Outgoing President’s Report / Season 2013–14, Tim Brady

Tim Brady

This will be my last president’s report, as most of you are aware.  2013 – 2014 was a huge­ly suc­cess­ful year for CNMN, so it is with great plea­sure that I present you the “high­lights” of what was our most active and dynam­ic sea­son. “Go out with a bang” as they say!

The year start­ed very quick­ly with an unplanned but excit­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Mon­tréal-based CINARS (Inter­na­tion­al Exchange for the Per­form­ing Arts) and the UK-based IAMA (Inter­na­tion­al Arts Man­agers’ Asso­ci­a­tion). In late August, at the very last minute, they asked CNMN to organ­ise a whole series of Cana­di­an new music con­certs as part of the IAMA con­fer­ence to be held in Mon­tre­al in Novem­ber.  Amaz­ing­ly, we organ­ised an open call to mem­bers (with 53 appli­ca­tions!), juried the sub­mis­sions, and got the whole project organ­ised in 12 days.  It was, frankly, an insane effort, and much of the cred­it for its suc­cess­ful pro­duc­tion goes to our admin­is­tra­tive direc­tor, Emi­ly Hall.  The event includ­ed many show­cas­es and per­for­mances, as well as a work­shop on new music, and they were great­ly appre­ci­at­ed by IAMA, CINARS, and all del­e­gates, espe­cial­ly the inter­na­tion­al par­tic­i­pants. Many of them came up to me dur­ing the event and said they had no idea there was so much new music in Cana­da, and that it was of such high quality.

This project was fund­ed by a spe­cial project grant from the Cana­da Coun­cil, who great­ly appre­ci­at­ed the efforts and effi­cien­cy of CNMN.

This col­lab­o­ra­tion was so suc­cess­ful that CNMN and IAMA are team­ing up on anoth­er, small­er, project this Novem­ber in Mon­tre­al. This new col­lab­o­ra­tion is at the request of IAMA, who will be pay­ing almost all the costs!

While this IAMA project was going on, we were also plan­ning for the FORUM, which was held in Cal­gary in Jan­u­ary, 2014. Fund­ing for this event was very strong, as we were able to get a new fund­ing stream from FACTOR as well as through the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary. The U of C was able to add sig­nif­i­cant cash and in-kind fund­ing to our bud­get, through both inter­nal grants and a spe­cial, tar­get­ed SSHRC grant.  The bud­get for the FORUM was around $84,000 – a huge increase over past FORUMs, which tend­ed to hov­er around $35,000.

With this extra fund­ing we were able to bring in five very high-pro­file guests, who added a crit­i­cal dimen­sion to the project. The spe­cial guests were: Lawrence Cher­ney (Sound­streams Cana­da), Andrew Bruke (Lon­don Sin­foni­ett­ta – UK), Patri­cia Ros­ner (Berlin Phil­har­mon­ic Media), Melis­sa Smey (Mil­let The­atre, NYC) and Nico­las Thi­ron (Fes­ti­val Whynote – France).

Our increased bud­get meant that we were also able to help cov­er the trav­el costs of many more del­e­gates, which gave us our biggest atten­dance ever at a FORUM – over 150 par­tic­i­pants.  Our for­eign guests were quite impressed with the size and scope of the new music com­mu­ni­ty in Cana­da, and with the qual­i­ty of both the FORUM’s pro­duc­tion and its larg­er vision of cre­ative music.

The sense of excite­ment and ener­gy was pal­pa­ble at the event – the FORUM had a per­fect bal­ance of round table dis­cus­sions, open net­work­ing events, and focused work­shops and pre­sen­ta­tions.  The Rosza Cen­tre at U of C was the ide­al place for the event, with a great con­cert hall, and sev­er­al meet­ings rooms, all in the same build­ing, lit­er­al­ly 30 sec­onds from the hotel. Even the weath­er coop­er­at­ed – from Thurs­day to Sat­ur­day, it was so warm we did not even real­ly need to wear coats!  On Sun­day, win­ter returned, so it was clear­ly time to go.

After the FORUM, CNMN start­ed work­ing on six main tasks: Suc­ces­sion plan­ning for the change of Pres­i­dent, plan­ning for the New Music Ini­tia­tive 2015 with CAPACOA, Jan­u­ary 2015 in Hal­i­fax, updat­ing the CNMN bylaws, con­tin­ued work for the Dig­i­tal Con­tent Ini­tia­tive, pre-plan­ning FORUM 2016, and day-to-day matters.

Here’s a brief overview of these 6 tasks:

  • After dis­cus­sions with sev­er­al CNMN board mem­bers, Kyle Bren­ders, an ON rep­re­sen­ta­tive, agreed to take on the Pres­i­den­cy of CNMN start­ing at the end of AGM 2014, fol­low­ing a vote of the mem­bers. I (Tim Brady) will stay on the board, to help ensure con­ti­nu­ity and cor­po­rate memory.
  • CAPACOA (the largest net­work of pre­sen­ters in Cana­da) has asked CNMN to be a spe­cial part­ner at their Jan­u­ary 2015 con­fer­ence in Hal­i­fax, cre­at­ing a main focus on New Music. We’ve called this the New Music Ini­tia­tive 2015. This is an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand our con­tacts to over 250 main-stage pre­sen­ters across Cana­da. This is a big step for­ward for the community.
  • Changes in fed­er­al not-for-prof­it leg­is­la­tion meant that we had to update and sub­mit our bylaws to Indus­try Cana­da. Most of the changes are sim­ple, tech­ni­cal details, but we took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand the CNMN board from 12 to 15 mem­bers, to add anoth­er seat for BC, and to add 2 “non-region­al” board mem­bers. This new board struc­ture will take effect in the 2016 election.
  • CNMN received a $20,000 “Lead­er­ship for Change” grant from the Cana­da Coun­cil to pur­sue our Dig­i­tal Con­tent Initiative.
  • The next FORUM (Ottawa, Jan­u­ary 2016) plan­ning is grad­u­al­ly under­way. Dis­cus­sions with local part­ners have begun (the Nation­al Arts Cen­tre, the Ottawa New Music Cre­ators, Ottawa Uni­ver­si­ty and Car­leton Uni­ver­si­ty). CNMN has proven that it is an effec­tive and effi­cient FORUM organ­is­er, and FORUM 2016 will build on the suc­cess and vision of the six pre­vi­ous editions.

There are also the day-to-day mat­ters for CNMN – sell­ing mem­ber­ships, doing the thrice-year­ly Bul­letin, writ­ing grants, doing the book­keep­ing, etc.  For a very small and still rel­a­tive­ly young organ­i­sa­tion, CNMN man­ages to do all this with great effi­cien­cy.  Or per­haps it is because we are young and small that we are so efficient…..

Two final thoughts, as I bring this President’s report to a close.

The first is the enor­mous plea­sure I have had in work­ing with the CNMN board, its mem­bers, and our admin­is­tra­tor, Emi­ly Hall, over the past 9 years build­ing CNMN.  The intel­li­gence, com­mit­ment, pas­sion and imag­i­na­tion in our com­mu­ni­ty is quite impres­sive and I think that CNMN has proven to be an excel­lent way for us to work togeth­er to build a bet­ter place for cre­ative music in Cana­da.  Thanks to every­one who has been a part of cre­at­ing the CNMN we have today.

The sec­ond thought is more philo­soph­i­cal. Over the past 9 years (in fact, 11 years, count­ing the 2 years of pre-CNMN dis­cus­sion), I have spent many hours think­ing about musi­cal cre­ativ­i­ty, try­ing to define it to our­selves, try­ing to defend it to fun­ders and to the pub­lic, try­ing to artic­u­late why we believe that unfet­tered musi­cal cre­ativ­i­ty is so vital to our soci­ety.  There is no sin­gle, sim­ple answer.  How­ev­er, at its core, cre­at­ing music for the love of the art of music is a strik­ing social and polit­i­cal action.  Cre­at­ing music that tries to encom­pass the scope and com­plex­i­ty of the human con­di­tion is a big job, but that is what we have cho­sen to do.  It is inher­ent­ly human­ist in approach, and is pred­i­cat­ed on a soci­ety where the val­ue of each indi­vid­ual is recog­nised.  Art, includ­ing new music, is pri­mar­i­ly about the human expe­ri­ence, not about the eco­nom­ic ben­e­fit or polit­i­cal power.

This is why cre­ative art is often viewed as a men­ace to exist­ing eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal struc­tures.  We live in a soci­ety which has, for the moment, a rea­son­able bal­ance between the two forces – the human­ist vision and the eco­nom­ic / polit­i­cal vision.  That bal­ance, how­ev­er, is con­stant­ly shifting.

I urge all CNMN mem­bers to remem­ber, every time you write a new piece, or step on a stage to do a con­cert, or talk about the impor­tance of music in our soci­ety, that you are part of the ongo­ing polit­i­cal and social dis­course that is shap­ing the world we live in.  New music has a role to play in this larg­er dis­cus­sion, and it is impor­tant that we, as a com­mu­ni­ty, take this role seri­ous­ly. I believe that CNMN is ide­al­ly placed to be a lead­ing voice in this dis­cus­sion.  I hope that my 9 years as Pres­i­dent has helped to build both a strong, cred­i­ble organ­i­sa­tion and to make the case for musi­cal cre­ativ­i­ty as a pos­i­tive force for social development.


Tim Brady


Direct link: Past President’s Report / Sea­son 2013–2014 Report, Tim Brady
Return to full Bul­letin – Decem­ber 2014