NOW Society Ensemble

NOW Society Ensemble

The NOW Society Ensemble is drawn from Vancouver's finest improvising musicians. Currently under the Artistic Direction of Lisa Cay Miller, the NOW Society Ensemble has been presenting engaging and varied concerts since 2008 in a multitude of venues and formats, from formal concert halls to DIY stages, from showcases to concerts and installations. The music is closely associated with Musique Actuelle and Creative Music, fusing improvisation and composition, the predetermined with the undefined. Events planned and unplanned are linked, craft and skill navigates the endless possibilities of the unknown.

With flexible instrumentation and five to ten members, the NOW Society Ensemble proudly presents compositions commissioned by the NOW Society, and has premiered new works by Giorgio Magnanesi, Rainer Wiens, Joane Hétu and Gary Wildeman. The ensemble collaborates with world-renowned composers, performers and improvisers; recent and coming guest artists include Ellwood Epps, Vicky Mettler, Lori Freedman, Joane Hétu. Jean Derome, Christine Duncan (Montreal), Anne La Berge, Ig Henneman (Amsterdam), Jim Denley (Australia), Pauline Oliveros, Lisle Ellis and Eyvind Kang (USA). 


The NOW Society Ensemble at the IAMA Montreal 2013 New Music Conference, at the Red Roof Church in Montreal on November 8, 2013.





Rippled Modality on November 21, 2013at Pyatt Hall




we no longer, composed by Giorgio Magnanensi and commissioned by the NOW Society, is a kaleidoscopic journey through evolving sonic fields. Blending and merging as an organic unit, the ensemble navigates through events planned and unplanned. listen


NOW Society Ensemble members include: Lisa Cay Miller, JP Carter, Nikki Carter, James Meger, Skye Brooks, Mike Mike Dowler, Peggy Lee, Jon Paton, Chad MacQuarrie, Brad Muirhead, Kristian Naso, DB Boyko, Tommy Babin, Jesse Zubot, Joshua Zubot, Jon Bentley, Stefan Smulovitz, Joe Poole, Kenton Loewen, and Chris Gestrin.



Upcoming shows:



Past projects:


Shadowgraph 5 Marathon

The NOW Society is pleased to begin to celebrate their 40th year by presenting performance of Dr. George E. Lewis’ composition Shadowgraph 5. The piece will be presented in marathon form, a continuous four-hour stream of music performed by eleven ensembles with connections to the NOW Society’s past and present.






December 2 and 3, at the Orpheum Annex. Featuring Stefan Smulovitz’s Mad Scientist Machine, visuals by Sammy Chien and performances by MASOM and the NOW ensemble, madMethod was layers of memory and experience combining light, images and sound, remembered, manipulated and instantly created.




Assembly1 Festival

The NOW Society presents the Vancouver Assembly1 Festival, a creative music and improvisational music gathering. Featuring Nous Perçons les Oreilles - Joanne Hétu and Jean Derome (Montréal), PLANT - Jim Denley (Australia) and Éric Normand (Rimouski, Quebec) the New Orchestra Workshop Ensemble, and presenting the release of the recording and publication of Gary Wildeman’s 48- page comic book graphic score.




light shadow fire

an improvised concert bridging cultures and continents,  inspired by the live painting by Li Tung and compositions by Lisa Cay Miller, Lan Tung and Ron Samworth. A co-production between the Western Front, the NOW Society and the Sound of Dragon Festival, the concert exempliied the NOW values of international collaboration of communities and interdisciplinary artists.





Trunk Puppet NOW

at the Renegade Theatre on December 4 and 5, co-produced with Trunk Puppet from the Old Trout Puppet Workshops. 




leftcoast/eastcost improv series

February 19 – 21. The series included the Nouveau Jazz Libre de Québec CD release concert, Feb. 20, a free public improvisation workshop and the members of the NJLQ Trio, Feb. 19 and finally, musicians from NOW ensembles and early improvisers in a six hour Supreme marathonto pay homage to the spirit of the music of John Coltrane on Feb. 21.





Mentor and Telemachus: stories of Wisdom 

(details here) 

On October 17 at the Vancouver Community College, orkestra futura featured new works by honored guest artist from Amsterdam, Ig Henneman (viola), composer New York City resident and Vancouver born Cat Toren, Mayor Arts award winner Cole Schmidt, as well as a new work by Managing Artistic director Lisa cay Miller. Tony Wilson (guitar), guest artist. 



Rippled Modality

on November 21 at Pyatt Hall, workshops on November 19 and 21, featuring guest artists Anne La Berge (flute, electronics, composer) and Lori Freedman (Bass Clarinet, composer). New Works by Freedman, La Berge and Miller. 





STrong and FRee

8 pm March 28 at the Western Front

A Celebration of Coat Cooke – A Lifetime in Music with NOW

36 Years as an Improvisor, Composer, Leader A Farewell as Artistic Director

details here

image Gary J. Taylor



Onomatopoeia  8 pm November 22 at the Western Front

details here



April 12 - Orkestra Futura / VEE: Urban Sprawl, Western Front Ashes to Ashes


November 23 – Orkestra Futura: Hear It NOW 2012: Time Travel, Scotiabank Dance Centre.Guest artists: George Lewis, Giorgio Magnanensi. Pots (George E. Lewis), We no longer… (Giorgio Magnanensi), Global Unity (Coat Cooke)

April 13 - Orkestra Futura: Music is the Invisible Art, Roundhouse Community Arts Centre. Guest artist:  Christine Duncan. Music is the Invisible Art (Coat Cooke – words and music), Just the Right Amount (Tom Cone/words, Stefan Smulovitz/music) 

September 14 - Orkestra Futura: Pan-Global Imprint, the Western Front. Guest artists: Mei Han, Bich Hoang, Ali Razmi, Curtis Andrews.


February 4 - Orkestra Futura: Meeting of the Minds, The Waldorf Hotel. Matrices, Hallucination, Blues, Mist, Mona, Breakthrough, Chaste, Nazca, Horizon, Cell 

April 1, 2 Orkestra Futura: Game Theory, the Western Front. Guest conductors: Sarah Weaver, Todd Reynolds, Lisle Ellis, Giorgio Magnanensi, Stefan Smulovitz and Paul Cram. BoB, Improvisor Else, Wave Culture, Scales, Shift (Coat Cooke) 

November 12 – Orkestra Futura: Hear It NOW 2011: Phoenix Rising Guest artists: Rainer Wiens, Joane Hétu, DB Boyko. Deepen the Mystery (Rainer Wiens), Pour ne pas désespérer seul (Joane Hétu), Fukushima Breakdown (Arise Dear Phoenix) (Coat Cooke) 


October 15 - Orkestra Futura: Meeting of the Minds, Western Front.

May 15 - Orkestra Futura: Music for Rubber, Wood and Glass, Vancouver East Cultural Centre. Guest artist: Rainer Wiens Breathe into Life (Rainer Wiens), Breathe into Time (Rainer Wiens)


April - Orkestra Futura: L.E.D. by the Light, Vancouver East Cultural Centre.  Guest artists: Eyvind Kang, Christine Duncan. Guest conductors: Pauline Oliveros, John Oswald, Lisle Ellis, Paul Cram, Stefan Smulovitz. In the Belly of the Beast, Ask the Right Question, Get the Right Answer, Mad Scientist Machine


November 7 - Orkestra Futura: Hear It NOW 2008, Roundhouse Community Centre. Guest Artists Jean Derome and Giorgio Magnanensi.