Arts & Life

Cluster of dynamic sounds

Preview of Cluster: New Music + Integrated Arts Festival

March 9-16, 2013

Urban Shaman Galler

Cluster: New Music + Integrated Arts Festival is entering its fourth year, and it promises to be more explosive than ever — which is saying something, considering in previous years Cluster has hosted a multi-floor warehouse art spectacle, produced three new operas, and had guests from as far as the UK, Germany, New York, etc.

This Hisses (local band performing at Cluster's After Hours show on Saturday, March 16)
This Hisses (local band performing at Cluster’s After Hours show on Saturday, March 16)

Co-founders and directors Heidi Ouellette and Luke Nickel are both born and bred Winnipegers as well as graduates of the music program at the University of Manitoba. The duo started Cluster: New Music + Integrated Arts Festival in 2010 as a way to bring the city’s thriving and diverse arts community together.

This year’s musical guests include Winnipeg favourites such as Mise en Scene, This Hisses, Claire Morrison, and Slattern, as well as visiting artists Lori Freedman (bass clarinet superstar) and Sarah Albu (Montreal’s storytelling soprano extraordinaire). One of the most exciting additions is Berlin-based installation designer TSAWORKS, who will create a giant mass of geometric cardboard clouds that will form the stage for all the events taking place in the festival space, Urban Shaman Gallery (unveiled Thursday, March 14th). The structure will also serve as a multi-faceted screen for projections, creating a shifting backdrop of glitched-out images.

Lori Freedman (guest artist, performing Friday March 15)
Mise en Scene (also performing at Cluster’s Pop + Noise opening night, Saturday March 9)
Claire Morrison (performing at Cluster’s Pop + Noise opening night, Saturday, March 9)

Other highlights are Montreal-based chamber ensemble Paramirabo, who will be premiering a set of new Canadian compositions, BC composer James O’Callaghan who will dazzle audiences by playing amplified library books (no harm done, he swears!), local artist David Storen’s noise instrument ‘The Sound Brush’ made up of balloons and vacuums, and the debut of a new local pop/noise duo The Gritty, featuring singer Sarah Kirsch and VJ jaymez.

Cluster kicks off this Saturday, March 9th at 9:00 p.m. with the Pop + Noise Opening Night at Urban Shaman Gallery, and continues with events at the gallery March 14th, 15th, and 16th at 8:00 pm each night. Come early for the concerts, and stay late for the after hours parties. A full listing of Cluster’s events can be found at the festival’s website:

Tickets: $10 student / $15 adult. Festival pass: $25 student / $40 adult

Available at McNally Robinson Booksellers, or by contacting Cluster: call (204) 223-9939 or email