Improv Fest 2021

Join us this August for Improv Fest 2021: an all-day, all-night, online celebration of improvised art. It’s a testament to the resilience of artists during a distinctly challenging chapter in our communal history, and a celebration of the magic of spontaneous creation. It’s proof that, in life as in artistic expression, we are always finding a way out of no way.

This free, 24-hour festival will feature over 150 international performers of all disciplines—music, dance, theatre, poetry, visual arts, and more—showcasing new, improvised works. Improv Fest 2021 is put on by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation along with our wonderful array of sponsors from around the world.

The Hillside Festival is pleased to co-present Tyler Bridge’s improvisation on bagpipes at Improv Fest 2021.

Tyler Bridge: Uisge beatha / The Water of Life

This piece is in the style of a Scottish piobaireachd (pi-brock). Translated from Gaelic, piobaireachd means “pipe music” and has come to represent the classical form of music for the highland bagpipe. Piobaireachd is characterized by a thematic melody and several variations that get progressively more complex. At the climax of the final variation, the player must return to the original melody. Piobaireachds have been meticulously notated and preserved since the 1800s and are primarily heard in solo bagpipe competitions where any divergence from the accepted form of a specific tune, either accidental or intentional, can mean that the player is not considered for a prize. Contrary to convention, this piece uses form, technique, articulation, and tonality borrowed from an intimate understanding of traditional piobaireachd but is improvised from start to finish. This represents the essential elements of the traditional music but contains no direct reference to the existing piobaireachd canon.

Tyler Bridge is a music educator and professional musician based in Guelph, Ontario. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph where he studied jazz guitar. He is the current Pipe Major of the Guelph Pipe Band and competes regularly on the professional solo piping circuit in Ontario. 

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