Cole Knutson wants world-class music for his Saskatchewan. hometown

When Cole Knutson first left North Battleford in 2014, he had already decided that he would one day try to thank his hometown for helping him achieve his dream of becoming a world-class musician.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Residents of Battlefords and surrounding areas also deserve the same quality music they would hear in New York, London, Paris or Berlin. That’s the belief of Cole Knutson, who lives and studies in England and Germany and calls North Battleford his hometown.

When Knutson first left North Battleford in 2014 to attend the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, he had already decided that he would one day try to thank his home community for supporting his dream of becoming a musician. world class.

Knutson says he was so fortunate in the help he received from his family, teachers, mentors and community that the least he could do is take the skills and knowledge they have learned and apply them in a way that shows the community what they have invested in.

At 25, Knutson earned a bachelor’s degree in classical saxophone performance, a master’s degree in music, and a second master’s degree in piano accompaniment performance and is currently pursuing a doctorate.

As he pursued a career and furthered his education abroad, he was able to return home every summer to perform and teach. During the pandemic, recitals were meant to be small, private affairs held primarily at Jackfish Lake venues, but this summer he was able to plan a more public series.

“Now that we look to a future with fewer restrictions, it is safer to host recitals than it has been in the past two summers. I really want to impress audiences, especially after two years of such a vacuum in live music” , says Knutson.

He says he wants his summers at home to allow him to give back musically and artistically in any way possible.

“I’m just starting to find myself in a position where I can try to give back more meaningfully to the artistic sense. I intend to continue to bring these artists from my network back into the Battlefords for the community to enjoy,” he says. “It was part of the whole game plan; get out into the world, hone my craft and meet like-minded young artists who are at the top of their game, then bring them home for the community to enjoy.

Music is for everyone

Deciding to call this summer’s series of recitals the Battlefords Summer Proms, he says as someone studying in the UK, the BBC Proms form an important part of his summer activities.

‘However,’ he says, ‘beyond the association of the BBC Proms and summer classical music festivals, I think the very origin of proms aligns with a lot of my philosophical tenets of sharing the music. A “promenade concert” was designed to allow more relaxation for the public and for the format. Part of a walk was also to get people to get up and move or stand during the show, instead allowing to charge less money for tickets, thus making live music more accessible to people of all walks of life.

Knutson says the Proms in the UK still offer a similar feeling.

“The concerts are really relaxed and there are cheap tickets available for people who must be more money conscious. I remember many picnics in the gallery at the Royal Albert Hall, listening to the greatest artists and orchestras around the world, paying something like £6 for a ticket.

In some parts of the world, Knutson says, classical music has somehow acquired a reputation for stuffiness, pretentiousness, and an atmosphere that isn’t always welcoming to newcomers or those who aren’t necessarily as privileged in a musical education. That’s why he wants to take this opportunity to create an environment that welcomes people who know the repertoire very well and also people who may have never attended a classical music recital. Anyone and everyone is welcome. “That’s also why I decided to enter by donation.” adds Knutson. “It allows people to contribute what they can, no matter their situation. If a member of the public can only offer their time and attention, for whatever reason, they are welcome. It’s more than enough. If a member of the public is able to support us musicians more generously with their donation, then of course they are also welcome. The hope ultimately is to enlighten the community and perhaps begin to change the stigma often associated with this remarkable art form.

The Battlefords Balls

On Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m., Knutson will join North Battleford City Kinsmen Band Artistic Director Chinley Hinacay and Matthew Robinson, accompanying them on piano and joining them on a saxophone trio.

The recital is part of an initiative called “The Prairie Saxophone Initiative”, founded by Hinacay and Robinson with the aim of making the saxophone a household name in the world of classical music.

Scheduled for 2 p.m. at Third Avenue United Church in North Battleford, the recital is part of a tour organized by Hinacay and Robinson to raise funds for their initiative to make the saxophone a household word in the music world. classic. Thus, general admission for this recital is set at $20, students are $10 and those 17 and under are free.

The upcoming recital, to be held at Third Avenue, will feature Knutson with Arlene Shiplett, raised in North Battleford and now a horn player with the Saskatoon Symphony, and Jaya Hoy, also raised in North Battleford and Knutson’s former piano teacher. Knutson will perform on saxophone.

It will take place on Saturday, July 16 at 3 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Jaya Hoy will perform again with Knutson on Saturday July 23 in a piano duo recital. The show starts at 3 p.m.

The final recital of the Summer Proms will take place on Sunday July 31 with trombonist Clara Daly Donnellan. In an evening starting at 7:30 p.m., Knutson will accompany Donnellan.

Knutson says: “Clara has established herself as one of Europe’s leading orchestral trombonists and has an impressive track record as a soloist, having won the equivalent of the National Music Festival in Ireland at the age of 12. She was Ian Bousfield’s longtime protege. , former principal trombonist of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. His teacher, Ian, is considered one of the greatest classical trombonists to ever live and is the highest-grossing classical trombonist in history.

This performance, Knutson says, may be of the highest caliber of play in the Battlefords that has existed in his time as a musician here.

“I feel like the term world class tends to be used hyperbolically,” Knutson says. “Something or someone who is considered world class should, in my view, unless limited by circumstances, be constantly observed on an international platform with a reputation that supports the alleged claim to fame . When I say that and Clara is of world-class caliber, I say that with some degree of certainty.

He adds that his friend Clara is beyond thrilled to come to the Battlefords – and the lake – after hearing so much praise for nearly a decade.