Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How arts & literary magazines fall under the axe: History of Canadian Periodical Fund

July 8, 2003 - Feds cut Canadian Magazine Fund:

February 17, 2008 - the consolidation of the Canada Magazine Fund and Publications Assistance Program into the Canadian Periodical Fund.
Comment by Kate Munro: "Despite big magazines receiving continued funding under the new Canadian Periodical Fund, all arts & literary magazines/journals with under 5000 paid circulation (the majority) are entirely losing CMF funding and postal subsidies.

If you are a Facebook member, search for the Coalition to Keep Federal Support of Literary, Scholarly and Arts Magazines

Silencing Canadian music: artists affected by cut of Specialized Music Recording Program

The federal government would like Canadian citizens to believe that the only people being affected by the cut of the Specialized Music Recording Program is weird, fringe, freak music that "Canadian tax payers shouldn't pay for." The truth is that all sorts of musicians who play stuff you want to hear will be silenced: community gamelan, your regional orchestra, that kick-ass folk band, or your favourite alternative indie band. It seems that your federal government is only interested in music that defines success by market share, and we know that means big records companies only.

Below is a partial list of those Canadian recording artists in your community who will likely be silenced by the demise of this program. The list comes from grant recipients from 2007 (from public information available from The Canada Council for the Arts web site – which I'll update when I can). Google any of these names to find a mix of all sorts of music from First Nations, to folk, to classical, to jazz and improvised, and indie rock & alternative. (If you see an error, please contact me or comment.)

Sinfonia Toronto
Amanda Tosoff Quartet
Michelle Boudreau
Jane Bunnett
BW Musique
Chamber Players of Canada
Annabelle Chvostek
Robert Clutton
Common Thread
Christa Couture
Dark Blue World
Katenen Dioubaté
Dirty Beat
Brandi Disterheft
Dominique Reynolds & The Saboteurs
Dream Algebra
Ryan Driver
Guy Donis
Elephant Island
Karyn Ellis
Ensemble Montréal Tango
Ensemble Stadaconé
Michael Essoudry
Evergreen Club - Contemporary Gamelan
Colin Fisher
Gallery Players of Niagara
Michel Gonneville
Haida Gwaii Singers
Yoko Hirota
Viviane Houle
Ion Zoo
John Southworth and the South Seas
Bradley Keller
Pierre Labbé
LaL Group
Wayne Lavallee
Le vent du nord
Lina Allemano Four
Nicole Lizée
Brenda MacIntyre
Reza Manbachi
Amanda Martinez
Bruce Mather
Essaïd Mesnaoui
Lisa Miller
Moon Circus
Miranda Mulholland
Musique Multi-Montréal
New Orchestra Workshop Society
Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM)
Farangis Nurulla-Khoja
Orchid Ensemble
Achilla Orru
Paul Read Orchestra
Peggy Lee Band
Tamara Persyko
Joseph Petric
Quasar quatuor de saxophones
Quatuor Bozzini
Radical 3
Dieudonné Rakotomamonjy
Random Access
Red Chamber
Redshift Music Society
Skeena Reece
Tony Reif
Yannick Rieu
Anne-Marie Schaefer
Simon Fisk Trio
Sinfonia Toronto
Jayme Stone
The Justin Haynes Group
The Marigolds
Theresa Transistor
Thom Gossage Other Voices
Ugly Beauties
Vancouver Chamber Choir
Viper Central

Songlines Recordings
earsay records
Spool Records
Canadian Music Centre
Diffusion i média

The following information provided to me by Daniel Heikalo of Montreal on 2009-09-20. His comment:

"We are faced with a government with a gag agenda on artists who dare to innovate. Time for canadians to stop being sooo canadian, so polite and self-deprecatingly sheepish, and to rise-up and scream their indignation at the assassination of their culture by a bunch of "minority" fascist, in power with the help of all the other parties who support them to gain political points while our society and culture crumbles, behind walls, behind the headlines. They want to silence us, lets speak out!"

Daniel Heïkalo, guitarist-composer-improviser (Montreal and Nova Scotia)

Ambiances Magnétiques


Daniel Heïkalo, Arthur Bull, John Heward, Paul Dutton, John Oswald, Jean Derome, Joan Hétu, Malcolm Goldstein, René Lussier, Ganesh Anandan, Pierre Tanguay, Pierre Cartier, Bernard Falaise, Normand Guilbeault, André Duchesne, Michel F. Côté, Tom Wlash, Jean René, Danielle P. Roger, La Fanfare Pourpour, Martin Tétrault, Guillaume Dostaler, Trio Fibonacci, Rainer Wiens, Ziya Tabassian, Fred Frith, Joëlle Léandre, Antoine Berthiaume, Marie-Soleil Bélanger, Mélanie Aiclair, Chantal Dumas, Diane Labrosse, Robert marcel Lepage, Alexandre Saintonge, Nicloas Caloïa, Michel Chion


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toronto's CONTACT Contemporary Music cancels New Music Marathon 2009

Jerry Pergolesi, Artistic Director of CONTACT Contemporary Music, announced today that they must cancel their New Music Marathon 2009 "due to circumstances beyond our control", namely funding shortfall. The event was to have taken place at Young Dundas Sq. in Toronto on Sept. 26. Pergolesi added that "we also hope that we can continue to hold the event at YD Square as nothing like this happens anywhere in Canada and the event has gained attention on a national and international level."

Specialized Music recordings axed by Feds

Moore restructuring Canada Music Fund
Heritage Minister James Moore has announced an increase in the Canada Music Fund, the federal government's main fund to support the music industry, but changes are coming in the way the fund distributes its money.
Two programs have been eliminated but the five remaining programs will see more money under the new plan, announced in Montreal on Friday. Moore said the changes will direct more money to digital platforms, but he could provide few details.
Its funding will be increased by $9.85 million annually to $27.6 million a year until 2014, he said.
"We are also ensuring that a wide variety of Canadian music is accessible on multiple platforms, increasing the reach of our artists both in Canada and abroad," Moore said in a statement.
The programs eliminated were:
* Canadian Musical Diversity: This fund, administered through the Canada Council for the arts, went to indie music makers under a sound recording program and a specialized music distribution program.
* Support to Sector Associations: This program, administered by Canadian Heritage, provided up to $250,000 annually to industry associations.
The musical diversity program distributes about $1.35 million annually, mainly to artists who kept control of their own copyright, and some of that funding has been redirected.
The new program areas include:
* $900,000 for digital market development, in a fund aimed at music entrepreneurs and businesses.
* $500,000 for international market development, which will support international showcases that help Canada artists make international connections.
Canadian musicians could be expected to welcome news of the international development program since they were among the artists hurt by last year's cancellation of PromArt, which provided grants so emerging artists could tour.
Expanding eligibility to professionals, such as managers and distributors who work in digital technologies, seems to be among the thrusts of the new development.
The Canadian Music Fund will continue to fund existing programs administered by:
* FACTOR: the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings, an independent organization that provides grants for new Canadian artists to tour and record.
* SOCAN: Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, which provides grants for cultural festivals and new works.
* MusicAction Foundation: a non-profit organization that supports the marketing and promotion of francophone music.
The announcement from Canadian Heritage did not say how the money would be distributed among the five programs remaining under the fund. Calls to the ministers office seeking clarification were not returned.
The changes take effect in April 2010.

San Francisco Opera curtails productions of newer works

The following is excerpted from an article in the New York Times;

Suffering the same financial woes afflicting most arts organizations, the

San Francisco Opera has curtailed productions of newer works this season in

the hope that repertory favorites will fill seats. David Gockley, the

company's innovative general director, recently told The San Jose Mercury

News, "The research that I have access to says that it's the core works, the

great central works of the operatic tradition, that attract and inspire the

new audience. You might have heard, 'Well, new works or edgy productions are

what get the young people in.' Well, it's not true."

So now it's general directors of opera companies who are "innovative" rather than audiences and creators…

Or so they will tell us.

Victoria Symphony cuts New Currents contemporary music festival

I learned today that the Victoria Symphony has decided to cut its New Currents new music festival citing financial trouble. This will curtail an important activity of Composer-in-Residence Rodney Sharman, and silence the hearing of countless new compositions by Canadian composers.

Chronology of cuts to creative arts in Canada to September 15, 2009

This blog entry will be edited and updated as a list of cuts to the creative arts in Canada is compiled from various sources over the next few weeks. If you are reading this and see a factual error, please send me an email with a correction. Thanks.

September 8, 2009. Vancouver BC. A blogger who goes by the name "Jer" publishes a trenchant graphic analysis of the BC budget that reveals the devastating extent of the cuts to arts and culture in BC. See the article here, and the clearest of the charts here.

September 3, 2009. BC Minister of Housing and Social Development looks at multi-year contracts to fund various arts organisations and decides they must honour the commitments. SOURCE: Vancouver Sun

September 2, 2009. BC Arts Council reveals on its web site that their annual budget will be supported by funds from Gaming rather than direct government appropriation, as in the past. This explains why so many artists and arts organisations that applied for sustained funding through the Gaming Branch were denied: the money has gone to BC Arts Council. On their web site, BC Arts Council states:

Last month, the Province elected to use gaming revenues to provide support to Council programs. As a result, the 2009/10 Budget Estimates tabled yesterday do not include an appropriation from general revenues. With resources from Gaming, Council will operate as usual through the 2009/10 fiscal year with a budget of approximately $11M. All of Council's decisions on grants will be based on the independent peer review process with the funds paid via the Community Gaming Grants program.

Council does recognize that due to the loss of Direct Access support from Gaming, many artists and arts organizations face difficult decisions. Council will continue to consult with the arts community, staff and the Province to explore all avenues to augment the grants budget.

August 2009 - BC . Ministry of Housing and Social Development announced that the freeze on community gaming grants had been lifted, and set out a list of ten "priorities for the remainder of the 2009/10 grants." Arts funding appeared in sixth place on this list. At the same time, applicants to the Direct Access program began to receive letters advising them that their applications had been denied - whether the applications had been for annual funding, or for a second installment of committed three year funding. SOURCE: Orchestras Canada.

July 31, 2009 - Heritage Minister Michael Moore axes the only two Specialized Music Recordings programs. See full article.

July 2009 - BC. Applicants for Direct Access Grants became concerned earlier this summer when the usual dates for grant notification passed with no communication from the relevant Ministry. Media sources then learned that the Province had frozen the funds and that staff was performing a review of both the annual and multi-year Direct Access funding programs, with results to be known before the Province's next budget, anticipated for early September. SOURCE: Orchestras Canada. Analysis by NDP MP Spencer Herbert (Vancouver Centre) reveals that cuts to government support for the arts in BC will amount 92%. SOURCE: Vancouver Sun newspaper.

February 2009. BC government announced its intention to reduce arts and culture spending by 45% in 2009-10. Supplemental budget estimates released February 18 indicated that one-time funding, totaling $15 million, would be directed to arts, culture and heritage for 2009-10, more than compensating for the cut called for in the budget. At the same time, though, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and the Arts released its three-year Service Plan, which clearly indicated that spending on arts and culture from the province’s “core” budget would be projected to decline from just over $19.5 million in 2008-09 to just under $9.9 million in 2011-12. One day later, then-Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Bill Bennett and BC Arts Council Chair Donald Shumka wrote a joint letter to the BC arts community, confirming that “there has been no funding reduction to arts and culture in the 2009-10 budget [and that] in fact slightly more money will actually be going to arts and culture in the coming fiscal year.” However, the letter was silent on the province’s longer-term intentions. SOURCE: Orchestras Canada

August 8, 2008 - Feds cut PromArt program that allowed Canadian performing and creative artists to present their work worldwide, as well as the $9-million Trade Routes program, which helps cultural groups prepare to export and sell in international markets. Most developed nations understand the value of such public investment to stimulate the economy and increase the nation's international reputation and influence. See these links:

March 27, 2008 - CBC axes the 70 year old CBC Radio Orchestra, North America’s last remaining radio orchestra and platform for countless premieres of new Canadian compositions.

February 2008, elimination of the classical music budget for CBC Records, precisely on the eve of their first Grammy win by Canadian violinist James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey on the CBC Records label.

December 2006 - CBC discontinues the show dedicated to new music called Two New Hours. [Editor's note: a program called The Signal replaced the show. It had a different approach to programming new concert music, placing it in the mix with other genres and in several locations during its every-day evening schedule, with particular emphasis on new concert music during the time slot of the old Two New Hours.]

2003 - CBC suspends The CBC Young Composers’ Competition and the CBC Young Performers’ Competition for These two important domestic competitions had been instrumental in the development of some of Canada’s best musical talent including: Angela Hewitt, Ben Heppner, Jon Kimura Parker. The Canada Council provided half of the funding for the $10,000.00 grand prizes.

Keeping track of the war on art

The time has come to keep track of all of the destruction of art culture that is happening around us.

Although the title of this blog refers to Canada specifically, I'll also note any cuts happening in the USA that happen to cross my path.

To begin with, I'll list a brief chronology – in the next post – of what has happened in the past few years in Canada, with the help of my friends and colleagues and readers of this blog. So everyone pitch in: send me your story of how your life as an artist – whether professional or amateur – has been affected by government policy and artistic management of cultural organisations.

John Oliver on music composition and performance Headline Animator