Issuu on Google+

On Sound and Music As you’ve been hearing over the last year, spnm is in the process of changing, taking part in a merger to create a brand new organisation for new music and sound in the UK. Joint executive director SHOËL STADLEN gives a preview of the new organisation, Sound And Music. On 1 October, spnm legally merged with the British Music Information Centre, Contemporary Music Network and Sonic Arts Network to form a new organisation, Sound and Music. As many of you will know, the build-up to this point has been quite a long one – we have been considering the merger since 2004 – but the day itself was fairly low-key, with little changing overnight. The day after, several of us from the spnm office attended a day of events we had programmed at the newlyopened London venue, Kings Place, with some excellent new works by shortlisted composers – all of which 02 new notes • was reassuringly familiar. And this is part of the point of the new organisation: it will build on the core work of each of the four organisations, so our work discovering, supporting and promoting composers – through the annual call for works and the Shortlist – will continue. showcasing their music and giving them the contacts and confidence to flourish. The organisation has played a highly significant part in the development of many of the UK’s leading composers over the last 65 years, and we are committed to ensuring that this work continues. property, and we aim to launch Sound and Music fully in spring 2009. In the meantime we will begin working as a single organisation and will continue to deliver spnm’s planned programme of work, including running our annual Shortlist call, which you will find advertised in this issue of new notes. Why merge? Of course, we will be giving the new organisation a full launch in due course, and hopefully we will gain a significant amount of attention for new music and sound around this. There is still a fair amount of work to be done to get to that point, including finding and moving into a single november 2008 We spent a good deal of time determining whether a merged organisation provided the right future for spnm, for composers and for new music. spnm has a fantastic 65-year heritage discovering composers with talent early in their careers, There are many reasons why a new, larger and better-resourced organisation is likely to present the brightest future for composers and for new music in general. spnm's limited resources have meant that it has had to focus its efforts on supporting composers at the beginning of their careers. The new organisation will continue this crucial work, but will also be able to engage with composers throughout their careers. It will also be better equipped to promote twentyfirst-century composers who, typically, may submit their notated work to spnm but may also have several other sides to their work – for example as improvisers or as installation artists – which they consider equally important but for which spnm is unable to cater as fully. It is very exciting to look forward to an organisation in which we will be able to keep up with, and fully cater for, the composers with whom we are already working. Then there are the obvious benefits of a larger organisation. The new organisation will have significantly greater resources than we or any of the four individual organisations currently have. The impact the new organisation is able to achieve, in terms of raising the profile of new music and sound, is likely to be significantly greater than we are currently able to achieve as spnm and as four separate organisations.One of our main aims in creating and planning this new organisation is to get more people engaging with new music and sound – discovering it, listening to it, learning about it, appreciating it, reading about it, being inspired by it, taking part in it, creating it. The merger may be perceived by some as a funding- and funder-led initiative. It is certainly the case that an important part of the merger is the creation of an organisation that is robust and better resourced than we are currently; this will benefit new music and sound in the UK immensely. However, while Arts Council England initiated early discussions in 2003-4 between many music organisations (around the property initiative at Kings Place) and played an important role in getting dialogue going, we have taken our own course independently, with the four organisations deciding that what was required was not simply a property solution but a full merger, firstly testing this proposition and then drawing up the blueprints for what the new organisation would look like. We have done an enormous amount of research and consultation in the course of the processes of testing and planning, ranging from consultations with small groups of composers, performers and organisations to the largest survey of its kind carried out in the UK to date – to which you may well have responded – building our knowledge of people who engage with new music and sound. We are continuing to build our knowledge about new music ‘engagers’ (the terminology grates, but what we mean by this is not only audiences, but also creators, promoters, people who read continued on page 4 >> november 2008 • new notes 03

Article on Sound and Music

Related publications