NOW Society presents: Assembly1 Festival


Assembly 1 Festival ft. Jean Derome, Joanne Hétu, Éric Normand, & Jim Denley

Tickets: $20/10 (NOW members receive a $5 discount)
More info and tickets:


November 19, 8pm @ Merge

NE Corner of Powell and Clark, Vancouver

The Assembly1 Festival visiting artists, Nous Perçons les Oreilles - Joanne Hétu, Jean Derome (Montréal) and PLANT - Jim Denley (Australia), Éric Normand (Rimouski, Quebec), join NOW musicians in improvised groupings featuring: Éric Normand (bass), Jean Derome and Joanne Hétu (saxophones), Jim Denley (woodwinds), Lisa Cay Miller (piano), Meredith Bates (violin), Tom Wherrett (guitar) and James Meger (bass).


November 20, 8pm @ Western Front

303 East 8th Avenue

Set 1:
Nous Perçons les Oreilles, Jean Derome and Joanne Hétu (Montréal)

“Duet composed of Jean Derome and Joanne Hétu, Nous perçons les oreilles is two saxophones, two voices, two gargoyles, two satyrs; two mighty figures agitating, whistling, squeaking, scraping, blowing, biting and transforming music into incantation and a banquet of sound.”-Ambiances Magnetiques

Set 2:

Gary Wildeman’s 48- page comic book graphic score Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia, commissioned by the NOW Society, is a graphic score in the form of a 48-page comic book. The sonic adventures of two iconic characters as they move though onomatopoeic landscapes will be performed by the NOW ensemble: JP Carter (trumpet), Nikki Carter (saxophone), Mike Brown (bass clarinet), DB Boyko (voice), Chad MacQuarrie (electric guitar), Lisa Cay Miller (piano), James Meger (bass) and Skye Brooks (drums). During the concert, the audience members will use the comic book to follow the score and music!

Improvised groupings

The NOW Ensemble will improvise with festival guests Joanne Hétu and Jean Derome, Jim Denley (Australia) and Éric Normand (Rimouski, Quebec).


November 21, 8pm @ Western Front

303 East 8th Avenue

Set 1:
PLANT - Jim Denley (Australia) and Éric Normand (Rimouski, Quebec)

The world music of PLANT is not about learning each other’s music systems and rehearsing to create coordinated expected outcomes – it is rather, about the acceptance and co-existence of the Other. There is no ‘compromise’ in this coming together, each musician is able to be himself, with local influences undiluted and enough shared methodology to work in parallel.


Set 2:

Improvised groupings

 The NOW Ensemble, Peggy Lee (cello), Tony Wilson (guitar), Lisa Cay Miller (piano) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums), will improvise with festival guests Joanne Hétu and Jean Derome, Jim Denley (Australia) and Éric Normand (Rimouski, Quebec).


Assembly1 Festival Workshops @ Western Front

November 20, 2:30 pm

facilitators: PLANT - Jim Denley and Éric Normand

November 21, 4 pm

facilitators: Nous Perçons les Oreilles - Joanne Hétu and Jean Derome

For over 39 years, NOW has presented workshops aimed at mentoring musicians at all levels of ability in the varied techniques of improvised music. Facilitators from around the world bring their unique perspectives to spontaneous music creation and introduce varied techniques to approaching music improvisation. The Assembly1Workshops will bring artists from Montréal and Rimouski Québec and from Australia. Bring your instruments and be ready to create collaboratively!

Free – Suggested donation: $5 – $20. Register at with your preferred date(s). There will be 15 participants in each workshop. To participate, please become a NOW member (NOW members receive $5 off all NOW concerts!).


It has been more than 30 years now since self-taught composer, vocalist and saxophonist Joane Hétu has been following her own highly distinctive path through the vast territory of creative, contemporary music. From her beginnings with song-based new-rock bands such as Wondeur Brass, Justine and Les Poules, Hétu turned to composition (the evocative triptych comprising Musique d’hiver, Filature and La femme territoire ou 21 fragments d’humus) and improvisation, more often than not combining both within her general approach to music. She has co-directed the Ensemble SuperMusique since its founding in 1998, as well as the weekly series Mercredimusics since 2002. More recently she gave birth to La chorale bruitiste Joker (2012). Joane Hétu was awarded the prestigious Freddie Stone Award in 2006.

One of the most active and eclectic musicians on the Canadian creative music scene, Jean Derome has earned the recognition of a larger public, a rare feat in the world of new music. Thanks to his large-scale musique actuelle projects, his compositions, his work as an improviser, his jazz groups and his music for the screen and the stage, Derome ranks as a major creative force, in Quebec and abroad. Ever since his work with Nébu (one of Quebec’s first avant-garde jazz groups) in the early ‘70s, Derome has been consistently renewing and diversifying his approach of composition. In the early ‘80s, he co-founded Ambiances Magnétiques, an artists’ collective and record label that both raised his profile at home and introduced his name to the outside world. His numerous projects include the duos Les Granules, Nous perçons les oreilles and Plinc! Plonc!, the dynamic group Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, and the large-scale projects Confitures de gagaku, Je me souviens — Hommage à Georges Perec and Canot-camping. In 1992, Derome became the second artist to be presented with the Freddie Stone Award. Derome has also shared the stage with several musicians of international stature, among others Fred Frith, Lars Hollmer, Louis Sclavis and Han Bennink. He performs regularly throughout Canada, the US and in Europe and in 2001 he received a Prix Opus for his international visibility. Derome is also a frequent collaborator in modern jazz projects, as well as a much-sought after composer for films, having created dozens of scores the National Film Board over the course of the past 25 years. (Bio from SMCQ)

Éric Normand and Jim Denley first played together on the 25th of May 2010 in Rimourski, Quebec, a recording of the music that night became the CD ‘Transition De Phase’. The next time was also in Rimourski – once again at the Coop Paradis. A recording of that music will become the LP, ‘Plant’. So far, all the music they have played together, (apart from a sound check), will become audio objects, this is an unusual situation, that says something about the world we live in now. The two musicians live 1100 Km s apart separated by more than the Pacific, (their native tongues are different), but they are involved in a music practice that allows them to come together, without rehearsal and shared experience, to collectively create. This is true ‘world music’. We’ve all heard the cliché that ‘music is a universal language’, but in the past musicians have had to learn each others systems – the sounds, scales, harmonies, rhythms and structures – to create cohesively together. But Jim and Erics’ ‘world music’ is not about learning each others music systems and rehearsing to create co-ordinated expected outcomes – it is rather, about the acceptance and co-existence of the Other. There is no ‘compromise’ in this coming together, each musician is able to be himself, with local influences undiluted, but with enough shared methodology to work in parallel. Jim Denley, one of Australia’s foremost improvisers of new music, was born in 1957 in the country town of Bulli in New South Wales, and grew up in Wollongong. Wind instruments and electronics are core elements of his musical output.