Evaluation Report: New Music 20x12
New Music 20x12 was a UK wide celebration of new music which stimulated the creation of 20 new works, each lasting 12 minutes, as part of the Cultural Olympiad. This report summarises what we set out to do, what we’ve achieved in collaboration with twenty composers and commissioning organisations from across the UK, what we’ve learnt from this process and what we consider to be the lasting impact of New Music 20x12. It has been informed by evaluation forms submitted by the twenty participating commissioning organisations, along with feedback from key stakeholders and the results of some research undertaken by Audiences London. We hope you will be interested in reading about our findings – we are sharing them with all New Music 20x12 partners and we welcome your feedback. What we set out to do In early 2009, founding patrons David Cohen and Jillian Barker approached Arts Council England, BBC, LOCOG and PRS for Music Foundation about finding a way to ensure that new music would be commissioned as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. David and Jillian put forward their idea of commissioning twenty, twelve minute new works which together, would present a snapshot of new music in the UK. The PRS for Music Foundation shaped and delivered this idea in collaboration with BBC and LOCOG by leading an open commissioning programme. We also built partnerships with Southbank Centre and NMC Recordings so that a weekend festival and digital platform would further enhance the impact and legacy of our programme. The aims of New Music 20x12 were: • to ensure that high quality new music was commissioned as part of the Olympic and Paralympic celebrations in 2012 • to celebrate and showcase the wealth of musical talent in the UK • to inspire increased public interest in new music, both during and after the games • to raise the profile of UK composers and their works • to strengthen working relationships between UK music creators and performers who are pushing the boundaries of our musical imagination. New Music 20x12 dates and core activities An open call was launched in June 2010, selections were made towards the end of that year and the twenty successful submissions to our call were announced publicly in January 2011. The twenty new compositions were performed across the length and the breadth of the UK between January and August 2012. All of the commissions were also presented together across one weekend hosted by Southbank Centre from 13-15 July 2012 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 between April and August 2012. To extend distribution of the works, New Music 20x12 recordings are now available via NMC www.nmcrec.co.uk and Southbank Centre performances have been filmed for digital distribution, including The Space as of October 2012. See www.thespace.org
Key achievements of our commissioning process By inviting applications and selecting from a broad range of art organisations from across the UK, we are proud to have achieved the following outcomes: An inclusive recruitment process, open to any organisation based in the UK with an interest in commissioning new music: we received over 150 high quality applications and entrusted the selection of the final twenty works to two independent expert panels. The final panel consisted of Judith Weir, Kevin Le Gendre, Rita Ray and Joana Seguro and was chaired by Roger Wright, Controller of BBC Radio 3. Selection of a diverse range of successful projects reflecting a broad range of music genres and commissioning organisations: from voluntary, non professional groups such as Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, the Manchester Chorale and Black Dyke Band, to cross-art form organisations like Rambert Dance Company, Stan’s Café and Chinatown Arts Space, National Orchestras such as OAE and NYO and new opera groups such as NI Opera and Second Movement. 28 organisations and 75 venues were involved in the 20 New Music 20x12 commissions Twenty excellent pieces of new music, each achieving strong artistic outcomes: this was acknowledged in New Music 20x12’s extensive press coverage, peer review from fellow composers and feedback from stakeholders and audiences. A dynamic introduction to new UK composers at different stages of their career: from established composers such as Mark-Anthony Turnage and Julian Joseph, younger talent such as Emily Howard and Gavin Higgins (composer associate with Rambert Dance Company), creators with a strong track record in jazz, folk and world music such as Sheema Mukherjee, Jason Yarde and Aidan O’Rourke and a strong group of mid career classical composers whose work doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves e.g. Richard Causton, Joe Cutler, Michael Wolters and Luke Carver Goss. Engagement of world class talent from other art forms – including choreographers Marc Baldwin and Sharon Wrey, poets Ian McMillan and Glyn Maxwell, playwright Mark Ravenhill, actors Juliet Stevenson and Sam West and artist Lizzie Coombes. A total of 124 performers from other art forms took part in New Music 20x12. Artistic expressions of Olympic values including the endeavour and virtuosity of Exaudi’s extended vocal techniques and NYO’s Handsfree, OAE and Drake Music Scotland’s resonance with the Paralympics and tributes to historical moments of sporting excellence via Emily Howard’s Zatopek opera and Julian Joseph’s, The Brown Bomber dance suite. Additional commissions conceived to accompany the short pieces written for New Music 20x12 including NI opera’s 4 mini operas performed alongside Our Day, Aidan O’Rourke Quintet’s full suite of Tat-1 pieces and LCO/Barnardo’s Music Junction partnership which resulted in a participatory piece created by young people, providing the starting point for Graham Fitkin’s commission. A strong and genuine UK wide partnership including involvement of stakeholders from all UK countries in the planning and selection process, engagement of organisations and composers from all UK countries in the Southbank Centre weekend and encouragement of press to attend performances in their city of creation e.g. Observer review of Our Day by Conor Mitchell, at its premiere in Belfast.
Key outcomes of our performance & broadcast programme Our collaboration with 20 commissioning organisations from across the UK and with Southbank Centre (London), BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings enabled over 250,000 people to enjoy live or broadcast performances of a New Music 20x12 piece Engagement of diverse audiences via unusual partnerships and venues across the UK: New Music 20x12 reached 70,817 people via 124 live performances across 75 venues across the UK. Venues ranged from concert halls, arts centres, festivals and music clubs to a prison, a train station, a church and outdoor sites. Engagement of a large radio audience via six BBC Radio 3, Hear and Now broadcasts which reach c.70 000 listeners per week and downloads available via NMC Recordings website which receives 5041 unique visitors per month. Engagement of television audience of at least 100 000 viewers via BBC4 screening of NYO’s performance at The Proms, endorsement on BBC2’s The Review Show and news coverage on BBC London and BBC Breakfast. Engagement of new audiences – over 40% of audiences interviewed did not consider themselves to be new music attenders, 75% of these people enjoyed or very much enjoyed the piece they heard & 1/3 of those who were mildly interested in new music would be curious to explore more. Participation of 190 professional performers and 944 non professional performers who worked together to realise our Cultural Olympiad programme. Participation of over 352 young people via NYO, Chinatown Arts Space, HMDT, Drake Music Scotland and LCO and workshops presented for Ping!. Learning & participation opportunities for all ages including 108 workshops with 2520 attendees. Unique weekend celebration at Southbank Centre created over 35 performances and 38 workshops which attracted a diverse London audience, alongside networking and learning opportunities for participants. Enhanced profile of new music and UK composers during 2012 thanks to a strong PR strategy which created 168 press entries and “Equivalent Advertising Value” of £651,499. Significant promotion and professional development opportunities through BBC Radio 3 recordings and broadcasts, experience of taking part in an official Cultural Olympiad initiative and experience of commissioning a composer for organisations with no specialist experience of this process.
Music sector development New Music 20x12 was described by composer Judith Weir as “a lesson in good commissioning.” This included the following benefits: Professional and artistic development for all involved stimulated by the opportunity for each composer and organisation to work to a specific brief, without interference from the funder but with clear guidelines on duration and performance format New contacts and points of reference for participating composers and performers created by the cross genre network of organisations and the coming together of all participants at the launch/Southbank weekend e.g. contemporary classical conductor James Weeks was inspired by watching jazz musician Jason Yarde’s style of conducting; Coull String Quartet now want to commission 20x12 composer Michael Wolters. A new approach to programming – Gillian Moore, Head of Music explained “[New Music 20x12] shifted my own thinking - and that of our organisation – I think this is because we were working to make sense of the twenty short pieces and ended up with a format which was very accessible and open. I also thought that your rigorous selection process meant that the pieces were of consistently high quality.” Opportunities for groups and composers based outside of England to promote their work in London – 4 groups and 12 composers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland benefited from the Southbank weekend. Wonderbrass from Wales were given the opportunity to perform after the VIP drinks reception in QEH foyer, NI Opera was given an evening concert slot on Friday evening supported by additional funding from PRSF’s Beyond Borders programme to showcase its 5 mini operas, the Aidan O’Rourke Quintet sold CDs of their music during their Saturday evening QEH gig. New contracts for composers and freelance arts professionals – an estimated 156 freelance jobs and 1827 work days were created for composers and arts professionals who were contracted by the participating organisations. Opportunities to take part as a volunteer – with 9 non professional, voluntary groups, a total of 1289 non-professional performers and staff donated their time to New Music 20x12. A different type of audience for new music – the informal nature of the Southbank Centre weekend and many of the unusual settings for each commission encouraged new audiences to experiment and participate in new music, resulting in a different demographic from the traditional audience for contemporary music concerts. A strong public/private sector network of supporters which we hope will be inspired to contribute in the future to other new music projects.
Lasting benefit and impact When we launched New Music 20x12 we promised to place a strong emphasis on the following long-term outcomes: • • • • •
excellent repertoire which will be performed long after the Olympics have ended additional work for participating composers e.g. extended or new commissions which increase composer earnings and open up new opportunities. online documentation of performances and project activity including recordings which will be promoted after the programme has ended a vibrant network of composers, performers and music organisations increased profile for new music across the UK and for the emerging composers involved.
These outcomes have and are continuing to be achieved through: • The quality of the response to our open call and the variety and appeal of the repertoire created e.g. Gavin Higgins’ score for the Rambert Dance Company will become part of their touring repertoire in 2013 and Emily Howard has been invited to consider extending her 12 minute score to a larger scale opera. • The diversity of the response to our call and the unexpected spin-offs which are now beginning to take shape – e.g. Chinatown Arts Space and Coull String Quartet are planning to perform together at Hong Kong Arts Festival, OAE wants to commission more new music as a result of 20x12 • The widespread press, radio and TV coverage achieved and the public interest stimulated in featured artists and groups. • A strong PRSF, BBC & NMC web presence throughout the programme, including films which have been commissioned to feature on The Space later this year (see www.thespace.org) We will monitor the extent of this legacy by tracking repeat performances of New Music 20x12 commissions, any commission follow-ups for composers, visitors to our films on The Space and our web portal, future projects which are stimulated by connections made through the Southbank Centre event and how our programme’s impact compares with other Cultural Olympiad programmes. As a funder, we also expect those who were selected for New Music 20x12 to feel more confident about applying for PRSF funds. To date this includes Liz Liew and Sally Beamish applying to our Women Make Music call.
What we’ve learnt from the process PRS for Music Foundation and steering group partners have learnt a lot from facilitating and managing this ambitious and wide reaching initiative. The following findings have inspired us to consider how we might create a biennial programme of activities that builds on the success and learning of New Music 20x12: The importance of providing a platform which presents all kinds of new music: Shifting conventional definitions of “new music” and associated value judgements became a goal of this programme. We would like to push this further and break down barriers between audiences of different music genres if we repeat this programme The impact of a strong and mixed partnership: the involvement of the 28 commissioning organisations with a broadcaster, record label, leading London arts centre, strong network of private/public funding partners and lead agency (PRSF) strengthened the reach, status and potential legacy of this networked project. The benefits of a clear and restrictive brief in the process of funding and commissioning: the twelve minute limit enabled each piece to be performed twice during our Southbank Centre weekend, required composers to focus and intensify their creative response and may help the pieces to be repeated more frequently in the future. The short duration also made new music more accessible to non specialist audiences and may have increased the quality of musical experience overall. This went against any initial fears about the 12 minute brief feeling artificial. Indication of a gap in the current cultural landscape: the last attempt at celebrating and exploring a snapshot of the UK’s new music and its composers was via London Sinfonietta’s State of the Nation in 2002.This was less broad in its reach and existed as a London event led by one ensemble. Because there is nothing else like the New Music 20x12 platform, feedback about our commissioning programme and Southbank weekend was extremely positive and composers were enthusiastic about the idea of a programme like this being repeated. The role a flexible funder can play in stimulating new work, creating a UK network and helping organisations to promote their achievements: our experience of New Music 20x12 helped PRS for Music Foundation understand the kinds of programmes which best enable us to realise our core aims for the sector – this commissioning model had a more wide-reaching impact than previous awards we have run to promote new music. The need for contingency and support for organisations with limited experience of commissioning composers: PRSF was able to step in with contingency funding when there was a genuine need for extra support e.g. because of challenges in the commissioning process or ambitions to do more than planned. This security meant that opportunities for inclusion weren’t missed and that we could take some risks in our selection of commissions. Conclusion The positive outcomes summarised by this evaluation have inspired us to start having conversations with new and existing stakeholders to gauge their interest in being part of a follow-up programme to New Music 20x12. At this stage, we think that the follow-up would take the form of a New Music Biennial which would capture and build on the outcomes of New Music 20x12, sustain the hub and spoke approach to commissioning, support the creation of new work across the UK whilst also offering an open platform for exploration at Southbank Centre in July 2014.
Testimonies from New Music 20x12 Participants & Stakeholders Words most used by New Music 20x12 audience members interviewed by the Audience Agency
Jenny Bradley, Wonderbrass Playing at the Southbank Centre has been an opportunity that none of us will forget and we’ve all been so proud to be involved. Richard Causton, composer, Twenty Seven Heavens “Thanks for making the whole thing happen - an absolute DREAM of a commission!!” Luke Carver Goss, composer, Pure Gold “The informal and yet focused way that the concerts were presented took all the dryness and stuffiness that's sometimes associated with contemporary music away”. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre I just wanted to say how thrilled we are to have been part of this amazing programme and whilst I was involved in the planning stages sadly I couldn’t be there for the weekend. My staff were delighted with the pleasure of the crowds, the enthusiasm and the great quality of the work. Emily Howard, composer, Zatopek! Thanks again to everyone involved for making such a special weekend at the Southbank possible. I managed to attend almost all of the New Music 20x12 events on Friday and Saturday (rehearsals and workshops prevented this on Sunday) and I was so impressed by the performances, the variety, and the friendly atmosphere at all of the events. Sara Lee, Music in Prisons I just wanted to say thanks so much for giving us the experience of New Music 20x12. It was just fabulous. For a small organisation that is doing something that not everybody ‘gets’ (or necessarily approves of!) it is brilliant to be offered such a high profile platform to play on. It is something that adds credibility to our work and validates it in a respected setting. Also, the band was totally overcome by the whole occasion yesterday; for them to have that kind of opportunity is second to none so I’m extremely pleased they got to see what it feels like to play at SBC in front of an appreciative crowd. For me it’s not only an opportunity for them to feel part of something but for the audience to be given the opportunity to think about who they were and where they came from.
Andy Leung, composer XX/XY “It has been an amazing journey for myself and the rest of the band, huge thanks to everyone at PRS for Music foundation who made all this happen.” Gillian Moore, Southbank Centre I’m still thinking about last weekend, and what an interesting new way of doing things it represented. I think that it shifted my own thinking - and that of our organisation – we were working to make sense of all twenty short pieces and in fact ended up with a format which was very accessible and open. I also thought that your rigorous selection process meant that the pieces were of consistently high quality. Nick Roberts, Coull Quartet “There was a fantastic atmosphere at the South Bank and just so many people listening to all that was going on. It was a wonderful culmination of the whole New Music 20x12 project – congratulations!” Oliver Searle, composer Technophonia “It was a wonderful experience being at the Centre all weekend and there was a fantastic buzz to the place! I received some truly moving feedback about our project. It was great to meet so many of the people involved in realising the whole weekend.” Helen Sprott, Head of Music, Arts Council England, London Many congratulations on a very successful weekend. It was both stimulating and enjoyable with a real festival atmosphere, and so much more impact than one-off performances can achieve. Sir John and Ann Tusa, New Music 20x12 patrons Well done, a very jolly, very positive event reflecting a very positive project. Judith Weir, Member of final Judging panel Congratulations on the 20/12 programme - the results have been hugely enjoyable, and a lesson in successful commissioning. Audience members, interviewed by The Audience Agency Great musicians, composers and new ideas. Win.win. The works that I did see have made me want to see others. I know this sounds superficial but seeing shorter works of classical music is less daunting than seeing an entire symphony. Patrons and Funders