Helen Pridmore enjoys a career focused on contemporary scored music, experimental music and improvisation. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2012, performing the music of John Cage with the American Symphony Orchestra. Helen launched her solo CD Janet, released in 2012 on the Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs label, with a tour to Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary in 2013. Her CD with clarinetist Wesley Ferreira …between the shore and the ships…, also a Centrediscs release, won an East Coast Music Award for Best Classical Recording in 2013.
With a special interest in new Canadian music, Helen has commissioned and premiered vocal works by Martin Arnold, Emily Doolittle, WL Altman, Helen Hall, and Ian Crutchley. She has premiered vocal music of Derek Charke, John Abram, Monica Pearce, André Cormier, Jim O’Leary and Robert Bauer; and has performed vocal works by composers from across Canada. In the 2015-16 season, she premiered Goya: Opera, with music by WL Altman, libretto by David Fancy and live video by Ian Campbell, in Regina and in Mexico City.
Helen is a frequent guest of Victoria’s acclaimed Aventa Ensemble. In January 2018 Helen was featured in the premiere of Michael Finnissy’s new opera Undivine Comedy, with Aventa. In 2012 she performed the North American premiere of Michael Finnissy’s Whitman, with the composer at the piano, and also worked with Aventa to present works by young composers at the IgNite! Festival. In 2015 Helen performed twice with Aventa, presenting Philippe Leroux’s virtuosic Voi(Rex) in February and premiering a new work by Michael Finnissy in May.
Helen also performed Voi(Rex) with Ensemble 1534, a collective made up of Canada’s finest new music performers, in Ottawa (National Arts Centre) and Toronto (The Music Gallery) in 2013.
With the duo Sbot N Wo Helen creates improvisations in extended voice and electronics. Sbot N Wo has performed across Canada and has been broadcast numerous times; their CD Songs was released in 2015. The duo has also performed in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan.
A strong proponent of interdisciplinary work, Helen performed Mirror with artist Isabella Stefanescu, director Anne-Marie Donovan and computer engineer Klaus Engel, at the Open Ears Festival in Kitchener, ON in 2014 and at the IICSI Improvisation and Mobility Conference in Regina, 2017. Helen’s new collective Femmes5 will be developing new work for singer and dancers, with a premiere performance planned for 2018.
Helen was a member of Motion Ensemble, New Brunswick’s new music group, for more than ten years. Motion premiered many works by Canadian composers, including Martin Arnold, Juliet Palmer, alcides lanza, Sergio Barrosso, Emily Doolittle, Robert Lemay, Richard Gibson, Nicole Lizée, Tim Brady, Moiya Callahan, Michael Oesterle and many others. The ensemble performed across Canada: New Music Concerts Toronto, Sound Symposium, NUMUS, 5 Penny New Music Festival, Western Front, La chapelle du bon Pasteur (Montréal), OK.Quoi?! Contemporary Arts Festival, Scotia Festival, The Music Gallery, and many other venues and festivals. Motion Ensemble has released several CDs, including a contribution to the complete works of John Cage as issued by Mode Records. With Motion2, a trio including three former members of Motion Ensemble, Helen has performed in France and New Brunswick, and toured in western Canada in the fall of 2015.
Helen is also an educator. She holds a B.Mus. from the University of Saskatchewan, a M.Mus. from the University of Toronto, and she earned her D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts) at the Eastman School of Music. Helen also holds a Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance from Trinity College, London (UK). Having taught at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick for 15 years, Helen began a new career at the University of Regina in 2014. There, she continues her busy performing schedule while contributing to the university’s rich program of interdisciplinary studies, teaching in music and creative technologies.
Photo by Ian Campbell