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Unconventional musician


Musician, composer and educator Kathryn Ladano’s new CD, Open, will officially launch September 24 at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre, known locally as the Button Factory.

Kathryn, MMus’03, has wanted to release a CD and share her music for years and her successful application for funding through the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund has made it all possible.

As a bass clarinetist, Kathryn is using Open to share a bit of everything she does with her listeners and hopes to attract new ones too. “My music is diverse and Open features a bit of everything that I do,” she says.

Open includes two each of trios, duos and solos. Italian composer Dan Di Maggio, who found Kathryn via the Internet and offered to compose a piece–Artoxinovix–for her, is also featured. Artoxinovix is 90 per cent composed with a short improv section. The second solo is an autobiographical piece in five movements called The Taste of Time Still Lingers, and Kathryn purposely titled it in Italian. “I didn’t want to spell out what I was feeling. I wanted to leave room for interpretation.”

Kathryn’s music features a lot of free improvisation, which has no rules or structure and “it’s all about listening,” with plenty of room for interpretation.

Another piece on the CD, Ladano, was written a fellow U of C alumna, Veronica Tapia, PhD'06, as part of her master’s degree. Kathryn performed Ladano several times in Calgary and a well-known bass clarinetist, Harry Sparnaay, has performed it all over the world.

The last piece on the CD, Evil Kirk, was originally supposed to be a hidden track. It features Kathryn’s brother and pays homage to Star Trek, especially Captain Kirk.

Kathryn considers herself fortunate to live in a community like Waterloo that supports the arts. She has lived in larger centres like Toronto and Montreal, but she thinks Waterloo’s small-community feel fosters the artistic community.

With three major Canadian universities, the headquarters for Research In Motion and impressive arts funding from various levels of government and private business, Waterloo is a nurturing and supportive place for artists. 

It’s also a great place for artists in training, many of whom Kathryn teaches Musical Skills and Improvisation at Wilfred Laurier University’s music program. “I can relate to my students. I’ve chosen an unconventional career path and to specialize in an unusual instrument. What I’ve learned is not to worry about who will hire me, but to just love what I do.”

Kathryn is hoping to tour Canada with her new CD, but she hasn’t finalized her dates yet. To keep apprised of her concert dates and learn more about her music, visit