This is my first president’s report, and the first that doesn’t come from the founding president. 2014–15 was a great year with the work spread out in a strange way that makes it feel like it’s been years and not months.
I’ve spent much of this year trying to really understand what the role of the president is in this organization. It’s been difficult when you’re replacing the person that founded the organization and gave it a strong push for 9 years (is that the right number?). I’m not Tim nor do I have the seemingly limitless energy that he has to put towards CNMN and I apologize if it feels like my work with CNMN has been silent for a few months. But I assure you it hasn’t and it’s been a lot of work behind the scenes trying to find my own direction.
1. Board Renewal
2. CNMN at CAPACOA
3. FORUM 2016 Planning
4. Other Projects
5. Going Forward
A new 2‑year term launched season 2014–15, and this brought several new faces to the board of directors, as well as two new faces to the executive committee. It’s been wonderful finding ways to work with each board member, to hear their input on a number of our projects. It’s tricky trying to connect everyone across the country but we’re doing it! I can’t thank everyone enough for their support and I look forward to the next year with them.
CNMN at CAPACOA — New Music Initiative 2015
As CNMN continues to find new ways to outreach, and new ways to affect change, the inaugural edition of CNMN’s New Music Initiative (NMI 2015) has us off to a great start, allowing CNMN to seek different entry points with new communities and with a wider national context.
CNMN partnered with CAPACOA as guest curator at their conference in January 2015 in Halifax. Over 30 CNMN members converged with over 200 delegates, many of whom were stakeholders from the national and international touring performing arts sector, including 120+ CAPACOA members.
CNMN curated a number of activities with the intention of introducing new music to the broader performing arts presenters in Canada. All of the events took place on January 22nd to really bolster our presence at the conference.
CNMN designed three events that brought together both its membership and, importantly, the larger presence of delegates. The idea was to share knowledge and to get to know each other better so that the dialogue is no longer about “us” and “them” but about sharing goals and challenges as a larger body of artistic practitioners. The idea is that by working together, new music in Canada can become more integrated with mainstream presenting.
The first of the activities was a panel with Lawrence Cherney, VéroniqueLacroix, Gregory Oh and Tim Crofts, and myself as moderator. The intention was that presenters in the room, unaccustomed to our work, might consider new music in their halls and series if they were able to see a broad picture of how new music is presented in our community. The hall was packed, with standing room even taken, even with an equally interesting event being programmed at the same time. We must have been doing something right to attract people’s attention! Possibly the most effective of our presentations was the critical response workshop that included a performance of Gabriel Dharmoo’s Anthropologies Imaginaires. Following the performance, the audience was taken through a formal Critical Response workshop that you might use after any type of performance to engage the audience with the work beyond a simple “i like it” or “i hate it” response. There was a very large turnout of participants, sitting in the round, who all became contributors to a meaningful, in-depth observation and reflection. This was lead by Tim Yerxa (Fredericton Playhouse) and Judy Harquail (Ontario Presents). We closed the day of events with a showcase of Eve Egoyan and David Rokeby, Saint Petersburg (Tim Crofts and Norm Adams) and Quatuor Bozzini. These performances were designed to give a sample of what our members can offer.
In addition to these activities we were able to invite and financially support a whopping 30 f CNMN members to attend the conference, to connect with other presenters and to discuss possible projects. CNMN members also had the opportunity to take in all the other conference activities that CAPACOA had planned. It was just as important, as part of the NMI concept, for CNMN members to participate in the other conference activities. They had the opportunity to participate in the one-on-one session with international participants from the Export Buyers Program, the networking lunches, and more. CNMN was also co-planner of a closed Inter-network session where CNMN members met with 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.
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. Check out what they had to say about the NMI 2015 experience on our web site.
We hope this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with the broader community of arts presenters in Canada.
FORUM 2016 Planning
A great FORUM 2016 Steering Committee was formed made up of Jesse Stewart (Carleton University), Stefani Truant (NAC), Tim Brady, Stacey Brown and Lori Burns (uOttawa), co-chaired by myself and Jennifer Waring. As the 2014–15 season progressed, planning revved up substantially, including an open call for proposals launched in July. The biggest push continues, and we hope to be able to release more details soon. A FORUM 2016 web page is already up, under development. It will continue to grow and is expected to be as informing as our past FORUM pages, so feel free to check it out from time to time. You can learn a little more about what’s in the works for FORUM 2016 in Jennifer Waring’s FORUM Steering Committee Report. So, save the date, January 14–17, 2016 in Ottawa! I hope to see you all there.
Last season, we began initial discussions with IAMA to be part of the November 2016 meeting that will be held in Toronto. We had a very successful partnership back in 2013 when they held their conference in Montreal. What our role will be is still to be determined but we hope to be able to at the least, create a showcase series like we did last time. Check out more information about that project on our web site.
At the FORUM this year we will be hosting some private sessions with our members to discuss the creation and implementation of a touring network that will be facilitated through CNMN. How this will be devised will come out of member consultation so please stay tuned for more info. We will present our findings on the final day of the FORUM (another reason to attend!).
I want this organization to serve its members. I hope the touring network initiative will be able to connect our members through the actual process of creating and sharing our work together.
CNMN needs to know what you need and how it can serve these needs. CNMN’s board of directors and myself can only support activities that we know our members need. We need to hear from you. Contact your regional representative and have a discussion, or send me an email. Our doors our open. Please let us know how to serve you better.
Kyle Brenders, October 2015