Silence Presents: Norm Adams & Joe Sorbara with Irene Gregorio

Silence Presents: Norm Adams & Joe Sorbara with Irene Gregorio

February 22, 2024

Doors 7:30pm

Show 8pm


Irene Gregorio . solo piano

Norm Adams . cello

Joe Sorbara . table percussion

Join us on Thursday 22 February for a set of solo piano music in the Western Art Music tradition by Dr. Irene Gregorio followed by the ‘tabletop’ duo of cellist Norm Adams and percussionist Joe Sorbara. Irene will perform works by Poulenc, Linda Catlin Smith, Hiromi, Alexina Louie, and others. Norm and Joe will offer a set of highly focused improvisations exploring a large table covered in curious objects that make curious sounds.

Dr. Irene Gregorio enjoys a diverse and active musical life as a pianist, music director and educator. She has collaborated in recital with members of the LA Phil, San Francisco and Toronto Symphony, and served as pianist for the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, LA Opera, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California Chamber Singers. Currently she is Pianist/Musical Assistant of the esteemed Toronto Mendelssohn Choir – one of Canada’s largest and oldest choirs, and has also been on the musical staff of the Ontario Youth Choir and the National Youth Choir of Canada. She has appeared on PBS, CBC Radio 2, and on film soundtracks in the LA area.

Dr. Gregorio has over 15 years of experience in the university setting, serving as staff pianist/faculty in collaborative piano at the campuses of the California State University, East Bay and Los Angeles. Recently she returned to her hometown of Guelph, where she serves as the Director of Music Ministry at Dublin St. United Church, and Sessional Instructor of Piano at the University of Guelph. She has earned diplomas in organ and choral conducting from the Royal Canadian College of Organists. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, University of Michigan and University of Western Ontario, where she earned the Gold Medal in Piano Performance.

She believes that music is a powerful agent for social justice, and has been actively involved in community outreach and education programs with groups such as Street Symphony in Los Angeles, a non-profit organization that creates musical connections with homeless and incarcerated communities in Skid Row and beyond. A proud Filipina-Canadian, she has served her community as a board member of the Centre for Filipino Studies and the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles.

An avid foodie and beginner triathlete, she enjoys salsa dancing, latin jazz, languages, and loves to be with her family, husband Nicholas and two wonderful children, Kali and Lila. Her late brother, conductor and singer, Dr. Dominic Gregorio, was a tremendous force in her musical life, and she feels incredibly blessed to have a life in music, playing with colleagues and students, who are a constant source of beauty and inspiration.

Cellist Norm Adams and percussionist Joe Sorbara first came together as a duo in the fall of 2022. As organisers in Canadian creative experimental music scenes and performing musicians with myriad shared collaborators, they had know one another for decades. Now it was time to really meet, time to convene in the music.

Norm travelled from Halifax, Joe from Toronto, and the two met in Guelph, Ontario. They played and talked for three days straight and, despite finding a real connection, failed to find the sound of their collaboration. There were too many possibilities.

Sure that they were on to something, they met again in Halifax the following spring and retreated to the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts for another three days of exploration. Individually, they had both come to an understanding that this duo called for an adjustment: something foundational needed to shift in order to contain and define the work they would do together as a duo. Upon landing at the Halifax airport, Joe asked Norm to cancel plans to rent a drum kit because a suitcase full of… stuff was going to be spread out on a tabletop instead. Norm laughed, shook his head, and described the new tabletop cello setup he had been working on. The uncanniness of the Adams/ Sorbara collaboration had been unveiled.The time spent at Ross Creek was the impetus for tremendous growth and development for Norm and Joe, both individually and as a duo. They found a sound world to focus on that was engaging enough so that the wider sonic universe could be tuned out. And they discovered that the birds-eye-view from above their tables offered a compelling visual element to their work when projected onto the wall behind them.

The development continues with each meeting as a new chapter; a conscious, contingent, open exploration of “what comes next? and what does it sound like?”.