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Allison Au with the Migration Ensemble · Migrations

Migrations is a musical exploration of why people leave their homes to pursue life in a new land, and the reverberating impact it has on future generations. It is an acoustic tribute to the complex but universal human act of migration, weaving lush, mosaic-like dreamscapes with poignant, heartrending lyrics. A suite of music conceptualized by the JUNO award winning saxophonist and composer Allison Au (pronounced “ow”), Migrations draws emotion and depth from Au’s family history of immigration to Canada: from Southern China and Malaysia on her father’s side and war-torn Poland and Israel on her mother’s side. A biracial descendant of migrants, Au’s compositional process is also informed by her personal experience of reconciling displacement, cultural identity, family legacy and the notion of home.“Migrations is one of the most important pieces of music I have created because it is so personal. It speaks to my identity as a Canadian born to immigrant parents and delves into subject matter that I previously attempted to articulate, but never found the project through which to do so.” Commissioned by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Migrations premiered at the 21C Music Festival at Toronto’s Koerner Hall in January 2020. Her fourth studio recording and most ambitious compositional work to date, Migrations features the musicians of Au’s longstanding quartet as the core of an expanded ensemble that includes vibraphone, string quartet, and voice. As a testament to the sentiments of traumas and upheaval shared by migrants of different backgrounds and circumstances, the lyrics of Migrations feature the words of poets including Emma LaRocque, Ruth Padel, Rae Marie Taylor, Duncan Mercredi, Chief Dan George, Langston Hughes and Wanda Coleman.

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