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FREE drop-in “taster” class for CEL 1

Edmonton, Alberta - Schoen Duo Studio June 23rd, 2018 11:00

CEL = Creative Ensemble Lab

  • Group lesson for students where the emphasis is on improvisation and composition.
  • Any instrument, any age (adults find it just as fun as kids!)
  • CEL 1 – very accessible for ages 3 – 10, but older beginners enjoy it too
  • CEL 2 – reading music is a pre-requisite: we will write down the improvisations to create musical compositions, and learn something about music theory as we work.

FREE drop-in “taster” class for CEL 1

  • Saturday June 23
  • 11 am
  • Schoen Duo Studio

Email us at if you want to come – we need to know how many are coming so we don’t exceed the capacity of our classroom.

New Idea! – Site specific layered compositions

We are very excited about a new approach to composing and arranging that has been evolving in our creative practice. 

Our most recent arrangements have been deconstructing  and recombining various melodies based on a common thread. 

  • In Red River Dances, we went back to the old French, Scots, and Indigenous music and recombined those elements to merge into a traditional Métis fiddle tune. 
  • In l’Homme Armé,  we took the medieval French song “beware the armed man” and used it as a cantus firmus to create a piece that reflected the modern fears of armed conflict and solitary shooters that pervade the media. 
  • In English Songbirds, we take the 17th C  “English Nightingale” and connect it to Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird”
  • In Butter Chicken Poutine, a fast food menu item inspired a combination of Quebecois fiddle tunes played with the accompaniment of tanpura and tabla. 

Our work in historical performance practice has led us to an “archeaological” approach, where the ancient sources of a melody are drawn in as layers to accompany our selected tune. Historical performance practice is usually centred on European music. We started wondering if we could take the same approach to music as it was played in North America  at the same time (c. 1500 – 1700). This led us into research on early colonial music and its interaction with Indigenous traditions. 

We also became intrigued by the work of Pauline Oliveros and other contemporary composers who incorporate aleatoric and improvisational elements plus the sounds already present in the environment as part of the performance of a work. 

So our latest idea is to create site-specific compositions, that begin with the natural sounds already present in the environment and then add subsequent layers of sound and music representing the history of human activity in that area. 

We were also reading Eric Booth on interactive performances, and realized that we could take our years of experience doing composition workshops with students as part of the Artist in Schools Residency program, and use a similar approach to generate input from local residents in a site specific composition project. 

We are making plans to experiment with this idea in some areas in and around where we live. But we also think that this would be a great project for a community residency, so we are open to suggestions on possible locations and sponsors.  

UPDATE: JULY 11, 2017

We just received a grant from the Edmonton Heritage Council to create a piece that uses these ideas! It will reflect the history of the  River Crossings / Rossdale area of Edmonton.  Grateful to the EHC for using public art funding for a performance project. This is going to be a big project with lots of layers of community involvement, so we have created a separate page to chronicle the process. [Read more….]

Fall practice ladder challenge

During the four weeks leading up to the school winter break, we challenged our students to keep track of the number of days they practiced, AND the number of days that they listened to their reference recording. For every day that they did both, practicing AND listening, they earned a rung on our studio practice ladder.

For every 50 rungs on the ladder, we made a donation through the Plan Canada Gifts of Hope  program. Up to 200 rungs on the ladder, we donated baby chicks;  up to 400 rungs, we donated beehives; up to 600, sheep; up to 800, goats, and if they got past 800, we would go for the whole barnyard. 🙂

This year the students built a practice ladder of just over 400 rungs, earning 4 baby chicks and four beehives.  The challenge is to get to the sheep next year 🙂




Cats in the Kitchen Concert

Edmonton, Alberta - King Edward Park Small Hall January 13th, 2018 19:30

An evening of “kitchen music” with the Schoen Duo, ranging from kitchen party fiddle tunes (yes, with spoons) to a new piece by Philip Bimstein called Cats in the Kitchen featuring pre-recorded cat and kitchen sounds.

Early Childhood Music class has openings!

- King Edward Park Small Hall Saturday mornings at 9:30 am

Suzuki Early Childhood Class has openings for new student families!

Drop in anytime  for a free observation class.

Open to all parents with children aged 0-3 years.

Have a newborn? Classes are free until your child is 3 months old.

Registration & Class times and locations

Learn music the same way and the same time as your child learns to speak – easy, fun, and natural! Developmental advantages have been documented in this study.




  • 780-944-4209

About Us:

Thomas & Kathleen Schoen are classically trained performers on both historical and modern flutes and violins. Their repertoire ranges from early music on period instruments to modern works that use phrase sampler loopers and other modern technology. read more


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    Thomas receives Long Service Award from Augustana Faculty U of A

    Thomas receives Long Service Award from Augustana Faculty U of A

    Salterello (excerpt)

    Salterello (excerpt)

    Siciliana (excerpt)

    Siciliana (excerpt)

    Three Reel Studies (excerpt)

    Three Reel Studies (excerpt)

    Red River Dances (excerpt)

    Red River Dances (excerpt)

    Variations on an Old Swedish Folksong (excerpt)

    Variations on an Old Swedish Folksong (excerpt)

    Profile (excerpts)

    In this EP we demonstrate the wide variety of styles we can cover. Medieval and Baroque music on period instruments, modern compositions that recall folk traditions, Native American and Metis melodies, and, of course, a little bit of classical music too.   About the Music: Salterello: This anonymous Italian dance from c.1400 is played on […]