Souvenirs of NMI2015


Members of the CNMN share their thoughts about the NMI2015 project as part of the CAPACOA conference in Halifax, January 2014. Thank you to everyone who shared this experience with us!


I would like to thank CNMN for the opportunity for Quatuor Bozzini (QB) to attend and present at the CNMN Showcase as part of the CAPACOA conference. This was a great opportunity to reconnect with some familiar faces associated with CNMN, but also to exchange ideas with other presenters and delegates from across the nation.

The Keynote Lecture from Richard Evans was extremely useful because it touched on challenges facing the Canadian music industry as a whole, no matter the size of organization or one’s role within each organization. The most pertinent advice included: being amenable to changes in the market, finding new ways to engage an audience as participants in artistic creation, and being patient to introduce small changes one at a time to arrive at a solution.

Some of the people that I met at the Keynote Lecture had attended our QB presentation at the CNMN showcase, and it was great to be able to share our music with them and to give them an idea of the nature of our work.

The informal networking at the hotel restaurant after the CNMN showcase was lovely because we could discuss our current work with others, and also set up some future projects with other CNMN members. QB also wants to be more involved in the Maritimes, so the setting of CAPACOA in Halifax was great timing for us.

The discussion with the Canadian contemporary dance networks was especially interesting because they offered a model of putting the presenters first, and educating them about contemporary dance, rather than just trying to convince them of one dance project over another. It was encouraging to hear that the presenters became confident in the language and aesthetic of contemporary dance, and that they were given the dignity to use their artistic discretion to choose which dance projects they would present. As an artist, there are still some reservations about why more funding would be used to support the presenters, and not the artist, but maybe funding organizations could be convinced to increase funding to both.

I also watched the livecast of Natalie MacMaster’s presentation, and it was great to witness such an icon of Canadian music. I had previously worked with MacMaster in another context, and know of the high caliber of her professionalism and musicianship. It was educational to learn from the language that MacMaster used to describe her life as an artist to the presenters, and how she describes some of the challenges of being a musician: e.g. touring schedules, balance with family life, keeping up quality of performance. She never used a condescending tone, and her approach was more humanistic in trying to open up dialogue, rather than antagonizing or focusing on some of her more negative experiences with presenters.

In all, the experience for QB at the CAPACOA conference was a very positive one. … We hope to continue the relationships and discussions we started at CAPACOA.

~ Alissa Cheung, Quatuor Bozzini


I went on Thursday, January 22nd. It was really an inspiring day. I remember coming home full of ideas, my head full of conversations and new thoughts.

I started out connecting with new friends and old at the breakfast for new delegates, and then moved into the panel discussion on presenting. Just over an hour was not of course long enough to fully cover the huge topics here (who is your audience? how do you measure success? how and why do you curate? what is the relationship between funding and programming?…) but I could tell from the atmosphere in the room that everyone was delighted to have come together from across the country to share ideas with people who do the same thing.

Richard Evans’ keynote speech was fascinating. What I loved was that it was a “good news story”: yes, the arts world is changing, but there are tools to meet, and even take advantage of, that change and the opportunities that come with it. He is a master of the flowchart and the powerpoint, and backed his ideas up with concrete examples that we could all relate to.

The [Critical Response] workshop on Gabriel Dharmoo’s Anthropologies Imaginaires showed a way of reacting to new work that forces you to go beyond the like/didn’t like response by answering a series of questions calmly and methodically and thus building a nuanced and potentially surprising critical response. I am going to use this myself when I see performances in coming months and I hope to use it in a classroom or workshop setting too.

Last came the showcase performances, all by friends or acquaintances. I was sad that there was not more interaction after these performances between presenters and musicians, as was the intention, but the new music community is small, and there is always an urge to congratulate a friend after their performance. Some kind of event following the showcase where we were teamed up with presenters to discuss in small groups what we’d just seen (or to apply the critical response techniques from earlier in the day) would have meant new music ambassadors really spread the word more widely about new music, and might make a great addition to the nest CAPACOA event.

~ Simon Docking, Toca Loca


It was really great to see contemporary music presented alongside more popular offerings, and in a way that made it more accessible to all types of concert presenters. The [Critical Response session] after Gabriel Dharmoo’s Anthropologies Imaginaires was a useful exercise to allow a wide range of audience members to discuss issues of contemporary music performance in a deeper context.

~ Derek Charke, Acadia University / AD – Acadia New Music Society


All across Canada, composers, performers and organizations engage in their work with the same dedication, the same passion. The CAPACOA conference allows us not only to take note of the health and effervescence of our national music scene, but also to identify problems within it and share strategies which will assure the continuity of our musical milieu.

It was an honour to present my project Anthropologies imaginaires at the “Critical Response Workshop.”

~ Gabriel Dharmoo, Composer / Performer


I found the participation at CAPACOA by CNMN heartening. It served as … an introduction to how the existing infrastructure of commercial music presentation, something that I know about from my part-time pop music career, might intersect with art music presentation, my more full-time discipline.

[…] I found the Thursday sessions organized by CNMN to be provocative and informative, and have helped me formulate some ideas regarding upcoming programming and audience outreach with the organizations I work with.

The [Critical Response session in particular] helped consolidate my thinking about the place of new music within our culture, both as a critique and celebration of our societies complex relationship to music, but especially our relationship to unusual and unknown music. The mock-ethnomusicology [in Dharmoo’s performance] was both funny and poignant in showing how the cultural trapping of new music can either make music more appealing or more alienating. This made me consider the importance of both committing unabashedly to music outside the popular sphere as well as considering how to frame new music presentations so that they can be readily appreciated by new audiences who aren’t familiar with the forms. It also made me aware of the difficult line that any “interpreter” of new music must walk when attempting to explain unfamiliar music to new audiences.

~ Lukas Pearse, Upstream Music Association / suddenlyLISTEN and more …


I was privileged to perform at the 2015 CAPACOA conference CNMN showcase as part of a project called “Saint Petersburg” with cellist Norman Adams. It was a wonderful experience sharing the stage with the Bozzini Quartet and Eve Egoyan and witnessing a slice of the breadth of new music in Canada. As an improviser, it was refreshing to be included with and programmed with, new classical music.

~ Tim Crofts, pianist


It is very important that Canadian new music is a regular feature at CAPACOA. Through the repeated presence of the CNMN, members of CAPACOA will become aware of the originality and strengths of creative work made and performed by Canadians. Presenters will be stimulated and excited to feature new Canadian work in their programming, bringing the world of new Canadian music full circle, from the commissioning of new works to the dissemination of it to audiences across the country.

~ Eve Egoyan, Pianist


Many thanks for the invitation to attend CNMN’s New Music Initiative 2015 as a ‘new music ambassador’ at CAPACOA’s conference. I thought the CNMN-organized events very successfully highlighted the diversity of Canadian new music – and I also appreciated the opportunities to meet and speak with other practitioners from across the country.

~ Steven Naylor, Composer / Performer / AD – subText Music & Media Arts Association


What a great time. Those who were just faceless names became friends and meaningful colleagues, and so many truly inspirational words were exchanged. Just like music, communication and ideas are always stronger face-a-face. I can only hope I contributed a good fraction of the wonderful things I took away.

~ Gregory Oh, AD – Open Ears, Festival of Music and Sound / Toca Loca / Soulpepper Theatre – Resident Artist


I had the privilege of attending the recent CAPACOA conference in Halifax as a CNMN board member. This was the first time I’ve attended CAPACOA and I greatly valued the opportunity to meet members of the new music community from across Canada, along with presenters and artists from various disciplines. The sessions were informative and provided engaging discussion. The new music performances and sessions showcased the tremendous talents and dedication of the many CNMN members who participated. Congratulations to CNMN on their very successful collaboration with CAPACOA.

~Po Yeh, New Works Calgary / Honens / Land’s End Ensemble


I found the CAPACOA conference stimulating and positive. In general, I found the atmosphere inviting and welcoming. I enjoyed the various sessions that I attended. The best part for me was meeting the many performing artists who attended and to speak with producers and presenters from across the country. This made me feel just a little more connected to what was happening in other parts of Canada.

~ Janice Jackson, AD – Vocalypse Productions / Performer


Direct link: Souvenirs of NMI2015
Return to full Bulletin – May 2015