NOW Online Improv Workshops Fall 2021

NOW ​Improvisation Workshops Fall 2021


Online - for 15 players & 5 observers

Online Workshop series 

September 2021 - December 2021

Wednesdays 4pm - 5:30pm PST


FREE withNOW 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 different 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 policieshere.


September 15 - JP Carter



JP Carter (Destroyer, Fond of Tigers, Inhabitants) combines innovative intuitive utilization of effects, amplification, extended techniques, and traditional playing to craft his sound on the trumpet, creating a massive sonic vocabulary that is ever evolving. 


September 22 - Fred Jackson Jr.



Fred Jackson Jr. was born in 1974 in Fort Worth, Texas. Dean of the AACM School

I was recently awarded the 2020-21 “Fresh Works, New Voices” grant from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Now I’m back on the north side of Chicago still studying, still writing and still teaching. My life is has been a total dedication to Music.


September 29 - Jeff Younger



Winnipeg born, Vancouver based guitarist/composer Jeff Younger is one of the busiest, most interesting and original musicians in Canada.  Prone to rampantly tasty guitaristic diversity, deadly serious compositional tendencies, and lawless sprees of sonic expressionism, he’s been called “the mad scientist of the electric guitar” and “Vancouver’s own Frank Zappa.”


October 6 - Lisa Cay Miller


Presently living on the unceded Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam peoples, Lisa Cay Miller (she/her) is an improvising pianist and composer who loves to create in the moment. Dr. Lisa Cay is the Artistic Director of the NOW Society, and is so honoured to have been part of the NOW workshops for a number of years, both in person and online.


October 13 - Matthew Ariaratnam



Matthew Ariaratnam is an interdisciplinary sound artist, composer, guitarist, improviser, and listener based on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations – also known as Vancouver, BC. He creates sensory walks, writes dumbpop and chamber music, and frequently collaborates with choreographers, visual artists, and theatre-makers 


October 20 - jaimie branch


photo by Abdesslam MIRDASS


jaimie branch is a Colombian-American Brooklyn-based musician and artist working in the areas of improvisation and composition. branch’s works convey a dissatisfaction of American politics with a cutting sense of humor, serving to balance experimentalism and accessibility with party and erudition, “jazz” and the next thing. Through her musical practice, her main interests lie in extending and expanding the technical limitations of the trumpet and the musical language of free jazz and improvised music. branch has a Bachelor of Music in jazz trumpet performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. Before moving to Brooklyn in 2015, she was an active member of Chicago and Baltimore creative music scenes as a performer, presenter, and recording engineer. She has collaborated with many musicians across the globe including: William Parker, Matana Roberts, Moor Mother, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor, Nicole Mitchell, and Tomeka Reid.  Her own projects FLY or DIE and Anteloper have been met with critical acclaim by The New York Times, The Wire, NPR, Sterogum, The Guardian, and many others. jaimie has performed all over North America, Europe, and The United Kingdom. In 2020, branch became a Jerome Foundation at Roulette resident and recently won the inaugural 2021 Deutscher Jazzpreis for Wind Instruments International Award. branch is a storyteller who’s artistic output has continuously dealt with themes of social justice, gender and racial equality, and getting folks to wake the fuck up.


October 27 - Ron Samworth



Guitarist/composer Ron Samworth is known on the Canadian improvised/contemporary music scene as an inventive artist inspired by many music traditions. In the 1990's and 2000's he directed and performed with the acclaimed groups Talking Pictures and the NOW Orchestra, and was the Artistic Director of both NOW and Barking Sphinx societies. He is also a member of the Peggy Lee Band, Birds of Paradox and the Hard Rubber Orchestra and has performed and recorded with numerous international artists including John Zorn, Evan Parker, George Lewis, Han Bennink, Dave Douglas, Robin Holcomb, Mary Margaret O’Hara and Wayne Horvitz. His inter-disciplinary work includes composition, performance and sound design for theatre, spoken word, film, and dance. He was a faculty member at the Banff Centre Jazz Workshop in 2009 and has taught for the Capilano University jazz studies programme since 1997.


November 3 - JoVia Armstrong



JoVia Armstrong is a well-traveled musician, composer and educator from Detroit, MI. She is a member of the AACM and is an endorsed artist with QSC, Sabian, Icon Pro Audio and Gon Bops. She won for 2014’s Best Black Female Percussionist of the Year through the Black Women in Jazz Awards and received the 3 Arts Siragusa Foundation Artist Award in 2011 for her work as an educator. 


November 10 - 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.


November 17 - Meredith Bates



A talented improvisor and performer, award-winning violinist Meredith Bates is known for her elegant and virtuosic sound. She is the artistic director of the Vancouver Improvised Arts Society (VIAS), a non-profit organization aimed at supporting the creation and presentation of improvised works by womxn, BIPOC, and LGBTQ2S+ artists. 


November 24 - Ida Toninato



Montreal-based saxophonist, composer and improviser Ida Toninato has an ear for the unknown, exploring reverberant spaces with uncommon acoustics with which she develops artistic partnerships with a strong sense of bonding. After years of playing contemporary music with various collaborators, she has dived head first into pursuing a music after her own daring musical intuitions.