To open her set, Melody McKiver recalled to her audience that her love of classical music had brought her to the National Arts Centre many times as a listener while growing up in Ottawa. Now, it was her turn to take the stage as a performer. Running her viola through a battery of effects pedals, her loop-based compositions were marked by sound technique: pizzicato playing for lower register bass loops, and string skipping for winding, arpeggiated melodies.
McKiver performed a number of pieces from her recent score for Reckoning, a theatre production from Indigenous activist arts company Article 11 that focuses on experiences in residential schools. Her compositions here were cinematic in their own right. Long, reverb-laden draws of her bow held the audience in silence, at times adding lower, droning notes at the click of a pedal. In more vigorous moments of playing, McKiver's use of dissonance and dynamics created plenty of musical tension.