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2017_Music on Main, Vancouver 


Annual Report

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


    Mandate: Music that brings us together

    Mission: Music on Main creates innovative musical experiences. We connect people by developing artists’ and audiences’ relationships to music, to each other, and to themselves.

    Profile: Since its founding in 2006 by Artistic Director David Pay, Music on Main has led the country in presenting locally, nationally, and internationally acclaimed programming, which has, to date, featured more than 1,000 musicians, 350 concerts, and over 75 world premieres. We’ve pioneered the “casual classical” movement, blending classical music programming with less traditional concert formats. We engage an annual audience of over 4,000 through a regular concert series, in some of the city’s most intimate and engaging venues, and our immersive, week-long Modulus Festival of adventurous music. We also serve as an incubator, showcase, and launching pad for artists through our ongoing Emerge on Main, Composer in Residence, and Artist in Residence programs.

    2017/18 was a watershed period of activity for Music on Main. In November, in partnership with the Canadian League of Composers (CLC), we hosted ISCM World New Music Days 2017 – the largest contemporary music festival in Canadian history. ISCM2017 featured 50+ events, including 12 sold-out concerts, over 7 days, with music from 50 countries. With both this and a highly successful 2017/18 season to our credit, we’re poised for even greater things in 2018/19 and beyond, continuing to bring musical adventure and top-flight artistry to audiences throughout BC.

    ISCM2017 represented a monumental success for Music on Main. In addition to its artistic and community impact, and its partnership-based legacies, this event attracted significant additional one-time public-sector support from all levels of government, significantly enhanced Music on Main’s international profile, and proved that the organization was capable of managing a complex, multi-year, $1.4M project, over and above its normal operations. One year post-event, ISCM2017’s operational and artistic lessons continue to resonate across all levels of the organization.

    2017/18’s Artistic and Operational Highlights:
    Number of concerts and public events: 17 (not including (ISCM2017)
    Total Attendance: nearly 11,700 (~9,500 for ISCM2017; ~2,200 for the concert season).

     Partnerships: Microcosmos Quartet, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, The Canadian League of Composers, The Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, and several others. It should be noted that our co-presentation of ISCM2017 gave rise to over 25 institutional partnerships with counterpart producing and presenting organizations drawn from throughout Canada and beyond. These partnerships have already begun to inform the depth and diversity of future programming at Music on Main, including our 2018 Modulus Festival, set to debut in early November 2018.
     Well-attended concerts throughout the season (including the return of our popular Music for the Winter Solstice series, at Heritage Hall, a concert showcase of the Australian String Quartet, in cabaret style, and an 80th birthday salute to pianist and Canadian treasure Robert Silverman). This season also marked the inaugural use of the Vancouver Playhouse as a concert venue.

     Music on Main’s Composer in Residence, Nicole Lizèe, completed her second of three years in residence at Music on Main. During the season, Ms. Lizèe created new work, performed publicly, and participated in several public-facing salons and community events. She also took part in several digital engagement initiatives meant to build community among Music on Main’s listeners online, coast to coast. The broader outgrowths of these digital engagement activities – codified as our Digital Storytelling Program – will continue to inform our work, and our efforts to meaningfully engage audiences in venues beyond the concert hall in future years.

    Two performances of Frederic Rzewski’s Songs of Insurrection with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival at The Fox Cabaret. This challenging, timely, and provocative suite of political protest songs from throughout the world, thematically adapted for solo piano, was
    co-commissioned by Music on Main, with Concertgebouw Brugge, TivoliVrendenburg Utrecht, and Centre National de creation musicale Marseille.

     The world premiere of a work for amplified tenor and soprano, electric piano, piano, violin, and non-traditional percussion – Another Living Soul – by Nicole Lizèe, at Music for the Winter Solstice. Ms. Lizèe’s popular Solstice Noir, which had premiered the year prior, was also performed. Both of these pieces were originally commissioned by Music on Main.

     Music on Main’s Emerge on Main program saw a successful re-launch after a seven-year hiatus. This program, unique in Western Canada, pairs rising professional (post-university) musicians with David Pay for a full season of artistic mentorship and skills development, culminating in a live professional performance opportunity at a dedicated Emerge on Main concert near the end of the season. Emerge on Main has proven itself as a successful incubator, showcase, and launching pad for its engaged musicians. 2017/18’s cohort – Liam Hockley (clarinet), Nancy Tam (sound artist and composer) and Nicole Linaksita (piano) – each reported meaningful opportunities for growth and development vis-à-vis this program. We’re excited to see its continuance into our current season.

     2017/18 also saw the launch of our inaugural Artist in Residence program with New York-based, Vancouver-born superstar pianist Vicky Chow. Over two weeks in March and April of this year, Vicky participated in artist salons and masterclasses, supported Music on Main’s community and digital engagement initiatives, and led the sold-out Canadian premiere of John Luther Adams’ Ten Thousand Birds with the Music on Main All-Star Band.
     2017/18 also saw some notable transition within Music on Main’s administration. In September 2017, we welcomed Joseph Bardsley as Music on Main’s inaugural Development Manager, tasked with supporting all of Music on Main’s revenue generation efforts. In May 2018, Artistic Planning & Operations Manager Melissa Tsang departed the organization for a new opportunity with Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company. In August 2018, Marketing Manager Mallory Gallant similarly departed for a new role with the Vancouver Coastal Jazz & Blues Society. We have since welcomed Shayna Goldberg (formerly of Vancouver’s Pi Theatre) as Melissa’s successor, and are in the process of identifying Mallory’s replacement as of this writing.

     Music on Main initiated a renewed strategic planning process under the aegis of business strategist and community builder Sarah Dickinson (a former Music on Main Board member, and co-founder of THNK, a strategic development and planning firm based in Vancouver).

     As with ISCM2017, this process has come to involve stakeholders across all levels of Music on Main as an organization, and is meant to incorporate the learnings and outcomes of our first successful twelve seasons as a roadmap to future success. This planning process continues, with lively and plentiful discussion ongoing. The development and implementation of a new strategic plan for the organization has been identified as KPI of this process by the end of the 2018/19 season.

     As in prior years, behind the scenes, gender and social diversity has been a founding principle at Music on Main. More and more, we aim to ensure that all aspects of our work, both onstage and throughout the organization itself, reflect Vancouver’s diversity – in all its forms – back to audiences. This is sometimes a challenge for a classical, new, and genre-bending presenter and producer, but access, expression, and building understanding through great art is a goal that everyone at Music on Main shares.

     Thanks to the commitment, vision, and generosity of Music on Main’s individual and institutional supporters, the organization obtained its most successful results to date in terms private-sector fundraising, including its inaugural foray into #GivingTuesday.

     All of this took place under the auspices of a thoughtful and engaged Board of Directors, surrounded by a devoted core of volunteers and dedicated staff, and supported by exceptionally generous donors and artists. Partnerships and collaborations continue to underpin Music on Main’s success, and we are grateful.



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