Tuesday 15 May 2012

Coma annual report

Last week CoMA's annual report popped through my letter box. CoMA (Contemporary Music for All) is organisation dedicated to giving everyone opportunities to come together to make music; musicians of all abilities, backgrounds and interests work together to produce amazing contemporary music. They run around 11 regional ensembles and each year have a summer school. I attended a weekend of the summer school 7 or 8 years ago and had the most amazing time making contemporary music.

The annual report is a summary of their activities from 2011.

  • 248 performing musicians - 225 amateurs and 23 professionals - taking part in 27 public music events involving 29 premieres.

  • 71 composers - 1 Norwegian, 3 Estonian, 3 UK commissions, 6 vocal works by Trinity Laban students, 22 works from Calls for Pieces, 2 composer residencies, 3 regional composer workshops, 33 CoMa composer members.

  • 2283 audience members attending 27 public events
In many ways this is wonderfully admirable and I can testify that taking part in a CoMa event has a profoundly transformative effect. Friends recently took part in one of the workshops, singing music by students and the event was amazing both from the point of view of the performer and the composers listening to their works.

CoMA's idea of contemporary music is admirably broad church, so that audiences get the opportunity to experience quite varied styles.

And yet, its a shame that their reach does not stretch wider, that more people did not take part and that audiences were far bigger.

Of course, a lot of is this to do with funding. Though many events are self-funding, the PRS for Music Foundation contributed £20,000 in 2011, almost a third of CoMA's turnover in 2011. But in our age of austerity, where the arts inevitably suffer, that CoMA goes on to continue developing is an admirable miracle.

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