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Annual Report

  • Year: 
  • Please describe your organization’s activities over the past year, including concerts, commissions, collaborations, publications: 

    For NewMusicSA, the current year can largely be seen as a one of innovations and turning points, beside the general successes and failures. In 2015, the board gained four new members who each brought with them fresh insights and energies. Most notably, Marietjie Pauw, who was brought on as the liaison for the South African New Music Ensemble (SANME), was a key figure in rethinking the way the organisation interacts with and supports new music performance. While the SANME initiative was largely put on hold in favour of seeking more sustainable means to support new music performance, the Soundings scheme was devised under her guidance in order to support a bottom-up new music performance and curation structure, ensuring that stakeholders were given the opportunity to conceptualise, administer and execute their own performances. Two of these projects were successfully brought to fruition in this year. Similarly, Aidan Erasmus, the new editor of the NewMusicSA bulletin, along with Clare Loveday and Alfred Foster, put in a considerable amount of work to address the backlog in the bulletin’s publication by planning the publication of two issues in 2016, the first of which was beautifully designed and edited and was released in electronic format. Jiba S. Xulu, who came on as Vice-chair of the board, took up the mantel of ISCM liaison and, after a fruitful meeting in South Korea, secured NewMusicSA a stronger presence as the South African section and gave voice to new ideas for our interaction with the other sections and the broader ISCM as well.

    Besides these three remarkable innovations in our organisation, we were also able to send two composers to the Visby International Centre for Composers and, along with the outstanding help of the South African College of Music, and in particular Theo Herbst, Meryl van Noie and Miles Warrington, NewMusicSA produced the 2016 Unyazi electronic festival where 28 South African works, many of them premieres, were performed. The festival was also the site where seven young composers were commissioned and had their works performed, and workshops in gaming sound design and Ableton attracted a host of young people interested, though not necessarily trained, in music production. It was also at Unyazi that we managed to attract musicians active in Jazz and popular music who, in the past, had been side-lined by our organisation. This was, however, only a small step in a more inclusive direction and should be pursued more actively in the year to come.

    Despite room for improvement, it can be said that the past year was a year of growth for NewMusicSA in which new opportunities were opened up and new relationships were forged. Though this is only my first, and unfortunately my last, chair’s report, I am confident in saying that the organisation has done its members justice and has repositioned itself as one of the key structures in South African new music production. I wish the future board and the chair well.



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