Sessions & Activities

The theme of the FORUM is connecting with audiences, and we have developed a remarkably varied programming to meet this challenge.  Our panel discussions look at very focused subjects such as orchestral programming, festivals, and public engagement, while our open networking and community development sessions take a broader, more holistic approach to subjects such as music education, the economics of new music and public dissemination.  There is a range of topics and approaches that are guaranteed to give you new ideas, new contacts, and new perspectives on creating new music in Canada, and abroad.


With five of the world’s best and most prestigious new music presenters on stage, FORUM 2014 participants will have unique access to learn what it takes to get Canadian new music on the world stage. Question period follows.

Andrew Burke, London Sinfonietta – London, UK
Lawrence Cherney, Soundstreams – Toronto ON
Patricia Rosner, Berlin Phil Media GmbH – Berlin, Germany
Melissa Smey, Miller Theatre – New York, USA
Nicolas Thirion, Why Note Festival – Dijon, France
MODERATOR: Tim Brady, Canadian New Music Network – Montréal QC


Panel 1 – How to define and develop the “Canadian” in “Canadian” new music?

What do programmers look for when they want “Canadian” music – a sound, an approach, a postal code? How do we define Canadian music, and what message does our definition send to international presenters?  What do the Canadian public and the Canadian media think of when they think of “Canadian new music”?  More questions than answers, perhaps, but it’s an essential discussion.

DB Boyko, Western Front New Music – Vancouver BC
Patrick Giguère, Erreur de type 27 – Québec QC
Clemens Merkel, Quatuor Bozzini – Montréal QC
Jerry Pergolesi, Contact Contemporary Music – Toronto ON*
John Reid, Canadian Music Centre – Prairie Region – Calgary AB
MODERATOR: Jennifer Waring, Continuum – Toronto ON

*Travel funding for Jerry Pergolesi provided in part by the Research Committee at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.

Panel 2 – Orchestral programming: new music and the big machine

Orchestras have unique challenges when programming new music – performance traditions, production costs, major marketing expenses, and an increasingly fragmented public. Yet a major orchestral performance still has a unique power to reach a large number of people, and Canadian new music artists need to understand this market in order to succeed.

Norman Adams, Symphony Nova Scotia – Halifax NS
Éric Champagne, Orchestre Métropolitain – Montréal QC
Robert Rival, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – Edmonton AB
Heather Slater, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra – Calgary AB
MODERATOR: John Korsrud, Hard Rubber Orchestra – Vancouver BC

Panel 3 – Music and 21st Century Media: the broader connection

The Internet – love it, hate it, it’s here! We all have a Web site, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, but how does one pull all these elements together to create a strong, coherent digital presence that will have a real impact on presenters and the public?

Marie LeBlanc Flanagan, Weird Canada – Perth ON
Brenda Cleniuk, Neutral Ground  – Regina SK
Jean-François Denis, empreintes – Montréal QC
Frank Oteri, New Music Box – New York USA (via SKYPE)
Jennie Punter, Musicworks Magazine – Toronto ON
MODERATOR: Fabrice Marandola, Sixtrum – Montréal QC

Panel 4 – Festivals: go deep or go long?

Festivals are a key market for new music. But every festival has its own character and its own process.  A panel of festival directors discuss how they approach programming, and how they see their relationship with artists and the public.

Aïda Aoun, SMCQ – Montréal QC
Louis Dufort, Akousma – Montréal QC
David Eagle, University of Calgary – Calgary AB
Michel Levasseur, FIMAV – Victoriaville QC
Heidi Ouellette and Luke Nickel, Cluster Festival – Winnipeg MB
MODERATOR: Normand Forget, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne – Montréal QC

Panel 5 – Public interaction: engaging in dialogue, opening the doors

The heart of the matter: how to engage the public, how to get them into the seats and keep them coming back?  A panel of varied new music presenters with different approaches share their essential knowledge.

Luce Couture, Centennial Theatre – Lennoxville QC
David Dacks, Music Gallery – Toronto ON
Glenn Hodgins, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival – Ottawa ON
Charlotte Levitt, Miller Theatre – New York, USA
David Pay, Music on Main – Vancouver BC
MODERATOR: Lisa Cay Miller, NOW Society – Vancouver BC


The mini portraits provide new music presenters a chance to focus on their organization. Most of the mini portraits pair 1 Canadian presenter with 1 International presenter to stimulate dialogue across geographies and cultures.

Mini Portrait 1
Pierrette Gingras (Le Vivier – Montréal) + Nicolas Thirion (Why Note Festival – France)

Mini Portrait 2
André Cormier (LeHum, Moncton) +  Patricia Rosner (Berlin Phil Media GmbH – Germany)

Mini Portrait 3
Lawrence Cherney (Soundstreams – Toronto)

Mini Portrait 4
Heidi Ouellette and Luke Nickel (Cluster Festival – Winnipeg) + Andrew Burke (London Sinfonietta – UK)

Mini Portrait 5
David Dacks (Music Gallery – Toronto) + Melissa Smey (Miller Theatre – New York)


Each session has a theme. A facilitator is there to help, and the sessions aim to move attendees from observers to active engagers. During each session, 1 room will be devoted to general discussion, and another room will be devoted to project-oriented discussion.

General Discussion Room
Participants are encouraged to bring their personal experiences, knowledge, questions and concerns surrounding the session theme, with the intention of creating deeper awareness, stronger relationships, and sustainable solutions within local, regional and national communities. The meeting could place everyone in a circle, into smaller breakout groups, or something else – the group decides for itself.

Project Room
Do you have a specific proposal or initiative surrounding the session theme that you want to network with others? Are you looking to support or be part of one? This is a great opportunity to introduce your project, build relationships, and invest in future opportunities with members of the local, regional and national communities. The meeting format could be a “pitch to the room”, a “speed-dating one-on-one”, or something else – the group decides for itself.

Session 1 – Unsilencing: Women and their Place in New Music and Sound Art

Does gender equality exist in the new music community? How do assumptions about the roles of women and men determine the kinds of music we hear, where we hear it, and how we hear about it? Jennifer Butler and Tina Pearson co-facilitate an Open Forum that invites stories and ideas for beginning a revelatory discussion.

This session is co-sponsored by:

Session 2 – Earning a living in new music

How can the Canadian new music community develop as a network in order to help its members meet the economic challenges that they face as artists?

Project Room: David Pay, Canadian New Music Network – Vancouver BC
General Discussion Room: Kyle Brenders, Canadian New Music Network – Toronto ON

Session 3 – Network development and music dissemination

How can the Canadian new music community develop as a network in order to get more Canadian new music on the Web, in high-quality digital recordings, and with proper promotional support, in order to improve the connection between Canadian new music artists and the national and international  public?

Project Room: Tim Brady, Canadian New Music Network – Montréal QC
General Discussion Room: David Pay, Canadian New Music Network – Vancouver BC

Session 4 – Music education

How can the Canadian new music community develop as a network in order to help make creative music education more accessible to all Canadians?

Project Room: Jerry Pergolesi, Contact Contemporary Music – Toronto ON
General Discussion Room: Brent Lee, Canadian New Music Network – Windsor ON


Synthetic Means in the Twenty-first Century: Composition and Performance Workshop
Composer D. Andrew Stewart (Lethbridge) illustrates options for new music composition and performance with digital musical instruments, including highlighting significant milestones in the development of the “t-stick” (e.g., composition workshop, commissioning composers, international performances and collaborations). Participants will be treated to a hands-on experience with the t-stick in an effort to bring them “closer to sound” (Hugh Le Caine, 1960). 

Prosthetic digital instruments for music and dance performance: presentation and hands-on workshop
Joseph Malloch, IDMIL, McGill University – Montréal QC

These prosthetic instruments – including articulated spines, curved visors and ribs – create sound as the wearer moves, and were developed in collaboration with dancers, musicians, composers and a choreographer. Learn about the conception and design, the trials and triumphs of the workshop process, and how performer gesture is sensed and mapped to sound in real-time. Then, take part in hands-on experimentation with the instruments themselves.

Programmable multi-touch interfaces for spatialization and live electronics: presentation and interactive workshop
Bruno de Chénerilles (Strasbourg, France) shares his experiences developing multi-touch interfaces, and shows us how combining software with low-cost and small devices, the musician and composer can focus on intuition and musical gesture, breaking free from the limitations demanded by hardware interfaces such as audio consoles and conventional midi control surfaces. In this interactive workshop, participants get to try out these new techniques in different configurations.


You won’t want to miss this selection of mini-demos, mini-talks and mini-workshops!

Mini Talk – Good Housekeeping for Composers: Some thoughts on Personal Administration
Composer Monica Pearce (Toronto ON) explores the dizzying compendium of administrative elements that composers juggle while trying to personally manage their careers, a “DIY” approach to which many artists in the new music community can relate. She will highlight some key points from her article, and offer some observations in an anecdotal format.

Mini Demo-Discussion – Sound-telling: Storytelling through sound, speech, and music
Carmen Braden (Yellowknife NT) comes from a place where storytelling and oral traditions are engrained in society. “When I combined my passion for music connected to sounds in the environment with storytelling, it became sound-telling.” This demo-discussion touches on the ways storytelling through sound can be achieved, and engages participants with ideas for how to build their own sound-telling piece.

Mini Performance & Discussion: oh my golly! for drumline and narrator
Composer Scott Godin (Castlegar BC) and educator Lael Johnston (Calgary AB) talk about incorporating contemporary music in high school, through their long-term collaborative projects. The big treat: a performance by the Chestermere High School Drumline!

Mini Demo-Workshop – New Music for the Tabla of North India: Issues of Composition and Performance Practice
Percussionist Shawn Mativetsky (Montréal QC) wants to inspire more percussionists and composers to embrace the tabla into their own contemporary practice. Mativetsky will help navigate through some of the challenges that arise when mixing Western and Indian traditions, offer solutions, and ultimately show us the strength of this incredible, versatile musical instrument.

Mini Talk & Discussion – Crossing Borders: The Composers Project and Canadian Music
Jen Blackwell & Mike Romaniak talk about their Composers Project with the Central Michigan New Music Ensemble. As Canadians living and studying in the USA, they will talk about the practical challenges and solutions to navigating projects that cross borders, and show how a passion for new music has turned into a way to promote Canadian new music abroad.

Mini Talk – Project-based programming and seasonal programming; what is at stake?
For concert music in Canada, seasonal programming is by far the most widespread production model, while the ad hoc approach of developing projects is rarely used. Producer and composer Simon Martin (Montréal QC) explores the implications of this situation by addressing topics such as the creator-producer-distributor chain, the presentation of a composer’s work, positioning one’s creative output vis-a-vis the media and the public, grant programs and public funding freezes.