Art Music Fund 2017 tips with Sandy Evans

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So the Art Music Fund is a hundred thousand dollar fund to commission new work from composers in the field of art music so that’s the kind of a broad genre that incorporates improvised music, electro-acoustic music what you might call contemporary classical your whole sort of range of really fantastic and interesting new work from composers in Australia and New Zealand So I was really, really excited to have a commission for this project, Bridge of Dreams. It’s a 70-minute work. It’s an inter-cultural work. So it’s for the Sirens Big Band. An all-female big band in Sydney, myself as a saxophone soloist and four extraordinary Indian musicians. So one of them is the Sydney-based tabla player Bobby Singh and the other three are all really leading musicians from India. One is actually Bobby’s guru, Aneesh Pradahn One is the extraordinary Hindustani singer Shubha Mudgal and the other is Sudhir Nayak who plays the harmonium. So the project is the idea of the project is to explore intercultural dialogue as a means of generating new ideas in music to sort of celebrate our shared humanity and it’s a collaborative project so I’m composing in collaboration with Aneesh and Shuba and I found that this is a really great way to work in an intercultural situation because it allows for that sort of free and open dialogue and exchange of ideas. So I think one of the fantastic things about the Art Music Fund is it emphasises that the work is going to have a life and that it will have a premiere and then it will have a life beyond that and I think that’s a really important issue for contemporary composers because obviously that’s difficult, it requires a lot of planning. So that needs to be clear in the application. What the case is with Bridge of Dreams is that we have the premiere performance with Parramasala and then we have other ongoing opportunities, so doing a recording and making a CD, making a documentary about the project that will be disseminated widely and also having a program like a vision for wanting it to go beyond the the premiere performance as well so looking to performances at other festivals both in Australia and overseas. So we’ve been very conscious of that I mean I think it’s very important for any new work and particularly for something on this sort of the scale because you’re going to put so many resources into the commissioning process. So to make sure that the project has a life beyond its premiere I think that’s one of the key points about the Art Music Fund. With a project like Bridge of Dreams which is a major international collaboration, a lot of planning is necessary so part of our planning for this project was to look at a range of funding options. So we were fortunate to be successful with receiving funding from the Australia Council which is funding other parts of this project to do with the presentation and the recording of the project. We’ve applied to a couple of other organisations and we’ll be continuing to do that. So we had about five different places we were looking. Some of those applications haven’t been successful but we have time to apply again so I think that’s an important thing as well, especially for a big project, to allow plenty of lead in time because you know sometimes with applications you might not succeed the first time but you get feedback and you go, well okay if I do this a little differently or need to find more about that particular area, allowing time for that to happen, you know I think is also an important thing. And I think it’s important to be thinking of all the different areas that you need to be looking at, so you know the performance, the promotion, the recording, the dissemination, the online dissemination, and how you’re going to raise funds for all of these different things. It definitely takes a lot of time to prepare these applications and it takes a lot of work to sort of get everybody get confirmation from everybody, find out what they are happy to commit and I think it’s just very important to be thinking of the bigger picture and how you can represent that in your application and how you can draw together all the people that support the project towards that end. So the Art Music Fund is specifically for commissioning music so that worked very well in the case of this project because it meant that the fund was able to provide my commission fee which is extremely helpful and I’m sure composers out there are well aware of that they don’t need to be told that so it’s really fantastic, especially in this current funding climate that there is a place where composers can go to receive that support. So I guess composers just have to be conscious that they have to be able to show that all the other aspects that we’ve been talking about are in place, or a plan is in place, for those aspects. So I think it’s absolutely brilliant that this fund exists and I wish composers every success with it!

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