WE LC OME TO UR BAN F LUTE PR OJ ECT . . .Welcome to Urban Flute Project…thank you so much for your interest and support which continues to be such a wonderful source of inspiration! Collected in over a dozen countries world-wide, these recordings challenge the orthodoxy of the traditional concert hall as I take my music out into the community. I encourage you to take a few minutes to explore my photos and sound-files where I’ve documented a wide array of unusual urban spaces in over 50 cities worldwide. Perhaps you have your own story to tell, or are inspired to take your instrument out of storage and into some mysterious urban cavern with a huge, haunting echo!
WH ER E CL ASSI CA L MU SI C .. .
. .. M EE TS U R BAN E X PLO R ATI O N .
Urban Flute Project offers a unique perspective on our city, a convenient yet provocative way to get up close and personal with forgotten aspects of Toronto, a city like so many worldwide in the midst of unprecedented renewal and change – a chance to celebrate the diversity and richness of even temporary spaces that might otherwise be overlooked in the rush of the day-to-day.
Mythic, abandoned tunnels under the city and a deep-seated desire to record flute music deep in these hidden, resonant spaces, Urban Flute Project comes from this original instinct to explore the trove of acoustic recesses in and around Toronto, and sculpt out new meaning and relevance for music-making in our modern day-and-age.
Hey, before we go any further, here’s the tabs for my website, in case they don’t show up on your handheld at the moment…for the U RBA N F LUT E BLO G, you can go page by page or search by keyword, then simply click on the date of any individual post to read as you listen to the sound file!
U RB N F LU TE ME D i A . .
RABBLE.ca Living on Purpose, Episode #207: Urban Flute Project, Jamie Thompson (June 2013)
WomensRadio Living on Purpose: Urban Flute Purposely on the Move (June, 2013)
My Ears Are Open with James Holt: Urban Flute Project (February, 2011)
Spacing Radio spacingTORONTO with Matthew Blackett (February, 2010)
RABBLE.ca Living on Purpose with Lynn Thompson, Episode #9: Urban Flute Project (April 2007)
RABBLE.ca Living on Purpose, Episode #63: Flute Move (September 2007)
PLAYBILL Arts (NYC) Royal Conservatory Koerner Hall Hardhat Concert (January, 2007)
U RB AN FL UT E F EEDB ACK . ..I welcome your feedback, so leave a comment…or feel free to email me at:
UR BAN . FL UTE @ G M AI L .COM
U RB AN FL UTE . ..T HE B AC K- ST ORY .
It was back in 2007 and at the urging of a friend who remarked on how my whole expression lit up when describing recent arts events I had attended, and my shared passion for music and photography, that I started Urban Flute Project…at the time I hadn’t even heard what a blog was!
For years I chose to stay in the shadows, not even really having my name on the site, choosing instead evocative photos of post-human, industrial spaces linked up with often one-take, concise audio recordings where I explored the unusual and oft-times magical acoustics of architectural spaces. My obsession for having ghostly, out-of-body conversations with buildings had begun in earnest.
Over the last while, Urban Flute Project has led to some crazy collaborations with a wide variety of musicians and multi-disciplinary arts, so there hasn’t been quite as much time for jumping fences!
Urban Flute Project…where I share my sometimes quasi-illegal musical adventures and passion for traditional still photography and the flute…the Prince of instruments, the flute certainly has a noble tradition that dates back millennia in many of the world’s diverse cultures, perhaps even especially here in Canada and the Americas.
The flute also has a mystical and very special, ancient place in numerous cultures, including both both European Western Art Music and Traditional World Music…think of Sir Jimmy Galway, Ireland’s leprechaun of the bejewelled flute, or perhaps Kokapelli haunting sacred caves and canyons of New Mexico and Arizona…not to mention Shakuhachi-playing Zen monks conducting stealth surveillance on city streets in Japan’s urban areas of the 1800’s as members of the rather mysterious Fuke Sect.
Hey maybe just think Krishna!
So, as it turns out, as renegade and unorthodox as my stealth urban flute activities may appear at first pass, well in fact I’m simply upholding a long-standing tradition of the flute player as mischievous, radical Shaman…or playful Jester!
And yet I have discovered that I am not working alone…I have come to learn about other rather renegade musicians, and artists who are inclined towards infiltration, who have the same predilection toward appropriating and re-claiming public space – arguably an admirable trait at the best of times, but especially in this day-and-age of Big Brother writ large, of 1984 now etc.
I have come to embrace this ever-expanding community of creative infiltration artists and performers like they are family. And yet, along with this reassuring safety net of solidarity, there is room for my continued and more solitary work that engages me in an intuitive, personal level of expression.
Hey, it’s about free play and recognizing what your comfort zone is, where to push that, and when to let the setting and circumstances dictate any outcomes as much as dynamic markings in a flute score! Nonetheless, it is reassuring to have the support of a creative urban community, to know they are at hand, and the kinship this can afford vis-a-vis the shared vision of an insightful, albeit loose-knit community of like-minded individuals and organizations.
Respectfully transforming space with sound, Urban Flute Project is a subversive catalyst for community outreach and aligns nicely with all manner of Grassroots Revolution, returning the flute to where it truly belongs: at the heart of our shared human existence and Urban Communities!
U RB AN F LU TE BI O . . .
Originally from Agincourt at a time when Scarborough was an expanse of country roads and farmers fields on the outskirts of Toronto, Jamie began his musical studies in Ottawa at the age of 10.
A few noteworthy flute teachers and mentors include Robert Aitken, Luciano Berio, Greta Kraus, Louis Moyse and Marcel Moyse in Brattleboro, Vermont, as well as with Douglas Stewart in Toronto, attending such prestigious schools as The Royal Conservatory of Music, The Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, The University of Toronto and Music at Shawnigan on Vancouver Island.
Respected as a prominent flutist and music pedagogue, Jamie has been on the Flute Faculty of the Royal Conservatory since 1988 and is a member of the RCM College of Examiners.
Jamie has established himself as a versatile and innovative performance artist in Toronto’s burgeoning arts scene, and is the author of the critically acclaimed Urban Flute Project, one of Canada’s most popular music blogs, and his musical versatility is as varied as the locations of his Post-Industrial stealth performances.
Renowned as both musician and visual artist, Jamie explores urban history and architecture while celebrating grass-roots cultural initiatives and organizations. In demand for schoolecture/demonstrations, Jamie is an itinerant instructor with TDSB and has been a guest speaker at U of T’s Rotman School of Management for a Creative Industries class, expounding about his unorthodox and renegade artistic appropriation of public space.
A visual artist and photographer, Jamie is a returning participant in Nuit Blanche (The Residue Group, 2011), Luminato and CONTACT. An active member of Toronto’s Urban Exploring scene, Jamie introduces a haunting, musical component to UE adventures as hidden aspects of our changing urban landscape are documented and explored.
Together with members of The Junction Trio, Jamie has initiated a unique, collaborative “Post-Industrial!” concert series at historic St. Anne’s Anglican Church (Toronto) now in their 5th season. With an interest in period performance practice and a passion for World Flutes, Jamie will be recording “The Acoustic World of Canada’s Group of Seven” with early 20th C. flutes, and has been an adjudicator for Indian Summer Music Awards (ISMA) since 2008.
UR BA N FL UT E , WA RD R OB E . . .
Urban Flute Project Wardrobe selected by:
OTTO Uomo / London, UK
EXILE / Toronto, CANADA
COURAGE MY LOVE / Toronto, CANADA
U RB AN F LU TE CO LL ECT ION . ..
(details regarding the extensive Urban Flute Project collection of Historic and World Flutes available upon request…)
U RB AN PR ES S KI T . . .
(available upon request…)
C UR RIC ULUM VIT AE .. .
(available upon request…)
U RBA N F LU T E P HOT OS . ..
(available on request…)
MOR E A BOUT URBAN FL UTE PR OJE CT . ..
“WE L COM E to UR BA N FL UTE VID EO ” (TR ANS CRI PTIO N )
Hi, my name’s Jamie Thompson, and I’m here under the Pottery Road Bridge in the heart of Toronto. It’s one my favourite places that I’ve discovered as part of my Urban Flute Project, where I take my flute out into the community and look for unusual acoustic spaces to play in. When I first started playing the flute I was introduced to the recording of Paul Horn playing in the Taj Mahal where there is a 17-second echo, and I think that planted the seed of the idea for Urban Flute Project. Some musicians look for a silent space to play in when they’re recording; that can be really wonderful, but I’ve learned to embrace the sounds of the city as my ‘orchestral accompaniment’. I’ve discovered that Urban Flute Project is a really great way to connect with people: there’s an accessibility about it, and it’s led to some really wonderful collaborations with all sorts of different artists. My solo adventures mostly have been based out my hometown which is here in Toronto, and it’s led me to really appreciate the colourful history of the city. I’ve recorded in such places as the abandoned ballroom that’s on the top of the King Edward Hotel, and the Don Jail, which is just down the river here a little ways, as well as the historic Brick Works, which is upstream. And some of the factories: it’s been fascinating going out and recording in some of these abandoned factories because the spaces no longer exist, so I feel like I’m actually creating an acoustic documentation of a temporary space. There’s something really magical about walking in to a new space, especially if, like, it’s like an old abandoned warehouse, where your senses really come alive…and you’re peering into the darkness…you don’t know if anyone else is there, and you’re listening to, you know, you’re listening for footfall, or the creak of floorboards somewhere, maybe the dripping of water from a leaky roof. As I get settled in to a new space, I find that the flute transforms the space with sound. It’s almost like a conversation with the building, where it kind of tells its own stories through my playing. It can be really special going by myself into different spaces, but I’ve really developed a passion for going with some of the Urban Exploring community into urban spaces. I bring sort of a haunting musical element to some of those adventures. I guess the idea with Urban Flute is to transform space with sound. Thanks for watching and I hope you join me as I continue to explore wonderful urban spaces!
BL O oPE R # 1
Music from a couple hundred years ago, that was transcribed by, Lord Simcoe’s wife… $%@# that! (laughter)
That’s a keeper, right?
B L OOp Rr # 2
Thanks for watching and I hope you join me as I contin-to-to … (laughter!)
That’s a blooper!!
“QUO TES” F OR TH e JU NC -
TION T RiO .. .