5 questions to Matthew Fava (Toronto New Music Alliance) about the New Music Passport

The Toronto New Music Alliance just launched a new initiative: a New Music Passport. For $35 (plus a small service charge), passport owners will receive one discounted ticket to one concert by each participating organization—eleven concerts total—during the 2013-2014 season. Joanne Lam asked 5 questions to Matthew Fava about the passport. -Editor

How did the New Music Passport come about?

The New Music Passport was developed as a marketing initiative by members of the Toronto New Music Alliance which is an affiliation of new music organizations and artists in Toronto. The first passport was initiated in the fall of 2012, and this year is our second effort. We wanted to pool our resources and make an emphatic statement about the amazing music by living composers happening in our city: classical music isn’t just by dead people! We also wanted to encourage those interested in one concert to sample a few different ones and perhaps broaden their musical taste; for example, someone who goes to the orchestra might enjoy works for 6-hand piano. Also, a person can experience the intimacy or grandeur of different venues across the city they might not normally visit. And of course we want to attract students and other individuals whose financial resources might be more limited.


What has been your greatest challenge in launching an initiative like this?

Reaching new audience members outside our existing patron lists. The idea is not to cannibalize our existing supporters, but to attract interested new parties who see it as an adventure with little risk.

How has the response been so far?

Enthusiastic and supportive within the new music community, but sales so far have been modest. We are doing our best to get the word out, and hope that by chatting with local music and arts blogs like yourselves we can reach those people hungry for new experiences in music.

Beyond concert attendance, how else can New Music Passport foster a community of new music enthusiasts?

In terms of fostering community, it is hugely important that we support one another as presenters and artists. This includes going to each other’s events, but also encouraging our audiences to support other organizations. We are particularly proud that the passport involves a diverse range of organisations: exciting new groups such as Toy Piano Composers who recently celebrated their fifth season, and organizations such as Esprit Orchestra and Soundstreams who have 30 years of history. Outside of the new music community, we would love for people to treat the passport as an adventure to see how many stamps they can get in one season! How great would it be to hear from those people on Twitter and Facebook as they experience each concert. All it takes is one friend’s excitement to get a few others to go with them the next time.

What suggestions would you give to organizations elsewhere who might be interested in launching a New Music Passport of their own?

Collaboration is always a good idea. The more innovative you can be, the better, and everyone can benefit. We are learning as we go and will have more lessons to share after this season!

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