New Works Calgary, through its concert series, supports the creation and performance of contemporary concert music with emphasis on Calgary and Southern Alberta composers and musicians. It encourages the exploration of relationships between music and other artistic disciplines, offering inquisitive audiences thought-provoking, enriching and unique experiences, creating a more vibrant cultural environment.
New Works Calgary came about because the artist John Snow had commissioned a trio by Allan Rae and discovered there was no performance in sight. Surprised by this, John and his wife Kathleen sponsored a concert of new music by Calgary composers and musicians, in association with the Canadian Music Centre celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation in April 1984. The success of this concert encouraged John and co-founder Quenten Doolittle to continue with a concert series that would feature new works. As a result “New Works of Art Calgary Society” was established in 1984 and has maintained a continuous series of three to seven programs each season. The need for this new society was best expressed by John Snow: “New paintings are easily seen by everyone, even if it is only by looking in the window of an art gallery. Written works are almost as easy being available from libraries, magazines, books, and many radio programs. More difficult are works for the theatre and most difficult of all is to have the opportunity to hear new music.” Besides being first president, John designed the programs and posters, which became collector’s items. John and Kathleen Snow again helped to fund the next program held in the Pleiades Theatre, April 1985.
New Works Calgary’s mission is to present Canadian music (with a particular emphasis on the music of Calgary and Albertan composers), and to create a cultural environment in which an appreciation of 20th century Canadian music can be developed. Our mandate also includes the presentation of important world music. Calgary premières have included Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Our first artistic manager, Jamie Syer, organized the New Works Calgary Ensemble which originally was supported by a gift from TransCanada Pipelines. This group became the heart of many performances.
Our general goal has been not only to present contemporary Canadian music in all its diversity but also to explore the rich collaborative possibilities between Canadian composers and poets, writers, video and performance artists, visual artists, dancers, actors, and painters. (Quenten Doolittle)
Artists interested in performing or having New Works Calgary present their work are invited to contact the New Works General Manager