Where do musicians go when they retire from Symphony Nova Scotia?

To find out, recent Symphony Nova Scotia retiree Norman Adams gives us his answer after 27 years with the Symphony as Principal Cellist:

“It’s like they just disappear from view. (Now you see us, now you don’t!)

Well, for me, the answer to this question is pretty simple: I’ll still be here (and other places), I’ll just be on different stages with different artists! It’s not a retirement by any means; it’s more like a refocusing.

I’m what some might call a ‘Type A’ personality, I like to do a lot of things, both in my life and in my art making. For 18 years I’ve been Artistic Director of suddenlyLISTEN Music, a series of concerts and performance projects that present improvised and sometimes experimental music. I am very curious about all sorts of music – performance and collaboration – so I also have my own projects with contemporary dancers, folk musicians, electronic musicians, visual artists, computer programmers, and even a few composers!

But, the decision for me to leave Symphony Nova Scotia was a long and deliberate one. Over the past several years, Symphony Nova Scotia has been getting busier, and on top of that, suddenlyLISTEN and my other activities are beginning to take me further and further across the country and around the world. It was becoming harder and harder to do all three full-time jobs! I just didn’t feel like it was a sustainable plan. So I had a decision to make.

And I made it.

After 27 years or so, I feel like now is the right time for me to step aside. And I will admit, it makes me very happy to be able to give another cellist the opportunity to experience this amazing life and incredible music that has fulfilled and challenged me for so long.

What will I be up to? Well, I just got back from a concert tour to London, Edinburgh, Bologna, and the Venice Biennale with Nicola Baroni, an Italian cellist. In a couple of weeks, I go to Scotland to finish a new piece for cello and computer with Nick Fells, a composer from the University of Glasgow. In December, I’ll be mentoring a young cellist from Vancouver, Marina Hasselberg, on pairing cellos with electronic signal processing; in January, I’ll be performing Mouvance a big piece by Jerome Blais (featuring the amazing soprano Suzie Leblanc) in Halifax and Montréal; in March, I’ll be back in Europe playing with improvisers; in April, I’ll be recording the music of composer Carmen Braden in Wolfville. And between that, I’ll present 12 suddenlyLISTEN events, teach a bit at Acadia University, plan for the future, and maybe even get to play with Symphony Nova Scotia if they need an extra cellist! It’s all pretty exciting.

You can always follow my work and travels on my website normanadams.ca or suddenlylisten.com and through my blog at suddenlylisten.com/the-slog.

See you soon! Warning: I may not be wearing white tie and tails.”