Winners of the 2009 Mississauga Arts Council award for “Best Emerging Performing Arts Ensemble”, TorQ Percussion Quartet was formed by four Canadian percussionists looking to add new vitality to percussion repertoire and performance. Renowned for their engaging performances, TorQ are committed to making new music accessible to audiences that span generations and geography. TorQ has performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations across Canada and beyond, including performances at the International Percussion Quartet Festival (Luxembourg), Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Indian River Festival (Prince Edward Island), Stratford Summer Music Festival, MusicFest Canada (Vancouver), Open Ears Contemporary Music Festival (Ontario), as part of the Jeunesses Musicales Canada Desjardins Concert tour and at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (Indianapolis). They have presented many Canadian and world premieres, including the premiere of David Gillingham’s Concertino for Four Percussion and Orchestra with the Mississauga Symphony. The 2011-2012 season will see them perform tours across Eastern Ontario, Quebec, and the Prairies, and perform in Canada and Germany with the Stuttgart Chamber Choir in collaboration with Soundstreams Canada.
A constantly evolving repertoire gives them the opportunity to combine the most recent commissions with better-known works by composers such as John Cage, Steve Reich and Nebojsa Zivkovic. In Fall 2011, TorQ will again serve as co-teachers with distinguished composer Christos Hatzis for the class “Composing for Percussion” at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. This initial collaboration led to many new works, including Hatzis’ own In the Fire of Conflict for percussion quartet and pre-recorded audio. Commissions currently in progress include a concert-length multi-media and theatre collaboration with the Hamilton Children’s Choir and award-winning composer Eric Robertson, a work for percussion octet (co-commissioned with Fringe Percussion) by Michael Oesterle, and a collaboration with Toronto’s Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan.
TorQ has released two recordings on the independent label Bedoint Records. Their self-titled debut recording, a mixture of commissions, arrangements, improvisations and compositions by group members, was awarded 3.5/4 stars by Toronto Star music columnist John Terauds. two + two, released in Fall 2011 and featuring the music of Jason Stanford, Nebojsa Zivkovic, Christos Hatzis and John Cage, was described by former NEXUS member Robin Engelman as a “landmark recording [...] it demonstrates an artistry that puts TorQ squarely on par with the best percussion ensembles in the world.”
In addition to promoting new music, TorQ is also a strong believer in the importance of music education. In combination with Ontario based organization “Prologue for the Performing Arts”, TorQ performs approximately 70 shows per academic year to elementary and secondary school audiences across the province. They are also frequent educational collaborators with Soundstreams, and present masterclasses and workshops for various organizations across the country. All four members of TorQ are faculty members of the Durham Integrated Arts Camp, run by the Durham District School Board.