nemko deborahDeborah Nemko, Bridgewater State University
CMS Board Member for Performance

Members of the Advisory Committee for Performance include include Nick Phillips, Roberto Capocchi, Nora Lewis, Francesca Arnone, Heather MacLaughlin Garbes, and Joyce Hall Wolf.

This year we have focused our attention on several initiatives. In an effort to make the Advisory Board more inclusive and represent a wide variety of interests, two new members have been added. Francesca Arnone, flute professor and concert artist at Baylor University and Heather MacLaughlin Garbes, Founder and Artistic Director of the Mägi Ensemble. Their ideas and enthusiasm will assist the Advisory Board with creating new initiatives as well as enhancing those in progress in the coming year.


The Conference in San Diego, led by the venerable Terry Lynn Hudson, was a huge success. Composers concerts directed by Art Gottschalk were well attended and, though logistically very complicated, works that required complicated percussion came off well, though an instrument thought to be a door stop was left in the van and quickly retrieved before the start of one evening concert! Participants were especially pleased with the guidebook app that allowed them to easily navigate from one session of interest to the next. The spectacular location lent itself to casual visits to local San Diego sites in between attendance of conference events. It was noted by some in attendance that there were fewer lecture-recitals on the program and the Committee suggested that, since about 40% of the membership is comprised of performers that more performances and lecture-recitals be a priority for future conferences.


Collaboration has been a theme for us this year and, I suspect, will continue to be of importance in 2013. Having worked with Art Gottschalk and outgoing Board Member, Sam Magill, to carefully construct a Call for Ensembles for the Cambridge Conference, we are pleased to report that 29 ensembles of exceptional quality submitted their materials including sound samples, bios and photos in response to the call. After thorough deliberation it was decided that the following Trios were accepted including: the Juventas Ensemble, a local Boston Conservatory group, Key Ensemble  (trombone, piano, percussion) The Scott/Garrison Duo with Rajung Yang(alto flute/piccolo, clarinet and piano which unites the classical and non-western traditions and Trio Florida (piano, violin, cello). Though the number of compositions submitted for these groups has not been as large as hoped, ensembles have been encouraged to perform works that may have been previously written for them or are in their current repertory. In addition to concerts dedicated to these ensembles, the Cambridge Conference will also feature an increased number of performance related events. At the date of this submission, possible performances include an emphasis on non-western and participatory performances during the reception and/or lunch as well as an increased number of lecture-recitals on the program. It is also possible that, given the variety of high caliber music performances in and around Cambridge, a trip to hear the Boston Symphony perform or a Society generate concert featuring a local well-known artist may be planned. The Cambridge Conference looks to be a terrific event and it is hoped that the diversity in the program will encourage greater membership and participation in the Society.


Currently the Advisory Board is seeking to connect with societies both in music and outside of music. I am currently in contact with Sherry M. Robinson of Chamber Music America regarding a potential alliance with their organization. We are looking at ways in which we can provide intersecting or overlapping programming at our conferences and generally assist each other to better serve the large number of musicians in ensembles. As society changes, so has the role of the chamber musician and entrepreneurship is more than a buzzword. Musicians are finding locations outside of the traditional venues to perform and grass-root projects in communities are booming. CMS has long supported the concept of community engagement and the Foundation has taken a strong role in promoting engagement through grants to groups and individuals. The Committee would like to continue to encourage a paradigm where music organizations can come together to share their resources and enhance the availability guidance and funds available for young ensembles and solo musicians, encourage community music projects as well assist in the advocacy for arts education in our schools.


The Conference in Cambridge with its first day devoted to panels related to committees and board member initiatives and interests, represents a prime location for the breeding ground of new ideas and innovative thinking. At the time of this report, the Performance Advisory Board submitted a proposal entitled “Assessment in Applied Music Courses: When to Jury or Not to Jury is Just the Tip of the Iceberg” for the National Conference in Cambridge. This panel seeks to explore potential new and old ways to assess achievement in performance-based courses. Is it possible to alleviate a tendency towards grading subjectively in a jury-based system? Can the creation of assessment rubrics by department areas, clear learning goals and student-based self-assessment portfolios help to reduce the self-described discomfort felt by faculty serving on juries? By taking a look at the “system” in light of educational assessment theory as well as how new tools for assessment work in practice, this panel will create the foundation for a lively, interactive discussion.


As we look to the International Conference in Argentina this year, we see many opportunities for the membership to explore regional musics as well as traditional music scholarship topics. The natural connection between the music of tango and the dance is one example of interdisciplinary exploration that literally “embodies” CMS’ recent interdisciplinary quick start. In addition, with the help of Alexandra Zacharella, the CMS Ambassadors quick start is moving ahead quickly. Certainly the opportunity to bring international musicians to our conferences, create dialogue on the state of performance in our increasingly “small, wired” world will be truly enhanced by this initiative. The conference in St. Louis also offers tremendous potential to tap the local community. It’s location as one of the musical souls of jazz music and gateway to the west will most surely help to provide a wonderfully engaging conference. Further potential interdisciplinary collaborations between performance and other fields include panels on music and medicine, neural science and music pedagogy, the delicate balance between business sponsorship and the independence of the music curriculum, etc. The Advisory Board is excited about the coming year and looks forward to helping to enhance the opportunities for current and future members to engage in our organization, especially vital at a time of decreasing membership.