“A Day in the Life” with Canadian pianist Eve Egoyan

Eve Egoyan is intensely curious, and that gets her into all sorts of trouble. She will eat just about anything, though she sometimes lives to regret it. She has found that she adores baking which is cruel because she is lactose and gluten intolerant. She desperately wishes she could have a cat, but is allergic to them. Her musical curiosity had drawn her to experiment with all sorts of cutting edge technologies, but this too is complicated, because she views technology with suspicion. She is patient enough to learn the most excruciatingly complex music but she hates sitting still or waiting around. She finds deep solace in nature, especially the Pacific Ocean she grew up beside, but finds herself drawn to cultural forms that only really thrive in big cities. The piano is her sanctuary, and she is pretty challenging to be around if she has not played for a couple of days in a row. Sometimes when she plays, she seems to be able to suspend time.

She loves spending time with her family, digging around in her new patio vegetable garden, going for long walks, and being in natural places that are so quiet you can hear your own heart beat.

-by David Rokeby, Eve’s husband

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Photo during a trip out west to an old growth island near Pacific Rim National Park.
Photo during a trip out west to an old growth island near Pacific Rim National Park.
Home baked Armenian Easter bread, a family bread-making tradition.
Home baked Armenian Easter bread, a family bread-making tradition.
Discovering my heritage: a book on Armenia, folkloric transcriptions, my studies around Armenian folk songs and Armenian language class scribbles.
Discovering my heritage: a book on Armenia, folkloric transcriptions, my studies around Armenian folk songs and Armenian language class scribbles.
Tech set up in my studio for augmented and acoustic piano creative work.
Tech set up in my studio for augmented and acoustic piano creative work.
Growing olives and clementines in my studio during the winter.
Growing olives and clementines in my studio during the winter.
Photo of an abandoned upright piano left on the street taken during one of my neighbourhood walks.
Photo of an abandoned upright piano left on the street taken during one of my neighbourhood walks.
Touring photo from REDCAT, Los Angeles, during a performance of Homonymy by Toronto composer/artist John Oswald.
Touring photo from REDCAT, Los Angeles, during a performance of Homonymy by Toronto composer/artist John Oswald.

Which ‘hood are you in?

We live in the busy neighbourhood of Queen West, near Trinity Bellwoods. We moved here long before it was the upscale neighbourhood it is now. The neighbourhood is super lively but I really miss the art galleries that used to line Queen Street. I also have hard time with the ever-increasing population density (I am a Victoria B.C.- born beach girl). Like most artists, I also worry about the loss of space for creation as this city grows. This past year has been devastating for many artists and arts organizations. Toronto holds so much wonderful creative diversity. I hope the city will find a way to provide and protect affordable space for the amazing arts organizations and artists that live and work here as it grows.

What do you do?

I am a pianist, composer and piano teacher. I am grateful to have had many opportunities for growth in my creative practice. When I was a student, I received scholarships to study classical repertoire in Europe for four years. When I arrived in Toronto, I started to collaborate with living, Toronto-based composers. Playing concert music by living composers connected my arts practice and my instrument to music of our time. I am also a strong advocate for gender balance in concert programming.
I have recorded twelve solo CDs which contain many extraordinary works written for me. I tour internationally as a solo artist and recently toured the theatrical production, SOLO FOR DUET. The feature film Duet for Solo Piano by Su Rynard explores the creative process involved in the creation of SOLO FOR DUET. The film just premiered at the FIFA (Festival International des Films sur l’Art).

What are you currently working on?

Most recently, I have been exploring my own creative work. Over the past two years, I have been augmenting the piano through elegant uses of technology to extend its sound world in ways that I have only imagined. What makes these explorations particularly unique is that I play these new works on a regular acoustic piano. I am also in control of the technology as I play. I control the colour extensions as I am playing the acoustic piano. Nothing is pre recorded or post processed.

During Covid, with super reduced performance and touring opportunities, I have taken this time to almost exclusively create works for myself. I am also learning Armenian, my mother tongue, and studying Armenian folkloric pieces, seeking a new musical language for myself through these distilled, beautiful pieces. Over the coming year, I will also be working with celebrated animator Christopher Hinton exploring the possibilities for real-time animations during performance.

As far as live performances are concerned, I have been invited to perform at the Open Ears Festival, Kitchener, and the FIMAV, Victoriaville, Quebec, this summer.

Where can we find your work?

You can sign up for my newsletters off my website.

Purchase most recordings here.

View collaborative works with images here.

Check out the feature film Duet for Solo Piano here.

Explore the beautiful interactive by Helios Design and Su Rynard here.

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 2055 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography