Improviser-in-Residence 2013 – Rich Marsella
“There’s something special in Guelph, and I want to tap into it and celebrate it with this project.” — Rich Marsella
In the Summer 2013 ICASP and Musagetes Improviser-in-Residence Rich Marsella brought his oddball aesthetic to Guelph. In this role, Marsella facilitated community impact workshops alongside ensemble musical performances, bringing together new approaches to community building and music-making. Marsella’s main focus of his residence in Guelph was an installment and tribute to Russian composers, using Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade dramatically rearranged. The final piece brought together a unique community of artists and others from the City of Guelph (and elsewhere) for a culminating performance at the 20th Anniversary Guelph Jazz Festival in September 2013, at St. George’s Church.
Rich Marsella, known as Friendly Rich, is a composer/ avant-garde musician from Brampton, Canada. His eclectic music has been featured on everything from the CBC to three seasons of MTV’s The Tom Green Show. Since 1994, Marsella has recorded a great deal of material exclusively for his own distinguished record label, The Pumpkin Pie Corporation. He has produced and composed nine full-length albums to date, with much of his music being featured on CBC radio, as well as MuchMusic. He is the founder and Director of the Brampton Indie Arts Festival, an annual event that promotes emerging artists including musicians, poets, and visual artists, held every year since 2000. With his live ensemble, The Lollipop People, Marsella has signed a deal with German record label, Hazelwood Records, and embarked on three European tours, where they released three records.
Currently Marsella is the Director of the Regent Park School of Music, providing a valuable musical outlet to youth-in-need in Toronto. Previously, Marsella had a post in Ottawa as the Artistic Programming Coordinator for the National Capital Commission, helping to see to fruition the Olympic Torch Relay event on Parliament Hill. Marsella has a Master’s degree in music from the University of Toronto, which he completed under the supervision of Dr. Lee Bartel and composer R. Murray Schafer. His main area of focus included instrument construction as well as parade pedagogy. Marsella’s coalescing of community engagement with creative musicianship makes him a perfect fit for the Improviser-in-Residence program.