How to understand, buy and present new music in Canada: Presented in collaboration with the Canadian New Music Network (CNMN)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

9:30 – 11:00 AM

Location: Acadia C, Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel

The Canadian New Music Network (CNMN) would like to engage the CAPACOA presenters in a meaningful dialogue about how to understand, buy and present new music to the Canadian public.


  • Kyle Brenders – CNMN President, moderator with panelists:
  • Lawrence Cherney – Artistic Director, Soundstreams (Toronto)
  • Véronique Lacroix – Artistic Director, ECM+ (Montreal)
  • Gregory Oh – Artistic Director, Open Ears Festival (Kitchener-Waterloo)
  • Tim Crofts – Pianist (Halifax)

Immortalized by the likes of Dave Brubeck, Peggy Lee and Herb Alpert, the popular song So What’s New? symbolizes what’s right and what’s wrong in classical music. Many in North America and Europe have lamented the apparent decline in interest in the genre. This phenomenon is much discussed, but little understood, largely because it is not the music - old or new - that is in decline. Rather classical music was, is and will always be in a constant state of evolution and revolution, reimagined and reinvented every time a truly committed performance is on offer. But we continue to pay a heavy price for sterile classical music conventions that have long outlived their usefulness. As a result, it has become all too easy to underestimate our audience’s ability to recognize excellence and respond positively to compelling aural challenges, i.e., to what’s new.

Four innovative new music producers and presenters discuss and address a number questions that will have real resonance to the larger concert presenting community and the members of CAPACOA:

• What are the programming strategies that can help audiences to create links between music they know and music they don’t know, i.e., between the music of today and the music of the past?

• How can our programming better represent the diverse communities of a multi-cultural Canada?

• What can we learn from countries like China, Korea, Brazil and Venezuela where interest in classical music is growing exponentially?

• What can we learn from the choral genre, which has the most practitioners of any performing arts discipline in the Western world, and has unparalleled grass-roots links to community?

• How can we liberate ourselves from the mythology that audiences are made up of two types: younger ones who will listen to anything, and older ones for whom there can never be enough Beethoven?

About the guest panel organizations:

Kyle Brenders

President of the Canadian New Music Network, Kyle Brenders is a Toronto based Composer, Performer, Improviser, Presenter. His work commonly transcends traditional stylistic genres. As a presenter he work mainly focuses on presenting a diverse mix of the classical influenced composers and practitioners of improvisation. He is active as a performer with his own group, the Kyle Brenders Quartet that perform works that seamlessly blend composed and improvised music.

Véronique Lacroix

Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) produces innovative, multidisciplinary concerts that showcase Canadian music throughout the country. Renowned for her flair and her appetite for risk-taking, artistic director Véronique Lacroix is passionate about fostering the next generation of composers and performers. ECM+ has premiered 234 mostly Canadian works, and in addition to regular season productions has toured Canada biennially with the Generation project – 2014 marked the 20th anniversary! ECM+ has also participated in exchanges with France, Belgium, Mexico, Ukraine, and Singapore.

Lawrence Cherney

Soundstreams is an unusual success story in the classical music field. Despite the fact that new music is by definition unfamiliar, artistic director Lawrence Cherney and his team have built audiences for new concert music averaging 750 persons in a 1000 seat venue, and regularly selling out. They sponsor high-profile national and international tours of their productions, and have developed some of the most innovative web and outreach programming in the entire classical field.

Gregory Oh

Gregory Oh gained his notoriety as a “new music revolutionary” but tends to wander the genres. Gregory is the Artistic Director of the Open Ears Festival and Toca Loca, teaches at the University of Toronto and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and is a Resident Artist at Soulpepper Theatre.

Tim Crofts

Pianist Tim Crofts is a vital part of the Halifax Improvised music community. In 2013 Crofts became president of 1313 music association and produced the “Facing the Future” series showcasing improvised music. In 2014 he became Artistic Associate of suddenlyLISTEN, producing the Open Source concert series, a grassroots, up-close musical experience for audiences that fosters collaboration between local artists and touring musicians on The Canadian Circuit program.


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