Thursday 23 October 2008

Bigger and better?

It is all change on the promotion of new music scene in London as the BMIC (British Music Information Centre), Contemporary Music Network, SPNM (Society for the Promotion of New Music) and Sonic Arts Network are merging into a single entity - SAM (Sound and Music).

The impetus for the change seems to have come, partly, from the creation of the new Kings Place concert hall complex in the Kings Cross area. The possibility of a close collaboration there was raised (this has since been diluted to a weekly evening curated by SPNM). This let to the organisations deciding to come together as a single entity.

Obviously the idea is that bigger is better. The BMIC promotes information about British Music and has a stable of young composers whose work it makes available. SPNM does something a little similar, by creating events which promote new music and providing opportunities for composers. One of the SPNM's notable annual events it the call for scores where anyone can send scores in with the possibility of them being accepted for performance in the next year's programme. The SPNM has a rotating artistic director rather than a single person for a long period. Contemporary Music Network and Sonic Arts Network are more performance let, concert promotion organisations.

In the current climate, where the arts are not always appreciated as they should be in official government circles, creating an organisation with a larger footprint is probably a good idea. The drawback, from my point of view, is a worry that bigger is not necessarily better, that the personal nature of some of these organisations will disappear. We can only wish them well, and hope.

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