April 20, 1997
The meeting was called to order at 1:15 pm on April 20, 1997 at the home of David Fuqua in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Zeke Hecker acted as moderator.
In attendance were: Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, David Fuqua, David Gunn, Bill Harris, Zeke Hecker, Tim Price, Larry Read, and Don Stewart. Planning but unable to attend were Lisa Jablow, Peggy Madden and Paul Webb.
Minutes of the meeting of January 5, 1997, were read and informally approved.
Tim suggested that composers pay a per-minute fee of $5 to $10 to pay performers for the performance of their works. Zeke brought up the question of indigent composers. Bill questioned whether a nominal cost would be satisfactory, so long as a grant application was put in to make it possible for all composers. He felt it would be more businesslike that way. Zeke explained how it was done in the past: fees were negotiated with each performer or group. Larry made two points: if it's pay-per-minute, it is a steep charge, and we should go to performers good enough to justify the expense; and when performers get to choose, they choose the easy pieces, because it's rarely enough money to justify performing the harder ones. Zeke said the result was that performers were more invested in the music, and we should take the next step. Larry reiterated that we would have to pay more money. David Fuqua noted that Vermont connections were good, and suggested union scale could be used to pay and get funds. Zeke said he didn't get scale. Bill noted that it got away from arbitrary bargaining. No action was taken.
Larry asked Bill why the Vermont Community Foundation turned down our grant for this year, and Bill thought it had seemed odd and abrupt, but that they had limited funds. Larry said that many groups performed Vermont music simply because they lived in Vermont, but didn't want to perform for nothing. Discussion followed. Tim asked if finding musicians in Vermont was successful. Zeke said it was true in some areas. More discussion followed. Zeke lamented what he called the 'ad-hoc scoring problem', where the Consortium needed to construct each group to play scores with non-standard instrumental groupings and electronics. Bill said solo piano really expanded the list of possibilities, and discussion followed regarding the Schoenberg model of a performance society. Zeke ticked off a list of performers.
Dennis reviewed the question of eclecticism both in regard to composers performing their own works, and how it points to other ensembles being created by the Consortium if it was willing to do the calling, such as with the 1991 Montpelier festival. Dennis reiterated Tim's email question: What does the Consortium do for composers? What are the core groups? Bill said it always comes down to money.
Larry pointed out Gwyneth Walker's organizational skills and how she interested organizations and performers in asking for music. He asked how information led to performing, and wondered how to lobby for or facilitate more present-day concerts. Tim suggested a computer bulletin board. Dennis identified Gwyneth's understanding of how to be gently political and go right to the source, such as the Governor, to help with visibility. Tim wondered about guaranteed audiences for performers who are also interested in their careers. There were chuckles. Larry offered that perfomers often don't want to do a piece they can't add to their repertoire.
Then the meeting began in earnest.
Don said there was $1074.21 in the treasury, and presented a written summary of the past two quarters. Current bills paid were for Montpelier's piano tuning ($73), the newsletter printing ($63.40) and postage ($64). An ASCAP license fee of $28 was paid. The May 31 deadline for 501(c)3 application was coming up, and Don said he was working with the lawyer on it. He noted that some dues were arriving, and a few extra contributions were being received.
David Gunn said it took quite a while to get the list, and some members were missing, some in arrrears. He was confused in trying to get the information, and hoped to get a complete new and accurate list from Don. Tim said the Consortium really needed to provide something for dues -- at least an accurate membership list. Dennis said he used to keep two lists, one of current members, one of complimentary copies (including past members) for publicity purposes. Bill said the Consortium couldn't insist on past dues, but Don said some represented in the festival had not yet paid. David Fuqua thought that, after several years of not paying dues, composers should no longer get the newsletter at all. Zeke said the treasurer and listkeeper needed to keep in contact to stay current.
Zeke expressed thanks to David Fuqua from the entire group for taking over the newsletter, Consorting.
David Fuqua set the deadline for the next issue at June 1, and noted that an eight-page newsletter was cheaper than six pages, based on insertion and folding. He asked about frequency, who had written letters in the past, etc., and that he wanted special articles on topics such as performing rights and grand rights. Dennis offered to collect information from the Free Music Philosophy and Negativland websites to present in an Internet rights feature. Don said an overview would be valuable because many members would not have thought about it.
David Fuqua wondered about publishing music. Dennis said he had published clips when he edited Consorting, as well as a set of short scores in a VCA Consortium supplement, but never full pieces in the newsletter. Zeke said he had some brief music, and David Fuqua offered to publish one- to two-page scores. Larry wondered how useful that would be, and Dennis responded by saying there were many performers on the newsletter's comp list who might see the pieces. Zeke suggested there be both the scores and comments. Dennis mentioned the 'La Musique Petite' website and its monthly thematic contributions. Don and Tim mentioned that various keyboard magazines make a similar publishing effort.
Dennis brought up the problem of the media archives of the Consortium, and explained the number of hours of tape and video available of Consortium concerts and events, how much physical room it took, and how he wished there were a permanent and accessible location for all of it. He said the six-year on-again-off-again talks with Middlebury were off again, and he had given up the discussions in frustration. Bill pointed out that there was really no room there anyway. Larry said huge collections were accepted at UVM, but there was no way to get access to them, including the Bloom and Calabro collections.
Dennis proposed putting all the audio on one-off CDs for archives. Tim mentioned that towns set aside money for conservation, and this was a good idea. Larry wondered if performances were good enough to preserve, asking "Is it worth it?". Dennis responded that we would give anything for a performance of Mozart during his lifetime, and that these were the same sort of thing. The group informally agreed to look into funding an archive process.
Zeke presented Lisa Jablow's proposals. Fundraising should seek development funds to sponsor Consortium programs that go from state college to state college, with the suggestion that Ken Langer help coordinate. Lisa's program, the VCME, Constitution Brass Quintet, alternative media, Kevra/Huling, etc., can go as a package. Don asked if we should also pursue a woodwind program, and Zeke asked Larry about the VCME. Larry referred VCME questions to director Steve Klimowski. The group agreed to sponsor concerts by the VCME and other groups by using the Consortium logo, which doesn't exist. David Fuqua suggested a logo contest in the next newsletter.
Zeke next relayed information about the Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival from July 11-13, with more information to come about programming of Vermont composers' music on one of the concerts. Discussion returned to the traveling concerts, and Zeke wondered about the possibility of eclectic woodwind concerts. Larry thought there might be public interest in something similar to "Farmers' Days", and thought the group should look for both a locale and opportunities for performance that happen more than once.
David Gunn thought a "circus atmosphere" similar to First Night was a big advantage, along with participation in Montpelier's Midsummer festival or at the Shelburne Museum. He felt that to participate in a very different context wwas important, along with a different presentation and a traveling set of events -- even Interstate rest stops, but not "snooty academinicienians". Zeke also suggested the Consititution Quintet and Michael Arnowitt. Larry said that if he had a clear idea, he could approach Joyce Flanagan in Burlington. David said the First Night deadline was very soon; Don said he was for it if "it was warm and the toilets flushed". Tim asked about star-quality performers in Vermont, but was largely greeted with stunned silence.
Bill returned to the issue of money, saying "if you have money, something else will come along". He suggested enlisting individual patrons, etc., to hire a grant writer/foundation searcher, even for grants as far away as Germany, Finland or Japan. He though seed money was important, and $10,000 to $15,000 for six months would be a good sum to fund a finite project, such as archiving. In summary, he felt the Consortium should look for someone to fund, with seed money, a search. David Fuqua suggested instead of searching for money ourselves, we should piggyback or coordinate with a larger or national group, such as the American Composers Forum or American Music Center. Tim thought we should focus membership on the upcoming plans. Bill was given a go-ahead to pursue support for a grant-seeker.
Dennis then gave the radio show update, including Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar shows on AudioNet, the successful collaboration with the Web Project in mentoring Vermont students with composers from the U.S. and Europe, the plans for a semi-annual magazine with an inserted CD, discussions of rights, and the search for grant funds. He explained how the Electronic Music Foundation had raised significant money by asking composers for a founding-member contribution. Dennis also lamented the lack of Vermont composers in the past year on the show, counting only eight composers in 1996 and one in 1997. David Fuqua will put a special item in the next newsletter. Dennis concluded by explaining that although the show was expensive -- over $10,000 personal expenses for the hosts -- it had provided a point of exchange and the presence of new music from Vermont and the rest of the world on the web.
Tim suggested that the Consortium make some things mandatory with membership, including working concerts throughout the year. Zeke proposed conditions of membership for the next meeting's agenda.
Zeke asked the group about music for the next eight months -- if we were to have it, what would it be? He ticked off co-sponsoring Warebrook, the VCME, and performances by Michael Arnowitt. In the case of Michael's loyalty to Vermont music, several members suggested that we try to get money for a special traveling presentation, asking him what he would need, what he would like to perform, what costs it would incur, what people he might work with, and the long-term notice needed. Zeke suggested it might be time for Michael to be asked to do another all-Vermont-composers concert.
Zeke also proposed that sometime in the fall there be a kind of "musicke for divers instruments", not produced ourselves, but rather we do the music, and others not in the Consortium do the presentation. Discussion followed. A series of concerts might use existing public gatherings such as churches or festivals. Don thought we should "aim at places that will accept the idea of new pieces". David Fuqua thought what worked best last fall was piggybacking on existing organizations, especially in the south. He also thought a quiet venue would be important for music like his. Discussion branched out about Middlebury, which Bill reported had a good hall. Zeke asked who would come there, noting the attendance at the festival held in Middlebury had been the smallest recorded. He suggested it be combined with other events. David Fuqua thought visual arts would be good, such as the AVA Gallery in Lebanon. Dennis suggested the Round Barn in Waitsfield, and David Fuqua added that "music for galleries" would be a good idea. Zeke thought a portable winds/voice/electronics/ambient set of concerts might be valuable, and ambient outdoors music for the fall.
Time wanted to know how scores were contributed, and Dennis explained there was really no in-place mechanism, and it varies with what is being done. Tim suggested we bring scores to the Consortium.
Plans for the gallery concerts were considered further, including small ensembles playing 30 to 60 minutes of music, paying each player from donations or door sales in the galleries, with a menu of dates and players so as to issue a call for scores. Discussion by Zeke, Don and David Fuqua followed. Larry asked what the call would be, and it settled at first on the woodwind venue, with other items to be discussed later.
The date of the next meeting was not set, but would be in early July
It was a carbohydrate table for this meeting, with two home-made breads and a chocolate cake, together with a pot of tea.Respectfully submitted,