The International Artist Managers Association has just concluded its 25th annual conference in Helsinki, Finland – and a good-sized Canadian delegation was on hand for the proceedings, attending panel discussions, taking meetings with artist managers, presenters and venues from around the world, attending a number of concerts and related activities, and starting to shape Canadian plans to host an IAMA conference in Toronto in November 2016!
The Canadian contingent included – with thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts, represented at the conference by Music Section head Aime Dontigny – a sizeable orchestra delegation, including Joanne Harada of the Vancouver Symphony, Carol Kehoe from the Hamilton Philharmonic, Katherine Carleton from Orchestras Canada, Kim Lajeunesse from the Orchestre Métropolitain, Natalie Rousseau from the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, and Christopher Wilkinson from Symphony Nova Scotia. Marianne Perron from the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal was also in attendance. As well, Warren Garrett and Judy Harquail from Ontario Presents, Peter Caldwell (CEO of the Ontario Arts Council), Chris Lorway from Roy Thomson and Massey Halls, and Barbara Scales of Latitude 45 Artist Management took part.
We haven’t had a lot of time to process all that we experienced, but we can certainly confirm the following:
Finland, with a population of under 6 million people, boasts extraordinary orchestras, venues, composers, and conductors – achievements attributable to significant and long-term investment in universally-available, publicly-funded, and high quality music education.
There are passionate champions of classical music everywhere in the world, from a range of cultural backgrounds.
Financing of classical music is a preoccupation, and the search for sustainable models is universal.
Gender equity in classical music, particularly for conductors and composers, remains a hot topic.
Risk-taking of all kinds is essential, yet desperately difficult for organizations that are already struggling.