History

Silence was founded in the fall of 2012 to provide an outlet for the presentation and creation of new, creative and non-idiomatic music in the fields of improvisation, electro-acoustics, post-rock, jazz, chamber music, computer music, noise, ambient, sound art and so on. We began with a modest mandate to present approximately a concert a month, with a view of expanding into workshops, improvisation sessions and beyond. Interest in the project has been growing rapidly: since our first concert, we have presented and co-presented well over 400 concerts, workshops, screenings and special events–at no cost for artists. We have also maintained a weekly community-based improvisation session (Morning Music) that welcomed hundreds of people into the performance venue either as players or as audience. This latter practice has been ongoing unbroken for four years (200+ events) and is heading into its sixth year in September 2017. It has also produced one CD with another in the works.

In May 2014 a cooperative of artists/musicians who had been using the space bought the building and established a not-for-profit corporation focused on a wide array of improvisational and experimental musical practices and based on co-creation, community-facing, and co-curatorial principles.

Silence has evolved to include a broader range of genres, including classical, singer-songwriter, alternative folk, and world music, but our focus is still mainly on new, experimental, and improvised  musics. Our partnerships with other local organizations (IICSI: International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, ICASP: Improvisation, Community and Social Practice, Musagetes Foundation, Guelph Jazz Festival, Kazoo!, Black Heritage Society, the Community Music MA at Wilfrid Laurier University) have also been flourishing.

We receive booking requests from all over Canada, the United States and Europe.

Contextual Information

Since its official inception in 2014, Silence has become a unique combination of venue, not-for-profit presenter organization, and incubator of new music practices. Silence developed into a crucial space in which performers can perform, share ideas and musical concepts, and where audiences can access new music (broadly defined as encompassing improvised and composed, experimentalist and avant-garde forms, musique actuelle, electro-acoustics, and so forth) in an intimate yet flexible listening space. The space is wholly artist-owned and artist-directed and has put on an astonishing array of concerts and workshops averaging out at over 150 per year since it has been in operation. Moreover, it has become an important place of encounter where musicians and audiences can explore new musical forms and hear musicians that range from younger players finding their feet to world-class players who are touring internationally.