Crystallizing the Community: a CNMN research project

CNMN makes its first foray into the world of statistical analysis with a project to be presented at ISCM’s World New Music Days, in Vancouver, November 2-8, 2017.

Wondering just how it is that people come to the practice of new music in Canada, and how these routes may have changed over the past few decades, we have proposed the following:

To examine the routes, pathways and accidents that bring people in Canada to the practice of new music composition. We will look at: (1) how the pathways may have changed over the past five decades; (2) gender and diversity; (3) regional variations; and (4) changes in the importance of traditional musical literacy. The study will also identify events, perceptions and experiences that propel some people into composition rather than some other musical occupation.

Riveting, you say? Indeed, it is. Interviews conducted in the preparation of questions reveal a fascinating range of entry points and inspiration. We imagine that the hard data results will have implications for what post-secondary institutions require as prerequisites, and what skills they teach.

Crystallizing the Community is conducted with assistance from CNMN member Mary Ingraham (PhD Musicology), with Deanna Yerichuk (PhD Music Education) and Gillian Stevens, (PhD Sociology) through the Sound Studies Initiative at the University of Alberta. Ross Waring (PhD Communications Theory) contributes expertise in data visualization, while Jim Ruxton (electrical engineer, inventor, installation artist and founder of Subtle Technologies Festival) is advising on data display.

Other partners provide contact with the community: the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre will assist in sending the survey to their membership.

Getting the sampling is the trick and this is where you, our CNMN members, come in.

Please fill out the questionnaire when it comes your way.

Late spring/summer we will be sending it out to the community. And because we want to see where and how people branch into the different sub-practices of new music, the sampling will be broader than just composers, improvisers and other sound/music creators. Make sure your personal story contributes to the community story – form part of this crystalline structure.

The presentation of this research project at ISCM’s World New Music Days in Vancouver, November 2-8, includes a panel discussion as well as a projection installation.

Steering Committee members: Jennifer Waring (chair), Megumi Masaki, Tim Brady, Mary Ingraham, Gillian Stevens and Ross Waring.

For more information, contact Jennifer Waring:


Direct link: Crystallizing the Community
Return to full Bulletin – June 2017