2020 2021 Fall/Winter improvisation workshops

Fall/Winter November 2020 to March 2021

for 10 players & 15 observers



FREE with NOW Membership, Donations gratefully accepted (here)

Please Register for every workshop you want to attend. These workshops will be presented on Zoom (they will not be recorded) and will be presented by a differedn facilitator each week. Find out more about each workshop facilitator below.


Since 1978, the New Orchestra Workshop Society (NOW) has presented music improvisation workshops, offering space for exploration and participation. Our workshops are for improvisers of all levels of ability and ranges of experience, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race or religion. We protect privacy in our workshops and adopt the We Have Voice Collective Code of Conduct.

Read more about NOW workshop policies here.


Our Facilitators (Curated by Lisa Cay Miller)

Nov. 28  James Meger


Despite working and studying primarily in the fields of jazz and improvised music, JAMES MEGER’s experience on the bass spans many different areas of music. Born and raised in B.C. James is an active bassist in the local jazz and creative music communities.


Dec. 5 Douglas R. Ewart


Perhaps best known as a composer, improviser, sculptor and maker of masks and instruments, DOUGLAS R. EWART (born in Kingston, Jamaica and currently living in Minneapolis, MI) is also an educator, lecturer, arts organization consultant and all around visionary. Mr. Ewart encourages and celebrates--as an antidote to the divisions and compartmentalization afflicting modern life-the wholeness of individuals in culturally active communities.


Dec. 12 Ava Mendoza


AVA MENDOZA is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. Born in 1983, she started performing her own music, and as a sidewoman and collaborator in many different projects, as soon as she was legally allowed into venues. As a guitarist, Mendoza has received acclaim for her technique and viscerality.


Dec. 19 Vicky Chow


With her expressive and nuanced interpretations of contemporary works, Canadian pianist VICKY CHOW has been captivating audiences around the world with her expansive repertoire and musical prowess, she enjoys a diverse career collaborating with many of the world’s most renowned composers and ensembles.


Jan. 2 Cole Schmidt


Composer, band leader and organizer of community projects, COLE SCHMIDT plays in a sonic eclectic style that has made him a collaborator with other like-minded musicians in Vancouver and abroad.


Jan. 9 Viviane Houle


Photo by Donna Balma

Possessing a rare combination of skill and artistry, singer, improviser and composer VIVIANE HOULE is one of Canada’s most gifted and respected vocalists and improvisers. Based on the Sunshine Coast, she is widely recognized for her beautifully fluid and dynamic voice, a remarkable palette of extended vocal techniques, a sensitive lyricism and a fearless spirit.


Jan. 16 Luke Stewart


LUKE STEWART has become a ubiquitous presence in Washington, D.C. He plays electric or upright bass in one of nine bands; presents concerts through his efforts with CapitalBop; and hosts a weekly radio show on WPFW Pacifica. Then there’s the steady flow of new music.


Jan. 23 Dalannah Gail Bowen


DALANNAH GAIL BOWEN has many titles — artist, storyteller, singer, performer, musician, activist, elder. The 75-year-old singer, described as Canada's matriarch of the blues, has been singing professionally for more than half a century and is currently based in Vancouver.


Jan. 30 Lisa Harris


LISA E. HARRIS, Li, is an interdisciplinary artist, performer and composer from Houston Texas, USA. Li’s work focuses on the energetic relationships between body, land, spirit and place. She uses voice, theremin, movement, text and new media to explore healing in performance.



Feb. 6 Marina Hasselberg


Photo by Cristiano Saturno

Cellist MARINA HASSELBERG’s musical career led her from her birth country of Portugal across the world to Vancouver’s eclectic music scene. Starting as a chamber musician specializing in classical music, her passions have expanded to include baroque music, experimental music, and interdisciplinary works that cross genre boundaries.


Feb. 13 Janine Island



Feb. 20 Jesse Zubot


Vancouver Island based JESSE ZUBOT is one of those unique musicians/producers whose praxis spans multiple genres and transcends contextualization into an idiom. Between moments of impassioned, visceral outburst and quite emotive sensitivies, Zubot exposes the full range of affects through a pristine sonic architecture.


Feb. 27 Fay Victor


Photo by Kyra Kverno

Brooklyn, NY (USA) based sound artist/composer FAY VICTOR hones a unique vision for the vocalist’s role in jazz and improvised music. Victor encompasses a distinctive vocalizing, language and performing approach with the foundation of the jazz vocal idiom, now encompassing an “everything is everything” aesthetic bringing in references that span the globe.


Mar. 6 Lisa Cay Miller


Composer, leader and community organizer, LISA CAY MILLER creates music in Vancouver and on her travels, in collaboration with fellow improvisors. Currently the Executive Director of the NOW Society, Miller has curated this workshop series.