Carol Gimbel celebrating her production #1000Strings, a one-time only participatory performance of composer John Oswald's composition Spectre at Young-Dundas Square in Toronto.  Photo credit Sean Waisglass

Carol Gimbel celebrating her production #1000Strings, a one-time only participatory performance of composer John Oswald's composition Spectre at Young-Dundas Square in Toronto. Photo credit Sean Waisglass


The Creators: Carol Gimbel

A conversation with creator Carol Gimbel, violist, founder and artistic director of Music in the Barns.



A\J: Can you tell us a bit about you and your art?

Carol Gimbel: I am a performer, producer and director. My passion is to explore the realm where the traditional and experimental meet. I find that the traditional is vitalized by drawing from and/or being juxtaposed with the experimental. The experimental’s roots are exemplified and thus enhanced next to the traditional. In bringing the two together, both should be preserved only so as to re-frame or utilize the other as a vehicle to enlivening an experience.

What does spirituality mean to you?

CG: Being an artist and creating art is a spiritual path – one in which we learn about ourselves, reflect on all levels of life, humanity, and express the “something more,” the “unspeakables”, the depths.

Does nature play a role in your art?

CG: My next production, Song of Extinction, reflects deeply on our human impact on the world around us. Nature, the beauty and laws of nature, human nature, the beauty and predicament of the human experience are all reflections deeply rooted in composition – for example the works of Bach or Beethoven. As we move through to current composition and performance we are reflecting our world around us, which also includes incorporating advanced technology, sound art including samples from nature and pop culture.

What role, if any, does hope play in your art?

CG: Hope is very important. Hope goes hand in hand with faith. First, we must believe in what is speaking through us as an artist. Many times this faith is the only shred we have to continue doing our work

Stephen Bede Scharper, a columnist for the Toronto Star, is an associate professor with the Centre for Environment at the University of Toronto. He is author of Redeeming the Time: A Political Theology of the Environment and co-editor of The Natural City: Re-Envisioning the Built Environment.


Carol Gimbel- Artistic Director, Music in the Barns


By Sharon Lee | December 2012

Carol Gimbel’s series, Music in the Barns, is the result of 8-9 years of brainstorming and seeing ideas evolve. Prior to her move to Toronto, Carol spent several years in New York City, where she partook in an artist collective. This experience served as the basis for creating something extraordinary in Toronto.

Carol’s keen interest in chamber music and music of our time has led the ensemble to some very memorable collaborations including giving the Toronto premiere of a string quartet written by Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, which they will be performing again on March 1st at the Academy of Lions as part of the Canadian Music Centre’s New Music in New Places Festival.

The series has some honest grassroots beginnings with the first concert having been enabled by a private sponsor for a private concert, and the rest snowballing from that. They advanced rather quickly, receiving a Canada Council grant for their final concert last season.

Only in its second season, Music in the Barns opens its series with a thought-provoking program that ties together otherwise unrelated aspects of the world we live in.

Carol uses the date of the concert, December 8th, as inspiration for her programming. December 8th marks the first day of Hanukkah, as well as the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. John Lennon’s death is commemorated by the Imagine Peace Tower, consisting of 15 searchlights, created for him by Yoko Ono.

Entitled “Light,” the program explores presence and absence of light (because one is indistinguishable without the other), featuring works by Stravinsky, Arvo Pärt, Xenakis and Crumb.

Joining the Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble is percussionist David Schotzko, who will enjoy a separate stage for a number where the audience is welcome to get out of their seats and swarm him. The percussion set-up serves as an art instillation when not being performed.

While planning the program, Carol took a trip to NYC where she caught the ‘Creatures of Light’ exhibition, which explores the world of bioluminescence at the Museum of Natural History. Projected images bioluminescent creatures, such as jellyfish and fireflies, will accompany the performance on December 8th. Cash bar on site.

Keep up to date on concerts via their website.