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