The printed program for Classical : NEXT (a 3-day conference) is 2 cm thick, and it’s densely populated with compelling descriptions of conference presentations. Right now, I’m taking some time away from the Orchestras Canada booth at de Doelen to eat delicious Speculaas cookies and wade through the conference schedule. It’s a challenge: how do I maximize my exposure to the most interesting discussions, while also complementing the choices made by our many Canadian colleagues at the conference? And how do I stop eating these cookies?
One thing there’s no debate on: attendance at tonight’s opening concert and party, featuring an all-Canadian program. We’ll hear Tanya Tagaq, Continuum Contemporary Music, the Cecilia String Quartet (who dropped by our booth to say hello earlier: they are not only an awesome quartet, but also exceptionally nice women), and Megumi Masaki, performing music by (respectively) herself, Lori Freedman, Jeffrey Ryan, and Nicole Lizée. Rumour has it that the international panel that selected Canada to open the conference was blown away by the calibre and daring of these wonderful composers and performers. I think we’ll be very proud.
Now, back to the tough stuff: what to take part in? Will it be El Sistema: Threat, Fad, or the Future of Music (presented by Canadian Jonathan Govias) or That’s No Way to Run a Business: Challenging the Classical Music Business Model (with my much-admired colleague at the Association of British Orchestras, Mark Pemberton)? At least I know where I’ll be during the day on Friday: the Dutch orchestras have invited me to sit in on a series of morning workshops, and then observe at a closed-door session during which they’ll explore such topics as building Social and public support and necessary extra musical skills; public outreach and renewal of classical formats; and education and talent development. This is like catnip to me, and I can’t wait to learn more about the Dutch experience.
Duty calls! I’ll make some decisions about sessions, and then I’ll head back to the concert hall for a reminder of why I’m proud to be Canadian.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.