Gill Graham invites us all to join the future with spnm.


In December 1997, as a relative outsider charged with the duties of Executive Director, I joined an organisation which holds the key to success for a great deal of composers. spnm is unique. There is no other national organisation through which composers have the opportunity to hand over quality work and then watch it come to life. The number of composers,many of them now household names, who have been through the portals of spnm over the past 55 years is staggering. The Short Cuts CD, highlighting extracts of music from 29 composers from Elisabeth Lutyens to the 19-year-old Claire Hamer, is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of spnm's activity over the past 55 years.

This however is not a time for complacency. What is contemporary classical music anyway? Surely it is the one genre which has helped develop and inform the composers and performers of today – but the 'contemporary classical' term switches prospective audiences right off. Where do we go from here, how can we dispel the fear of the new? Audiences and performers need variety and spnm needs an image which will demonstrate accessibility to those who have not endeavoured to investigate it. New music comes in many guises and is written by many different people – spnm will continue to embrace it all. spnm's ground-breaking and award-winning work with composers and their teachers in the 16-19 year old bracket will continue long into the future and from it we will have first hand information about the composers, audiences and performers of tomorrow. We have realised the role played by technology in the lives of this future generation.

We have just launched a web-site, a new profile for spnm and a changing strategy (if you missed the party you missed the fun!). Change comes in different shapes and sizes and the form it is taking for spnm is developmental and not a deviation from existing activity. We are transposing the score, varying the menu and modernising the image. We want to get to know composers of all ages and we will create opportunities which will bring them out of the background and into the forefront of musical activity. Composers are people, not pieces of paper. In the same way that artists are distanced from the viewer by the canvas composers can hide behind their music and hope that the message gets across.

spnm is an acronym whose elongated version contains the word 'society'. It is important to remember that spnm is not the society – audiences, composers, performers and the public at large are spnm's society. In reality, society must accept that the composer is the most important ingredient in an event where programmed music is presented. Without the composer there would be no music and with this prospect society would be bereft of an important ingredient in its cultural recipe. The time is fast approaching when even the school system is under threat of being starved of creative, in fact any, music making. We must continue to do what we do best and prove the need for new music and new stimuli. Without our efforts our concert halls would be even darker, there would be even smaller audiences. We want to facilitate partnerships between short-listed composers and youth orchestras, dance groups, musical theatre groups, ensembles large and small and those who are interested in the creative process and the performance of new music.

spnm is seizing the opportunity that is afforded by its unique position to continue to galvanise audiences, teachers, school students, performers, artists – everyone – through relationships with composers and new music in all styles. With a background in training performers for an ever changing industry I am proud to be associated with spnm and to have the opportunity to help do the same for composers.

The message that everyone should be receiving is that spnm has no fear, no boundaries, and certainly no limits. Whether you are a listener, a performer or a composer, open the door and let yourself into spnm.


Join us – email us for details or telephone 0171 828 9696.




The monthly listings magazine new notes is essential reading for composers, performers, and everyone interested in what's new in new music. In its printed version new notes reaches around 5,000 contemporary music enthusiasts in the UK and around the world.

If you promote new music events you should advertise them in new notes. Single concert listings are just £60+VAT. The magazine also features ads for festivals, composer competitions, recordings and more.

new notes
also features
monthly articles on issues at the forefront of new music
special offers on CDs, tickets, scores and books for spnm members
information about forthcoming spnm events
a free classified section for spnm members' non-trade ads.

For full details on advertising or inserting leaflets in new notes please contact
new notes Editor Peter Craik:
e-mail [email protected]spnm.org.uk
telephone 0171 630 0950
fax 0171 931 9928





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