Now that's what I call 'contemporary'!
Beverley Crew celebrates CMN's innovative 1999/2000 touring
While swooning over spnm's seriously
sexy new image, I've been thinking just how radically perceptions of 'new'
and 'contemporary' music have been changing over the past few years. Up
until quite recently, if youd invited a friend to a contemporary music
concert, chances are they would have politely declined, secretly conjuring
up those old hackneyed images of awkward, hairy musicians shuffling silently
onto a starkly-lit stage to create sounds reminiscent of a rusty gate in
need of a good oiling. That the audience would consist solely of some two
dozen anoraks (always male and most definitely single!), was inevitable.
And presuming that any marketing had been done, it would consist of a dull,
academically-worded A4 sheet, photocopied so darkly as to obscure the musicians
photo. Distribution would comprise the local librarys noticeboard.
If this scenario were ever true, it certainly isnt now. 'Contemporary'
and 'new' are increasingly used as terms to encompass musical styles as
wide and diverse as jazz, classical, world, electronic and experimental,
as well as the more adventurous end of pop, rock and dance music. Whats
more, contemporary music audiences actually feature large numbers of women,
marketing is tight, focused and appealing and sometimes, if were
really lucky, we are allowed to take alcoholic beverages into the auditoria!
It has become second-nature for many composers/musicians to jump effortlessly
between music forms, and most are extremely keen to communicate with really
diverse audiences. So the organisers of events are able to ever increase
their expectations of the broad range of people who are likely to be interested
in attending, and the audience itself is having a far more exciting time
as a result of this diversification.
So where does Contemporary Music Network (CMN) fit into this picture?
CMN, which is funded by and based at the Arts Council of England, has been
a major pioneer in producing innovative live contemporary music tours across
genres for the past 28 years, showcasing world-class artists to wide audiences
throughout the country. We have instigated the first ever visits to this
country by the Steve Reich Ensemble, Gil Evans Orchestra, Philip Glass Ensemble,
Jan Garbarek Quartet and the Kronos Quartet, to name but a few. We have
also championed the huge talent we have here in the UK, creating opportunities
for exceptional British artists to develop and tour projects and collaborations
with the marketing and press support they deserve. We are delighted that
spnm will be striking collaborations with the 1999/2000 tours and look forward
to some exciting initiatives.
CMNs season for 1999/2000 is one of the most eclectic ever, taking
us into some new territories. Our programme includes Jazz, Tango, Classical,
Brazilian New Beat, Zappa, South African and Cameroonian World/Jazz, Asian
Club, Multi-Media Soundcircus, Folk and Japanese Sound and Image Manipulation
Now thats what I call contemporary!
For more information about CMN events, please call +44 (0)171 973 6504
or email email@example.com
Beverley Crew, January 1999
Beverley Crew is Administrator of the Contemporary Music Network (CMN).
Her article was first published by spnm
in January 1999 'new notes' and is reproduced here with permission.
From contemporary jazz, classical and popular music to that written for
film, dance and other creative media, spnm
is one of the main advocates of new music in Britain today.
It achieves this through an eclectic annual programme of concerts, events,
workshops and collaborations and through its two publications 'new notes'
and 'Beat Magazine'. Guest artistic directors add their own special flavour:
Stephen Montague for the 1998/99 season and Joanna MacGregor for 1999/2000.
spnm website: www.spnm.org.uk
Phone: +44 (0)171 828 9696