Zap! A Tribute to Edmonton

Zap! A Tribute to Edmonton
"This summer was the right time for me to go outside with this piece in all these locations – all the way from the street corner to the most formal outdoor stage – and just profess my love for Edmonton, and for the way we’ve been able to go out in communities and share music. I’m super grateful for this opportunity."
- Laura Veeze, ESO Violin I

Music brings people together, particularly during difficult times. When COVID-19 began, and musicians found themselves unable to share the beauty and power of live music, they began to feel lonely. That is why, when composer Claude Lapalme, reached out to his musician colleagues and offered to write a solo piece for anyone who would like one, Laura Veeze contacted him immediately.

“Claude got a lot of musicians responding, because it’s the perfect thing: getting a piece that’s inspired by and written for you. It’s just a fabulous thing that he was doing. This is the most wonderful gift that Claude has given me, and so many of our colleagues,” she said.

Zap!, the piece that Claude wrote for Laura, was technically difficult – challenging, energetic, and feisty. After a long, hard 18 months, she felt that this summer was the right time to give this piece its life; to play it, and share it with the public.

Laura wasn’t born in Edmonton, but she is delighted to call it home, and wanted to share her love for its energy and beauty through the video for Zap! “The pandemic had forced us outside of the Winspear and into outdoor locations, into tiny audience settings – backyards, parks, and more. I wanted to express how completely wonderful it has been for us to play in these locations. It was for me, a turning point, in which I realized what music can mean, and does mean, for our community,” says Laura.

The locations for the Zap! video were carefully selected by Laura, Cosette Justo Valdés, and the production team, to showcase some of Laura’s favourite places in Edmonton. The Amphitheatre at Hawrelak Park was an obvious choice, since the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra was about to make a triumphant return to that stage with Symphony Under the Sky – the first time in over 18 months that the orchestra had played together. The Amphitheatre holds a special place in the hearts of all Edmontonians and ESO members.

“The Walterdale Bridge and the hill is absolutely one of my favourite places in Edmonton,” Laura says. “Running down the hill, sledding there with the kids, driving across the bridge - I love how it feels like the heart of the city. There’s so much green around, but you can still feel the bustling energy from the city as well.”

When asked what she loved most about Zap!, Laura said that “I love how it contrasts this very much energizing and virtuosic bookends of the piece with the almost suspended feeling of the middle section, which is very still and magical. I feel that it’s very story-like, with these phrases and rhythmic pulses alongside beautiful, melodic, lyrical sections.”

Of course, no piece of music lives in one form forever, and Laura has grand plans for future iterations of Zap!. “It’s fantastic now that the piece is alive, and I hope that it’s going to have a long life. I’m certainly working on some very interesting future versions of the piece.”

Watch the Zap! video below: