The New Orchestra Workshop Society (NOW) presents concerts and gatherings, improvisation workshops, establishes cultural spaces for the sharing of creative work, partners in and supports community initiatives, tours, commissions, records and publishes new works. Our events are presented in public spaces, in concert halls and in informal spaces. Our work engages diverse musical sources and artists. Our ensembles, the NOW Society Ensemble and the NOW Orchestra, are drawn from Vancouver's foremost creative established and emerging musicians.

We collaborate with artists from around the world, with artists such as Barry Guy, George Lewis, Butch Morris, Marilyn Crispell and Roscoe Mitchell. We have commissioned new workds from Canadian artists such as François Houle, Giorgio Magnanensi, Joane Hétu and Rainer Wiens, from international artists Douglas R. Ewart, Kris Davis and George Lewis. Partnerships have included Lori Freedman, Jean Drome, Joane Hétu, Christine Duncan (Montreal), Anne La Berge, Jasper Stadhouders (Amsterdam), Jim Denley (Australia), Douglas R. Ewart, Pauline Oliveros, Lisle Ellis and Eyvind Kang (USA).

NOW presents free workshops for individuals with varied abilities offering space for exploration and improvisation. The first NOW workshop took place at the Western Front on April 6, 1978, facilitated by Karl Berger, the founder of the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY. In that same year, the NOW presented workshops by Anthony Davis, Oliver Lake, and Sam Rivers. In 1979, weekly workshops at the Western Front began (42 that year) and the NOW Society continues the tradition of yearly workshop series at the Western Front, at 8EAST, and online with facilitators such as Luke Stewart, Jaimie Branch, Ava Mendoza, Pauline Oliveros, Eyvind Kang, Kim Myhr and Kris Davis. 

The New Orchestra Workshop Society was founded in 1977 by Lisle Ellis, Paul Cram, Paul Plimley, Gregg Simpson and Ralph Eppel. Leadership has included Clyde Reed, Bruce Freedman, Kate Hammett Vaughan, Ron Samworth, Nikki Carter and since 2013, Dr. Lisa Cay Miller.

NOW 1979 brochure:


Thank you to our sponsors


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