The Rhinoceros Saxophone Quartet was formed in 2016. Its members are Kayla Milmine, Bea Labikova, Paul Newman, and Jay Hay, as well as composer-in-residence-and-sometimes-conductor, Brian Abbott. The RSQ exists to perform the music of its five members and, eventually, anyone who might like to contribute their own music. The quartet’s current repertoire covers a wide variety of sonic influences ranging from birdsong to arguing lizards to motor vehicle accidents.
The Somewhere There Creative Music Festival and the Rhinoceros Saxophone Quartet put out an open call for compositions in celebration of the festival's 5th anniversary. Two pieces have been chosen from the submissions and will be featured in an open rehearsal on Sunday afternoon at 2pm. The open rehearsal will give composers--young and not-so-young alike--the opportunity to witness the rehearsal process, get inside the workings of the quartet, and ask questions. At 4pm, the quartet will play a full concert featuring the two chosen compositions: Coquette by Alice Ping Yee Ho and Tragedy in five acts. by Tomasz Krakowiak, as well as other original works from their repertoire.
Jay Hay is a multi woodwind player. He grew up on the north shore of Superior and has lived in and worked in Toronto since 1998. For nearly twenty years, he's been an active participant in the city's creative improvised music scene, leading his own groups such as The Swyves and the Interstellar Tentet as well as contributing to musical projects rooted in an eclectic range of styles. He is a sought-after educator, a proud father of two, and an avid beer league hockey player.
Bea Labikova is an emerging Slovak-Canadian musician. She is currently based in Toronto, where she studied contemporary improvisation, jazz performance and South Indian music at York University and Humber College. She is actively involved in Toronto music scene as a freelance saxophonist and as part of several ensembles including Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble, Lila Ensemble, Insou-Unsou, Trinity Mpho, KGB, Doug Tielli band, and eVoid Collective. She has been also developing her own innovative style on the Fujara, a Slovak folk overtone flute. Bea is drawn towards exploring connections between different forms of art through free improvisation. She has collaborated extensively with many dancers, researching the relationship between movement and music.
Kayla Milmine’s musical journey with the soprano saxophone is a familiar one amongst fellow straight-hornists: Having started out on the clarinet, then the tenor saxophone, soon finding herself falling in love with the new and under-explored sonic possibilities that only the soprano saxophone can offer. Since beginning her soprano centric journey she has developed a unique approach to the instrument that at times has the edginess and brashness of Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, yet the warmth and thoughtfulness reminiscent of Steve Lacy. Unlike her aforementioned predecessors, she also doubles as a punk rock singer. She can regularly be heard exercising her punk rock singing chops when performing with FASTER, a duo that she co-leads with New Jersey-based guitarist Brian Abbott. FASTER’s cabaret/circus/collage show The Elephant in the Room which featured dancer/choreographer Allison Burns won them the Freebie Award at the Montreal Fringe Festival in 2013. Kayla is currently involved in several artistic projects including the Rhinoceros Saxophone Quartet, and the Bill Gilliam Trio. She also recently received a grant from the Canada Council of the Arts to study with her mentor, Sam Newsome, in New York City.
Paul Newman is a saxophonist and composer. He was educated at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts in Alberta before receiving a Master’s degree in composition from York University in Toronto in 2010. In addition to playing tenor saxophone in the Rhinoceros Saxophone Quartet, he plays with the Starfires, the Woodchoppers Association, and in duos with Brian Abbott, Karen Ng, and Heather Saumer. He also has an ongoing solo project. Paul has a number of recordings on his own label, including Music for Solo Soprano Saxophone (2012) and Duo Compositions (2015). His newest recording, Music for Solo Tenor Saxophone, was released in January 2017. Paul Newman lives in Toronto with his cat, Mahalia.
Brian Abbott was born in the great state of New Jersey and raised on a steady diet of punk rock, Jimi Hendrix, and Parliament/Funkadelic. Upon losing his gills and evolving out of the muddy soup of his homeland he attended college at the Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts. Much of his time at school was spent organizing musical events designed to irritate and frighten his close-minded non-musically adventurous peers. Also at that time he discovered modern classical music, avant-garde improvisation, and other fascinating music from around the world that up until that point he had no idea existed. He had found his inspiration and began practicing guitar and composing music in earnest. He also got a prize for being the only student who didn’t ditch a single a composition class one semester. Upon graduation he performed numerous gigs in the US and Canada with bands like Grub Animal, Aza Nizi Maza, Mob Job, and Faster, and also got to play with some great musical legends like Etienne Rolin, Butch Morris, and Garrison Fewell. In 2014 he moved to Toronto Canada and began getting some of his contemporary classical/contemporary jazz compositions performed through Somewhere There and his own composer collective, No-thing Composers.
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