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, Luke Stewart, Fay Victor, Lisa Harris, Ingrid Laubrock, Douglas Ewart, Peggy Lee, Jesse Zubot, Lan Tung, Parmela Attariwala, Ben Brown, Ron Samworth, Nikki Carter and Lisa Cay Miller.
The Society presents workshop series online, at the Western Front and at 8EAST. We also present workshops to children and youth in schools and private workshops, such as at the St. James Music Academy in Vancouver's DTES, and Tahayghen Elementary School, Skaadgaa Naay Elementary, Skidegate and Gidgalang Kuuyas Naay Secondary in Haida Gwaii.
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.
NOW workshops accommodate participants and 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. Our Onomatopoiea workshops feature the 48-page graphic comic book score of Gary Wildeman, and ecourage particiapante to make their own graphic scores.
Read more about NOW workshop policies here.