronica and classical are connected, and we’re excited to connect those dots for our audience.
More than 12 years ago, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski launched rock-it promotions, a full-service public relations firm. She has had the opportunity to work with Helen Mirren, James Brown and more, while rock-it promotions clients include the Drake Hotel and Fashion Design Council of Canada, among others. Visit www.rockitpromo.com, www.onthefourthfloor.com or at @rockitpromo