Composed by Tobey during his 850 km trek across northern Spain, The Road to Santiago Suite began as a result of an accidental meeting with a local Spanish conductor. “He saw that I was composing for smaller ensembles and asked me if I’d consider arranging one of the pieces for his orchestra,” said Tobey. “I took it as a challenge and without realizing it, eight hundred kilometers later; I ended up with an entire suite for piano and orchestra!”
And there was plenty of inspiration in Spain for Tobey’s masterwork. “The rhythmic sound of my footsteps on gravel, the pulsations of my heartbeat, the flow of the wind in the windmills, the joyful musings of the wheat fields, the chimes of the church bells, the crackle of the fire, and grumblings of tired pilgrims is the natural music of the Camino. The music is part of the road if you just listen,” explains Tobey.
During his journey, Tobey had the rare opportunity of being welcomed inside the famous 16th century Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos. There he met with Padre Ramon, a monk from the Benedictine Order world-renowned for their Gregorian Chants. Tobey was encouraged by the Padre to perhaps incorporate chanting into his compositions. So he did. The honor of performing these chants at the concert will be special guests The Grand River Chorus.
Tobey’s vision of The Road to Santiago Suite delivers much more than traditional classical music. While still honoring classical tradition, the music is laced with hot Spanish rhythms, folk music, jazz and some wonderful solo piano passages. Samples of Tobey’s symphonic suite can be heard on his website at http://www.paultobey.com/symphony-orchestra.html
“The shear volume of music that I composed wouldn’t have been possible without modern technology. When I think about how composers used to do it with quill and ink, I get bewildered. Imagine carrying that amount of paper across Spain in my backpack,” jokes Tobey.
Armed with a laptop computer and a small 2-octave keyboard Tobey was able to get the job done. “I stuffed more than double the recommended weight in my backpack, 17 kilos worth, and walked an average 25km a day,” said Tobey. He and his Director of Photography, Drew Dekker, also carried video gear to film the journey. Clips from Tobey’s journey will be screened during the live performance.
To attend Brantford Symphony Orchestra’s world-premiere of A Journey Through Spain – The Road to Santiago Suite, tickets can be purchased by calling the Sanderson Box Office at 1.800.265.0710. Tickets are already 60% sold out.
About Paul Tobey
Tobey graduated with a composition degree from Concordia University. As a jazz veteran, Tobey has toured both nationally and internationally with highlight performances in Tokyo, Washington, and Arabia. Tobey’s success was complimented by numerous industry awards and government grants, and an 8 record deal from an American label. Tobey is no stranger to the media who have often compared him to Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson and even JS Bach.
“Paul Tobey finally has revealed himself to a wide international audience to be an outstanding pianist and a group leader who individualistically honors the jazz tradition, even as he extends it.” All About Jazz Magazine
“One of Tobey’s greatest gifts is his ability to improvise piano music in the same league as J.S. Bach and come out sounding like an equal.” Brantford Expositor
“…it came as no surprise to read that Tobey studied with Kenny Barron. I was also reminded of keyboard artists such as Cedar Walton, George Cables and Tommy Flanagan. Like Tobey, each combines prodigious harmonic/melodic and pianistic chops to make music that ins never merely pleasant and unfailingly rich and deep.” – Jazz Weekly
“A legend in the making!” – The Kitchener Record
“An agile, lyrical pianist style hinting at Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock …” — Toronto Star
“His virility and passion recall a young Dodo Marmaros, who routinely combined single notes with five and six note clusters that burst at the seams, at times sounding like an entire brass section.” – Pittsburgh Post
“Tobey plays with absolute assurance throughout, in a manner that has its sources in the harmonic feel of the late Bill Evans and the Keyboard approach of a Chick Corea.” – Opus Magazine