Spring Workshops 2020

Since 1978, the New Orchestra Workshop Society (NOW) has presented free music improvisation workshops, offering space for exploration in inclusive, participant-focused environments. We encourage the creation of non-hierarchical music through instantaneous collaboration. We invite local and international improvisers to facilitate the workshops, such as Pauline Oliveros, Eyvind Kang, Lori Freedman, Kris Davis, Ava Mendoza, Satoko Fujii, Ingrid Laubrock and Douglas Ewart. The Society currently presents workshop series at the Western Front and at 8EAST. These workshops are FREE, please become a NOW Member. Memberships can be purchased at the 8EAST workshop or online. Please arrive 15 minutes before the workshop begins with your instrument.


Carnegie Centre in the Main Hall, 401 Main Street 3 -4 pm

April 10 Carol Sawyer (NOW memberships will be free at this event)

8EAST, 8 East Pender Street, 5:45 - 7:30

April 17 Elisa Thorn
April 24 Lan Tung
May 28 Douglas Ewart
June 4  Qiu Xia He
June 11 Aram Bajakian




NOW is committed to creating equitable, welcoming spaces and to the encouragement of agency and cooperation. Consent is central to our practice. Our workshops are offered to 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.

Our improvisation workshops are private events. We are aware of the problematic politics of research and the collection of personal information in the DTES and Chinatown communities; workshops at 8EAST are not documented. If NOW workshops in other locations are documented, it is with the free, prior, informed and confidential consent of all participants, workshop facilitators and NOW staff.

We adopt the We Have a Voice Collective Code of Conduct.


NOW workshops accommodate up to 15 participants and 4 observers. Content may be prepared and/or impromptu exercises, games and etudes that represent the philosophies and practices of the facilitator and respond to the challenges and strengths of the participants. Workshops are not in the style of performative clinics or academic lectures. Focus is upon trust, openness and responsiveness, upon egalitarian participation and instantaneous creation that is experienced rather than commodified or owned. Ample opportunities are provided to participants to play their instruments and speak about their experiences. Workshop pacing:

•    Opening - The NOW workshop moderator presents or invites a Land Acknowledgement.
•    10 minutes – The moderator welcomes everyone to the space, inviting discussion of workshop policies and upcoming events and introduces the facilitator.
•    1hr 30 minutes (50 minutes for the Carnegie Workshop) – The workshop is led by the guest facilitator, the moderator becomes a participant, and is ready to assist if needed.