As CNMN continues to seek different entry points with new communities and with a wider national context, the inaugural edition of CNMN’s New Music Initiative (NMI2015) has gotten us off to a great start.
NMI2015 brought CNMN together with CAPACOA (the Canadian Arts Presenting Association). CNMN was guest-curator at CAPACOA’s 27th annual conference from January 21 to 24, 2015 in Halifax. The theme of the conference was “The Culture of Convergence.”
Over 30 CNMN members converged with 200+ delegates, many of whom were stakeholders from the national and international touring performing arts sector, including 120+ CAPACOA members.
CNMN designed events that brought together both its membership and, importantly, the larger presence of delegates. The idea was to create a dialogue about shared goals and challenges within a larger body of artistic practitioners. The programming aimed to encourage interaction and dialogue in order to exchange knowledge and build trust. Working together in this larger context, new music in Canada can become more integrated with mainstream presenting.
CNMN’s events were very well received, almost always to full capacity and beyond. This is in part thanks to the CAPACOA team who were extremely pro-active, providing us with great exposure by putting our programming up front and centre, which in turn meant attendance to our activities was fantastic.
These events included:
(1) A national panel of new music presenters discussed innovation in presentation. Véronique Lacroix, Lawrence Cherney, Tim Crofts, Gregory Oh and Kyle Brenders (moderator) shared knowledge and success stories about audience outreach, demonstrating how creative new music can be a positive force in the larger Canadian society.
(2) A Critical Response Workshop: after an engaging 40-minute performance by Gabriel Dharmoo, Tim Yerxa (Fredericton Playhouse) and Judy Harquail (Ontario Presents) lead a session where participants, sitting in a large circle, became contributors to a meaningful, in-depth observation and reflection of their experience of this performance.
(3) An Evening Showcase including Eve Egoyan and David Rokeby, Saint Petersburg and Quatuor Bozzini.
(4) There was a very interesting Inter-network session where CNMN members met with the dance networks to hear about the excellent work they’ve done with presenters around the understanding and presenting of contemporary dance, and how this could apply in different ways to new music.
CNMN members also had the opportunity to take in all the other conference activities that CAPACOA had to offer, such as: the one-on-one session with international participants from the Export Buyers Program, the interactive plenary session with the Director of EmcArts, Richard Evans, the many evening showcase performances and networking lunches. It was just as important, as part of the NMI, for CNMN members to participate in the other conference activities.
Hear Soundstream’s artistic director, Lawrence Cherney, make a 5‑minute pitch about their touring project Encuentros: listen here (scroll to 30:23).
And our very own board member David Pay, along with Lawrence Cherney, were live-to-air for the arts on CTV Morning Live with host Heidi Petracek, where they talked about the CNMN panel discussions about presenting new music. This was broadcast throughout PEI, NB and NS.
We were thrilled to have so many CNMN ambassadors of Canadian new music, experts in the field, who not only represented their own work but also represented the broader picture of New Music in Canada at the conference. As an organization, we can set up the programming, but the person-to-person interactions are what make the connections, and members really brought energy and enthusiasm and a willingness to strike up a conversation with fellow delegates about what they do and about the exciting things their peers are doing in their regions of the country.
For a more personable sense of what happened at NMI2015, read what some of our CNMN Ambassadors had to say in the next segment, Souvenirs of NMI2015!
Many thanks to everyone at CAPACOA for their partnership as well as the Canada Council and FACTOR who helped make it possible for us to bring so many members to the conference.