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Kimmel Center Presents

Tanya Tagaq in concert with Nanook of the North

Apr 13, 2017
8:00 PM




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Featuring Aaron Miller on Organ


In this live concert with film, Inuit throat singer and tour-de-force vocalist Tanya Tagaq creates a mesmerizing, improvisatory soundscape for the controversial silent film Nanook of the North, with organist Aaron Miller.

Robert J. Flanerty's 1922 film chronicled a year in the life of Inuit Nanook and his family in the vivid, harsh landscape near the Arctic Circle. Widely acknowledged as having paved the way for the modern documentary, the film also drew controversy for its clichéd and sometimes fictional images.  Along with percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot, Tagaq reclaims—through explosive sound—this portrayal of an early 20th century Inuit community in Northern Quebec. Channeling ancient rituals through her own personal ferocity, Tagaq’s wholly improvised performance transform haunting chants, screams, and growls into an ecstatic—sometimes unnerving—journey to a completely new sound world. 

About Tanya Tagaq:

Tanya Tagaq’s music is like nothing you’ve heard before. The Arctic-born artist is an improvisational performer, avant-garde composer and experimental recording artist who won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize for an album called Animism, a work that disrupted the music world in Canada and beyond with its powerfully original vision.

Tagaq contorts elements of punk, metal, and electronica into a complex and contemporary sound that begins in breath, a communal and fundamental phenomenon. While 2014’s Polaris Music Prize win signalled an awakening to Tanya Tagaq’s art and messages, she has been touring and collaborating with an elite international circle of artists for over a decade. Tagaq’s improvisational approach lends itself to collaboration across genres, and recent projects have pulled her in vastly different directions, from contributing guest vocals to a recent F**ked Up song (a hardcore punk band from Toronto) to premiering a new composition made for Kronos Quartet’s Fifty for the Future collection.

Tanya Tagaq’s music and performances challenge static ideas of genre and culture, and contend with themes of environmentalism, human rights and post-colonial issues. In repeated interviews, Tagaq has stressed the importance of considering her work in the context of contemporary – not traditional – art. This statement is not just about sound, although her music is decidedly modern and technically intricate, but about deep-rooted assumptions about indigenous culture in general.

Click here for a recent review of Tanya Tagaq!

About the Organist:

Aaron David Miller is noted for his highly imaginative and creative style, found in his performances, improvisations and compositions.  He has won prizes at several prestigious competitions, including the top prize at the AGO National Improvisation Competition, and the Bach and Improvisation prizes at the Calgary International Organ Festival Competition. Recently he was invited to be among the performers for a special 10th anniversary performance of the Rosales organ in Los Angeles’ Disney Hall and to accompany a silent film for the new Kaufmann Center for Arts in Kansas City. He was also invited to perform for the 100th anniversary of the Spreckel’s Organ (Balboa Park, San Diego) and was commissioned to write a new piece for the occasion. He has performed for both regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists and Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

A prolific composer, many of Dr. Miller’s compositions have won critical acclaim.  Featured prominently at the AGO National Convention in Chicago in 2006, Dr. Miller’s work for organ and orchestra, Sleepy Hollow, was premiered at Symphony Hall. Dr. Miller’s many organ, choral, and orchestra compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, Oxford University Press, Paraclete Press, ECS, Morning Star and Kjos Publishing House. He has recorded two CDs, the first, showcasing his performances of Bach and his improvisatory skills on the Dulcian label and a new CD on his own label titled “Clamor”, featuring his own compositions.


Organ performances are made possible through the Wyncote Foundation.


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"A dissonant, distortion-saturated art-metal blizzard." - The Rolling Stone

"The songs on Retribution encompass terror, rage, ecstasy, adoration and bone-leeching sadness." - NPR

 "Retribution stands to lure a wider audience into Tagaq's unsettled sound world - but only to ensnare it like prey as she goes in for the kill." - Pitchfork

"Ritualistic and rocking." - The New York Times

"One of the most stunning records you will hear this year, or maybe ever." - Fader

“Aaron has one of the most vivid musical imaginations I've heard.  His improvisations are nothing short of spectacular.  People talk about improvisation being dead in the classical world.  That might be true, but it's alive and kicking in Aaron.  Any musician, classical or jazz, will find Aaron's creativity breathtaking.”  - Dave Brubeck

Tagaq combs the depths of her throat, her guttural explorations exploding like a distorted bass guitar…” -The Rolling Stone

“Tagaq belongs to a lineage of iconoclastic vocalists that includes Yoko Ono and Diamanda Galás—artists notorious for pushing both musical and physical limits in their work.” - Pitchfork

Verizon Hall

Kimmel Center

300 S Broad St

Philadelphia, PA 19102


Tanya Tagaq In Concert with Nanook of the North
Tanya Tagaq in Concert with Nanook of the North


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