Welcome

Parmela Attariwala interweaves life as a performer, researcher and music educator. A performance graduate of Indiana University, she trained asa classical-era specialist in Switzerland, and as an ethnomusicologist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in England. Today, her performance practice traverses genres from Bach through the avant-garde, including experimental opera, fiddle, rock, free improvisation and non-Western crossovers. In 1995, Parmela created the Attar Project as a vehicle to perform and create with musicians and artists from non-Western and non-classical forms.

Parmela has released three critically acclaimed albums that defy the boundaries of genre. Her first album, Beauty Enthralled (1997), features Harry Somers' monumental "Music for Solo Violin", as well as new works performed with tabla player Ravi Naimpally and ghazal singer Kiran Ahluwalia. Sapphire Skies (2003), features Parmela's own compositions and collaborations with James CampbellEd Hanley and the Penderecki QuartetThe Road Ahead … (2010) isa collection of commissioned works for violin and tabla, performed with Montreal-based tabla player, Shawn Mativetsky.

Parmela also works extensively in dance as a composer and movement artist. Before undertaking a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, Parmela regularly performed in Toronto's pit  and music theatre orchestras, including ten full seasons with the National Ballet Orchestra of Canada, and 25 seasons with the Esprit Orchestra.

In addition to being a creative and performing artist, Parmela works as an arts equity consultant and researcher, specializing in the intersections of art, identity, politics, and social justice in Canada. A cohort of the Toronto Arts Leaders Lab and an associate of Brandon University's Institute for Research in Music and Community, Parmela uses her research to advocate for contemporary Canadian socio-cultural ideas and artistic creation, both locally and globally. 

Parmela has taught violin and viola for over three decades, both privately and through institutions. Since completing her Ph.D., she has taught young adults at York University, but has also worked for many years with younger students at Toronto's inner city music school, the Regent Park School of Music. Though trained in violin pedagogy by Mimi Zweig, Parmela does not subscribe to a single approach to learning violin, particularly for older students. Rather, she sees her role as an educator as that of inspiring students to love playing, to play the music they want to play, and to want to continue honing their skills on their instrument. Parmela draws upon the breadth of her own musical experience to engage students in the manner best suited to their mode of learning. 

In 2019, Parmela moved to Vancouver in order to spend more time creating, writing, and being outdoors.

"Re-sounding the Orchestra" live!

"Re-sounding the Orchestra", the research report commissioned by Orchestras Canada and co-authored by Soraya Peerbaye and I has been officially released today. 

The report is based on 16 months of research, including interviews and roundtables with more than 40 people…

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Against Nature - 5 star review!

Having traversed this extraordinary country two months ago in order to make a new home on its west coast, late spring finds me back in Toronto. I'm here for a remounting of James Kudelka, Alex Poch-Goldin and James Rolfe's extraordinary--and…

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Two decades in

Hard to believe that we're two decades into the second millennium.  And twenty-five years since I landed in Toronto, intending only to kill the length of time necessary to renew my visa to the UK ... and perhaps make a…

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Ghosts of the Woolly Mammoths Roar

I can't quite believe that 2017 has come and gone! I spent a wonderful semester in Brandon last winter, experiencing (and enjoying!) what it was like to have a singular workplace, from which to pursue a multi-faceted job of lecturing…

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Omnivorous Listening Blog

I am back in Toronto after a wonderful winter semester sojourn at Brandon University. And really, the winter wasn't so bad. It was actually a relief to go through a winter of sunny, cold days and clean air instead of…

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Hello, Brandon!

Winter 2017 finds me in beautiful, snowy Brandon, Manitoba as the Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professor in Public Policy. What can I say? It's my dream gig: thinking about and conducting research on policy, social justice, equity and music, plus…Read more

Spring, nature and movement

Spring has finally arrived in Toronto. After a mild winter, I'd been looking forwards to a long, lovely spring; but no. Winter decided to show up after all: in April!

Under the superficial layer of snow and frozen grass, life…Read more

Recognition for "Under Milk Wood, an opera"

The highlight of 2014 for me was performing in the premiere of Under Milk Wood, an opera. John Metcalfe composed the music to text based upon Dylan Thomas' radio play of the same name. Under Milk Wood has been nominated…Read more

Previous events

May31

Against Nature

The Citadel

Citadel & Compagnie remounts "Against Nature", a dance-opera inspired by Huysen's book. choreography by James Kudelka libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin and music by James Rolfe

featuring Alex Dobson, Laurence Lemieux and Koren Thomas-Smith Attariwala-Reeves-Philcox piano trio

May30

Against Nature

The Citadel

Citadel & Compagnie remounts "Against Nature", a dance-opera inspired by Huysen's book. choreography by James Kudelka libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin and music by James Rolfe

featuring Alex Dobson, Laurence Lemieux and Koren Thomas-Smith Attariwala-Reeves-Philcox piano trio

May29

Against Nature

The Citadel

Citadel & Compagnie remounts "Against Nature", a dance-opera inspired by Huysen's book. choreography by James Kudelka libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin and music by James Rolfe

featuring Alex Dobson, Laurence Lemieux and Koren Thomas-Smith Attariwala-Reeves-Philcox piano trio

May24

Against Nature

The Citadel, 304 Parliament St., Toronto

Citadel & Compagnie remounts "Against Nature", a dance-opera inspired by Huysen's book. choreography by James Kudelka libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin and music by James Rolfe

featuring Alex Dobson and Laurence Lemieux

May23

Against Nature

The Citadel, 304 Parliament St., Toronto

Citadel & Compagnie remounts "Against Nature", a dance-opera inspired by Huysen's book. choreography by James Kudelka libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin and music by James Rolfe

featuring Alex Dobson and Laurence Lemieux

May22

Against Nature

The Citadel, 304 Parliament St., Toronto

Citadel & Compagnie remounts "Against Nature", a dance-opera inspired by Huysen's book. choreography by James Kudelka libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin and music by James Rolfe

featuring Alex Dobson and Laurence Lemieux

Parmela Attariwala, presented by NUMUS

Kitchener, Ontario

I will be performing three of my solo works for choreographed violin, including "Piercing Embrace" and "Frank" (choreographed by Gitanjali Kolanad), and a new work (choreographed by Kelly Arnsby).

Against Hungry Listening--Listening and Love

Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, 36 University Ave, Kingston, Ontario

Part of a listening series connected to the exhibition "Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts" that challenges the ubiquitous consumption of music, including notable composers, musicians, scholars and artists discussing de-colonial, queer, feminist, black and Indigenous-specific forms of listening. This is a free and evolving event series.

I will be creating music (in real-time) to Peter Morin's video scores, "Listening and Love"

For more information see https://agnes.queensu.ca/event/details/against-hungry-listening/?platform=hootsuite

Jan20

Esprit Orchestra

Koerner Hall, Toronto

"Constellations" with music by Toshio Hasakawa, Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, Claude Vivier, and Christopher Goddard

This concert will mark my 25th year playing with Esprit Orchestra; my first concert having taken place in February 1994. How time flies!

May31

Orchestras Canada IDEA declaration, background research and reflections; presented by Soraya Peerbaye and Parmela Attariwala

Calgary

May19

Challenging equity in Canadian orchestras: Is Change Possible?--Muscan Conference Paper

Grant MacKewan University--Downtown campus, Edmonton

Canadian University Music Society 2018 Conference. "Challenging equity in Canadian orchestras" draws upon research undertaken for Orchestras Canada through 2017-2018. In this paper, I will problematize the ethical issues confronting Canadian orchestras in a post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission era; most significantly, the perpetuation of cultural colonialism and exoticism in Western art music's advocacy and marketing strategies. These are issues that will also affect, and ultimately, disrupt the prerogatives of Western classical music's training institutions in Canada.

Nov29

The Brownies

The Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave., Toronto

The Brownies are: Nicole Rampersaud, trumpet Nilan Perera, guitar Parmela Attariwala, violin with guest Rakesh Tewari, drums

It's been years since we last shared our sepia tones with Toronto... $10 or pwyc

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