Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra
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Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra

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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rage Against the Mainstream - feature article in the Toronto Star (August 07)"

"The composer is more a 21st-century incarnation of the 19th-century Romantic who wants to have as many people as possible hear what he has to say in music.

Everything the band performs is by the composer's hand. It is an engaging, wonky mix of classical minimalism, art punk and early Brian Eno-inspired electronica translated into an acoustic medium.

"You can hear Franz Schubert, Philip Glass and David Byrne," says Mueller-Heaslip about his musical aesthetic. There is something caustically off-balance at work, too – an echo of Kurt Weill's ironic voice from Weimar-era Germany. "I see what I do as an extension of the chamber Lieder-salon world. I work with a small, mobile force, like Chopin and Schubert."

Mueller-Heaslip and many of the band members lived in the Parkdale-High Park neighbourhood when the band formed two years ago. "I was composing and working as a bicycle courier at the time."

The "revolutionary" aspect of the band's name comes from Mueller-Heaslip's desire to break through the invisible barrier around contemporary classical music. Like many young artists and listeners, the composer thinks the new music scene is too insular.

Unlike many fellow sonic warriors, you won't find Mueller-Heaslip onstage at one of the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra's monthly gigs at the Tranzac Club or Clinton's. He is the creative force, leaving performing to wife Kristin (soprano voice), Alex Cheung (violin), Kerri McGonigle (cello), Jennifer Wardle (soprano sax), Michael Kaler (bass) and Michael "Rosie" Rosenthal (drums)."

-John Terauds - The Toronto Star

"Now Magazine - review of 'Truth in the Dark' CD"

November 2007:

Review of Truth in the Dark in Now Magazine

"The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra, an esoteric six-piece chamber ensemble, aren't likely to be booked at the Four Seasons Tea Room.

The PRO are a challenging brew of classical, art rock, opera and punk, which looks nightmarish on paper but occasionally works. Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip's arrangements are unique and uncompromised, taking on music snob favourites like Wire and Brian Eno as well as Kurt Weill. His band, violinist Alex Cheung, saxophonist Jennifer Wardle and rhythm section Michael Kaler and Mike Rosenthal, competently keep up with each song's shifting shape and form."

-Benjamin Boles

- Now Magazine

"Eye Magazine - review of 'Truth in the Dark'"

"Supported by cello, violin and saxophone, Kristin Mueller-Heaslip's operatic delivery is the focus of this chamber-pop ensemble. The PRO players successfully meld Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip's dramatic, arrangements into concise little rock rhythms. Benjamin weaves together overlapping hooks into a rich harmonic tapestry, and the rhythm section occasionally steps out from behind the arrangements, as on their cover of Wire’s 'Comet'."

- David Dacks - Eye Magazine

"Review of The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra EP"

"Take new music opera, reduce the instrumentation to a manageable and mobile six-piece group and play bars, not stuffy, self-important venues for the self-appointed intelligensia, and you've got a handle on the 'revolutionary' part of the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra. Founded in 2006 by composer/lyricist Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip, the group has two strings, soprano saxophone, drums and bass, and soprano vocalist Kristin Mueller-Heaslip.

The eponymously-titled EP features 4 representative pieces from the ensemble's considerable repertoire. The first song, "Imposter", based on lyrics by darkster Karl Mohr, features a melodic line passionately delivered by Kristin over Reich/Glass-like ostinato string lines. Soprano saxophonist Jennifer Wardle's crystal clear tone imbues "Recurrents" with a glistening sheen as string lines form a tapestry of shimmering patterns.

In a musical genre known for feeding from government grant troughs, the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra is making a bold and courageous statement by bypassing established outlets and playing for audiences where they go to have fun and a little adventure. What a concept!"

-Glen Hall, Exclaim! Magazine - Exclaim! Canada's Music Authority


2007: Truth in the Dark (released October 07)
2006: Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra - EP

Streaming tracks at:



The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra is a unique composite: acclaimed vocalist Kristin Mueller-Heaslip supported by the precise waves of strings, a frenetic / melodic saxophone, and a drums and bass section comprised of hardcore musicians. The result is an organism both complex and primal, drawing on the sophisticated harmonic and textural possibilities of composed music as well as the intuitive pulse of improvisation.

"It has been suggested to me that there is an influence from such people as Phillip Glass and Godspeed You Black Emperor- which is certainly true. But this is an evolution of that school, not merely a member of it...”

-Justin Beach, Public Broadcasting

More biographical information- as well as critical response and reviews, performance history, photos, and music samples- is available at the website linked below.