CNMN is set to move to a new level of activity, broadening its impact within the community and within Canadian society – due to the work we have been doing over the past 8 years, and especially due to the work we have done in the past 12 months.
There are several key elements to the growth and success of CNMN. They are:
- Board renewal
- Infrastructure improvements
- Regional discussions
- Bigger and better partnerships – University of Calgary, CAPACOA, CSMDCI
- FORUM 2014 planning
- Long-term vision
All of these elements came together in 2012–2013, making for a very busy and eventful year.
(1) Board Renewal
The new board began work in June 2012. The new board includes several very experienced artists and arts managers, who bring a wealth of knowledge and connections to the CNMN board. This is helping with both the efficiency and effectiveness of the board in getting work done.
The board is also slowly moving from being a “working board” to a mixed “working/governance” board. In the long term, CNMN will be stronger if we have a better infrastructure (paid staff) and if the day-to-day workings of the organisation of the company is not handled by the board. The current board president has functioned as a volunteer CEO for the past 8 years and we are slowly trying to change that model. It is unsustainable, long-term.
(2) Infrastructure improvements
At the very end of our 2011–2012 season, we moved to a more standardized Word Press site. This resulted in adding the task of web site management and publishing to Emily Hall, and for this past season, she has been working well with the new web site that is constantly undergoing modifications and improvements.
We were also able to continue producing the thrice-yearly Bulletin, though it is now produced in a more online-friendly format.
(3) Regional Discussions/Members Meetings
With funding from the last round of Canadian Heritage Creator’s Assistance Programme, CNMN held a round of 6 regional meetings across Canada during the past season. Perhaps some of you attended these meetings. Events were held in Calgary, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Halifax. The meeting styles, content and structure were quite varied, reflecting the diverse regional nature of Canadian culture. Attendance at the meetings was very good, and the quality of the discussions was very informed. The meetings also helped raise CNMN profile in each community, which helped somewhat with membership renewals. There is a lot of information on the regional meetings on the Web site.
(4) Bigger and better partnerships
CNMN has lots of ideas and plans, but we can’t do it all on our own. Building effective partnerships is essential to achieving our goals. This year saw us create 3 great new partnerships.
- The University of Calgary: a full, committed partner to the FORUM 2014, they are investing both facilities and money in the project
- CAPACOA (Canadian Arts Presenting Association): we partnered for the CNMN Ontario Regional Meetings (hosting several panel discussions around the theme of new music), and we all agreed that CNMN and CAPACOA need to build more and closer connections. It is a potential gateway into the mainstream music presenters, which is a huge potential market to develop. Talks are ongoing, with a potential major project being discussed for 2015.
- CSMDDCI (Canadian Specialised Music Dissemination and Digital Content Initiative): this very complex and ambitious project is slowly evolving. It involves building a coalition of 11 major arts/music companies across Canada, and continuing discussion with Canadian Heritage about the role of “specialized music” in the Canadian musical ecology, with specific goals towards the renewal of the Canada Music Fund in 2015.
- It also involves serious arts representation and working with both bureaucrats and elected officials. CNMN has met Canadian Heritage twice, and continues to work with the Canadian Arts Coalition in its large scale arts representation work in Ottawa, including the “Day on the Hill” project, in which we participated last fall 2012.
(5) FORUM 2014 Planning
This FORUM will be our most impressive to date. We are really reaching out to the world, trying to bring Canadian new music to the public around the world. Funding for the event is going well, and I willl give more details on the FORUM and its finances in the update after this official report.
Two new features that have taken a lot of planning are the increased presence of high-level international guests, and the open call for proposals. We have a stupendous list of “A list” presenters confirmed as our invited guests: Soundstreams, The Berlin Philharmonic, Le Festival Why Note (Dijon), the London Sinfonietta (UK) and Miller Theatre (New York). This is a very impressive range of high-end producers to which Canadian new music artists will have face-to-face access for the first time.
This season also saw the inaugural open call for FORUM presentations, which was hugely successful. We received 43 applicants, of which, regrettably, only a few could be chosen for the event. But the quality of the proposals was very high, and it shows a huge need and desire from the community to get the music out there!
Other technical details advanced for FORUM planning last season such as budgets, hotel group rates, technical details, University of Calgary coordination, and of course, writing grant applications. I’d like to take a moment to thank the FORUM 2014 steering committee for their valuable work: John Ried (chair), Laurie Radford, David Eagle, and Bill Jordan and Rob Oxoby, vice dean at the U of C has also been very helpful.
New in the 2012–2013 season, CNMN took a chance and applied for FORUM funding for the first time through FACTOR’s Industry Events. But don’t give results – leave that for post-AGM news!
(6) Long-term vision
In 2012, CNMN articulated a bold vision for Canadian new music: to make new music mainstream. This is, perhaps, overstating the case, and even slightly unrealistic. However, after 8 years as the president, and having spoken to many artists, presenters, producers and educators about what new music is and can be in Canada, it seems very clear to me that Canadian new music has reached a critical point. We have amazing composers, fantastic performers, impressively professional producers and dedicated and imaginative educators.
What is needed is for all of us to work together to make sure that the Canadian public has access to the extraordinary work that our community is doing. What is needed is a way for us to work together to achieve that goal. I believe that CNMN is an important partner in making this happen, and we all need to support its mission.
Creative music making is a truly unique human experience, and every Canadian should know that they too can take part in both the thrill of discovery and the emotional experience that is new music at its best.
CNMN is there to help make it happen.
Tim Brady – Oct. 1, 2013