FORUM 2016 AGM Report


Submitted by Jennifer Waring, October 2016

FORUM 2016, Ottawa January 14-17, was the most broad-based that CNMN has ever mounted, both in range of practice and also in diversity of practitioner. Its success was evident from the first presentations, and is measured also in preliminary discussions on broad range of projects that it has spawned.


The Music School, University of Ottawa was hosting partner, providing facilities and tech; the School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University helped bring Pauline Oliveros to FORUM 2016, and along with the Ottawa New Music Creators, presented one of the evening concerts; the National Arts Centre Orchestra provided steering committee input and evening concert programming.

The theme

New Music and the Mainstream came out of an interest in examining the relationship between creative music in the “classical stream” and other creative musics, at a time when distinctions are becoming blurred and traditional labels becoming meaningless. And all these issues became part of a major thread of discussion throughout the FORUM: diversity, of practice and of practitioner.


There were a total of forty-nine individuals programmed, thirty-eight percent coming from the Call for Proposals.

  • Keynote address by Pauline Oliveros – a challenge to those in music and the arts to become agents of change in a world that needs fixing.
  • Six wide-ranging panels
  • Ten presentations (mini-talks, workshops, dialogues and demonstrations) that came from the Open Call for Proposals
  • Ten portraits of organizations from across Canada, the UK and the Netherlands
  • Two education-themed demonstrations
  • Open networking and community development sessions
  • Closing plenary session


The energy given off by a room of creative people, the synergy of their interactions, the possibility of collaboration that comes with new connection, the boost this kind of experience gives in the middle of a busy season: these are all immediate effects of CNMN’s FORUMs and the 2016 edition was no exception.   Also evident was extraordinary good will, the courage to be honest and the skill at being sensitive to other viewpoints and realities. The concentrated experience of this dynamic is the kind of thing that can help change the culture of how we do new music.

In terms of projects, there are already concrete outcomes materializing:

  • Joe Bates (UK) is speaking with different presenters in Canada about Filthy Lucre pop-up productions.
  • Henk Heuvelmans (NL) is in discussion with Canadian counterparts on projects.
  • Koen Kaptijn       (NL) has possibilities for Canadian performances.
  • Sarah Albu has made connections with Juliet Palmer (Toronto) and Jennifer Waring (Hamilton/Amsterdam) on two different projects.

And there are undoubtedly many more.

Though FORUM 2016 was unquestionably a great success, at the time there were some significant organizational challenges. The new board, along with staff, will be looking at ways to ensure the next event can be as seamless for those working behind the scenes as it is for the delegates.


In the collaborative and cooperative spirit that marks CNMN’s operations, many people contributed critically to the success of the forum. This includes the steering committee, the capable staff, board members who brought experience of previous forums, new board members, staff and volunteers who brought new energy, and of course partners and funders.

As co-chair of FORUM 2016, I would like to acknowledge them all individually, with my sincere thanks.

Partners, funders: School of Music at the University of Ottawa, the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, FACTOR, the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Internaitonal Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), SOCAN Foundation, Ottawa New Music Creators

Steering committee: Kyle Brenders and Jennifer Waring (co-chairs), Jesse Stewart (Carleton University), Stefani Truant (National Arts Centre Orchestra), Stacey Brown (CNMN board), Lori Burns (University of Ottawa)

Production and administration staff: Geof Holbrook (FORUM 2016 Production Manager), Emily Hall (CNMN Administrative Director), Ananda Suddath (general assistant), Cléo Palacio-Quintin (Bookkeeping), Louise Campbell (production assistant), François Couture (translation), Clément Topping (grants), Hali Krawchuk (University of Ottawa), Julie Fast (Redhouse Design) 

MC’s, Time Keepers, stage managing, welcome team (volunteer): Norm Adams, Tim Brady, Kyle Brenders, Louise Campbell, David Pay, Jesse Stewart, Alain Perron, Mengyuan Shi, Jennifer Waring, Po Yeh

Language Facilitation (volunteer): Louise Campbell (coordinator), Sarah Albu, Michel Beaudry, Sandeep Bhagwati, Stacey Brown, Alissa Cheung, Bruno De Cat, Jonathan Goldman, Véronique Lacroix, Marc-Olivier Lamontagne, Suzie Leblanc, Claire Marchand, Clemens Merkel, Stephanie Moore, Fran Slingerland

Call For Proposals – Jury: Stacey Brown (QC) chair, André Cormier (NB), Heidi Ouellette (MB), Christopher Reiche (BC)

Organizations who helped promote FORUM 2016: Circuit, Canadian League of Composers, Groundswell, Music on Main, Ensemble Transmission, Productions SuperMusique, Western Front New Music

Read the FORUM 2016 Wrap-Up article
Read what others had to say: Souvenirs from FORUM 2016.


Direct link: FORUM 2016 AGM Report
Return to full Bulletin – October 2016