Sound and Music announces new direction

- 30 April 2013

Sound and Music: Renewed focus

Sound and Music, the national organisation for new music, has announced its new ‘programme framework’ of activities.

It is the result of months of public consultation conducted by the organisation’s new management.

Under its previous leadership, Sound and Music had come under criticism from various sections of the music community, notably in two open letters from composers and performers.

At the time its interim directorate responded that ‘Sound and Music recognises that it has not fully achieved the leadership role the new music sector has needed and deserves’ and in May 2012 Susanna Eastburn was appointed chief executive from her role as music director at Arts Council England, taking up the role in September 2012. Earlier this year, she told CM: ‘Sound and Music has had a bumpy ride. What I want to do is to open up the organisation and work much more inclusively.’

From October 2012 the organisation ran a consultation process and today’s announcement represents its new direction under new leadership.

Susanna Eastburn: ‘Sound and Music has reformed itself, and now, with this framework, we can work with others to transform the future of new music’
Photo: Sound and Music © Richard Lea-Hair

Sound and Music will now focus its activities on three linked priorities: composer development, audience development, and creating a powerful national story about the value of new music, backed up by compelling evidence, priorities which were ‘were strongly identified through the public consultation’.

‘The new framework provides development opportunities and guidance for composers right the way through their careers,’ says a statement, ‘with a particular emphasis on support for emerging composers.’

‘Sound and Music will work with partners across the country to achieve the ambitious goals of its new programme framework, which they believe is capable of transforming the future of new music in the UK.’

Susanna Eastburn said of the new framework: ‘Sound and Music has reformed itself, and now, with this framework, we can work with others to transform the future of new music. It features the best of what the organisation has developed in the past, together with new programmes that address gaps and open up new areas of opportunity.

‘The new programme framework offers many ways for individual composers and partners to work with us and help build a vibrant new music community. At the same time it is designed to open new music up to a wider audience.

‘We believe the plans we have announced today lay the foundations for a bigger and brighter future for new music.’

New programmes include:

  • A higher education programme which will ask each music higher education institution nominate one composer for the chance to appear at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Chosen composers will then compose a piece for HCMF and a selection of these will be recorded for release on NMC
  • The Portfolio programme which links young composers with performing groups
  • Composers as Curators, ‘a national programme of light touch support for composers based in England who programme and curate new music events and festivals and are developing new audiences and engagement’
  • The Museums and Heritage Partner Network, which will engage museums and heritage organisations to work with composers in new ways to ‘provide composers with paid opportunities as well as help to drive new audiences for new music’
  • And a new audience development programme, conducting research into how new music ‘can transform its approach to building and sustaining audiences’, with pilot activity with partners in Birmingham, Bristol, London and the Northeast of England

The new activities join the organisation’s 10 existing programmes.

More details online throughout the day on Sound and Music’s website.

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