The title says it all! I returned this morning from the National Performing Arts Convention (NPAC) held from June 10-14 in Denver and had a wonderful and inspiring time. This was the second NPAC Convention and it brought together thousands of arts administrators, musicians, dancers, actors, executive directors of theater, opera and orchestra, to meet and "lay the foundation for future multi-disciplinary collaborations, cooperative efforts, and effective advocacy." The first convention was held four years ago in Pittsburgh and apparently it was mostly attended by administrators and executive directors of organizations, not the most diverse crowd to tackle the above issues. This time the American Music Center, the American Composers Forum, and Meet the Composer spearheaded a successful effort to achieve more participation by individual artists, so our particular voices and issues could be heard.
I enjoyed sitting in small cross-disciplinary caucus sessions and as often is the case, talking with people after the "official" duties brought some of the most interesting discussions on what is new music, the philosophy of the LA Philharmonic, micro-brews, and Madonna (ok, I made that last one up). One night after all of the meetings, with a few other composers, I headed uptown? to hear a wonderful new music group called The Playground (in residence at the University of Denver) perform Paul Hindemith, George Crumb, and Tom Waits in an art gallery/design studio/former garage with free beer and cookies! The closing session featured a great two song performance by jazz singer Dianne Reeves (although it was a little disappointing to see so many people leave as she was beginning; I hope they just had to catch their flights rather than leaving because it was (gasp!) "jazz").
Overall it was inspiring to meet other composers from all over the country (as well as from NYC) as well as other non-musicians. I want to thank Molly Sheridan, Joanne Hubbard Cossa, and all of the good folks at the American Music Center who asked me to be apart of the composer coterie.