Averaging some 65 concerts annually by 1990, and supported by several levels of funding, the gallery has been a major forum in Toronto for the presentation of electronic music, multimedia productions, dance, contemporary jazz, and, beginning in the late 1980s, world music. It has also served as a model for similar venues elsewhere in Canada and has been an important stop in the regional, and at times national, circuit of 'alternative' concert halls.
Home through the 1980s to the CCMC, the gallery has also served as a base over the years for the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, Glass Orchestra, the Evergreen Club Gamelan Orchestra, Hemispheres, New Music Co-op, and Sound Pressure. It produced 'Ear It Live, a movable festival of improvised music mounted 1978-81 in several Ontario and Quebec centres, and was the site 1979-88 of an annual electronic music festival sponsored in turn by A Space, by the gallery itself, and by the Canadian Electroacoustic Community.
Other special events have included a month (September 1977) of concerts, workshops, and lectures in celebration of John Cage's 65th birthday, and residencies by Derek Bailey (1979), Mischa Mengelberg (1980), and Barre Phillips (1984). Under Montgomery's direction, the gallery introduced theme-based concert series, employing as guest 'curators' Alan Davis (world music), Bill Grove (jazz), John Oswald (string instruments), Rodney Sharman (Morton Feldman), and others.
The gallery operated its own record label, Music Gallery Editions (record label), 1977-81, and introduced the publication Musicworks in 1978. The label issued 27 LPs, most of them of performances at the gallery by such groups and individuals as the CCMC, the Artists' Jazz Band, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, the Glass Orchestra, James MacDonald, Lubomyr Melnyk, David Mott, Al Neil, the Nihilist Spasm Band, John Oswald, Peggie Sampson, Casey Sokol, and Sonde. Among other Music Gallery Editions releases were collections of Iroquois and Inuit music, folk music from Tadoussac, Que, and recordings of whales. Gallery performances also have been heard on CBC radio and, beginning in 1983, on CKLN-FM's weekly 'Radio Music Gallery'.
A concert-by-concert listing of the gallery's programming and festivals 1976-85, as well as a Music Gallery Editions discography and a Musicworks index, is included in the book Decade: The First Ten Years of The Music Gallery (Toronto 1985).
Author Udo Kasemets
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Electronic Ensemble
The website for the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, described as "the oldest continuous live-electronic group in the world." Features a history of this innovative ensemble, a discography, and many uncompressed high-quality audio files of selected performances.
The website for Toronto's Music Gallery, a publicly assisted centre for the creation, development and performance of art music from all genres.
The Music Gallery fonds
Information page for the "Music Gallery fonds" at York University. The Music Gallery is Toronto's Centre for Creative Music. Focuses on the creation, development and performance of art music from all genres.