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What composer Owen Pallett is watching, just saw and is listening to

Polaris Prize-winner Owen Pallett is currently recording his own album and helped curate for the TSO’s 13th-annual New Creations Festival

The gifted composer, violinist and pop-music maestro Owen Pallett is up to his ears in music, whether it's his own album he's currently recording or whether it's the cutting-edge contemporary music he's helped curate for the TSO's 13th-annual New Creations Festival. Running March 4 to 11, the three-concert event presents throat singer Tanya Tagaq (March 4), violinist James Ehnes (March 8) and the Kronos Quartet (March 11). Pallett's Songs from an Island, a TSO commission, will be premiered on March 8. The Polaris Prize-winner took time out to tell us about his current fascinations.

What he just saw: "Martin Scorsese's Silence, a historical drama based upon the 1966 novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo. I never was a big Endo fan, and I am wary of the Western gaze upon Edo-period Japan. Can't describe my wariness, precisely – it's like I'm concerned that the fascination with this period is rooted in exoticism, a crypto-fetishization of the militarized era of Japanese shogunate. The film was well-made, though."

What he's watching: "Yuri on Ice, an anime series about figure skaters. There's another anime about cooking competitions I watch too, called Food Wars! Television has gone full circle: They're fictionalizing reality TV these days."

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What he's listening to: "Not a lot these days. I'm in production mode so I only hear my own music and whatever they're playing at the gym. So, I'm really into the Bruno Mars single 24K Magic, and all the ways it bites Kendrick Lamar. And for the first time in my life I've found myself enjoying Maroon 5, with their song Don't Wanna Know. It's weird what happens to your taste when your listening habits become totally passive."

The New Creations Festival runs March 4 to 11; $60 to $128.50; Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-598-3375 or

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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