About Prairie New Music Festivals Inc.

Prairie New Music Festivals Inc. No. 101202191 (PNMF) is an organization dedicated to managing and coordinating new music festivals that focus on Saskatchewan composers, public dissemination of art music, and music education.

The Strata New Music festival is the flagship project of the organization.The purpose of the festival is to entertain, educate, and enlighten the public and composers throughout Saskatchewan through concerts, masterclasses and discussions. This open sensibility to new music has prompted a wonderful diversity of contemporary classical, jazz, electroacoustic, free improvisation and other styles. PNMF is committed to creativity, and the very heart of creativity is to see music from different perspectives.

To this end PMNF encourages and promotes music creation from a diversity of people, especially from those who have been historically underrepresented in music composition.

Prairie New Music Festivals Inc. has five primary goals:
  1. To showcase the work of Saskatchewan composers, especially the work of young and emerging composers, and to be a place for composers from all over Saskatchewan and beyond to connect and be exposed to each other’s work.
  2. To present concerts at the very highest level by hiring professional musicians and bringing in professional guest composers.
  3. To engage the community and grow our base by offering meaningful concerts and by scheduling events that help the public deepen their knowledge of new compositions.
  4. To promote and grow the creative abilities of young composers by offering educational opportunities to young artists of all skill levels.
  5. To provide work for local composers and local musicians.
Prairie New Music Festivals Board:
Paul Suchan, Director
Kendra Harder, Director
Gerard Weber, Director

About the Strata Festival of New Music

Over the span of the previous eight festivals (2012 – 2019, no festival in 2020) the Strata Festival of New Music has been directly responsible for the creation of 56 new works from Saskatchewan composers.  Many of these pieces have continued to be performed across Canada, and several pieces have themselves spurred new projects, including recording projects and new concerts.  The Strata Festival has held events and concerts at venues throughout Saskatoon, including:  The University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Symphony Offices, Paved Arts, the Remai Modern Art Gallery, The Prairie Lily, The Refinery, The Yahama Piano Centre, and the Roxy Theatre.

Programming Criteria:

The Strata Festival does not curate pieces, but curates composers.  Once the composers and ensembles are chosen, we have a strict “hands off” policy in making judgment on the work.  Our goal is to fully realize the vision and work of the composer.

The mandate of our festival is both educational/developmental and to produce new music concerts of high quality.  However,  since roughly half our programming falls into the educational/developmental mandate, this means that not every work will be a success, but the Strata Festival strongly maintains that creativity involves risk, and an emerging composer must have a community and a venue to embark upon the risks that lead to their development and therefore may learn as much from a weak piece as from a strong one.

Programming falls into five categories:

1.  Concerts with unique instruments or combination of instruments, and concerts that are held in unique non-traditional settings or places.  These concerts often feature many new commissions from Sask composers.

Strata Festival Examples:

  1. 2013:  Music for more than 2 pianos, robot/piano collaborations
  2. 2019:  Audience aboard the Prairie Lily, musicians along the South Saskatchewan Riverbank.
  3. 2020:  Music for the Lowest Acoustic Instruments in Saskatchewan.

2.  Concerts in traditional settings with established ensembles.  Often these concerts feature guest performers and guest composers.

Strata Festival Examples:

  1. 2014:  The Strata ensemble with guest composer Gordon Fitzell
  2. 2016:  Concert featuring guest performer pianist Luciane Cardassi
  3. 17:  The Strata ensemble with guest composer Barbara Croall

3.  Concerts where student pieces are workshopped or featured in masterclasses.

Strata Festival Examples:

  1. 2015:  Masterclass with Composer John Celona
  2. 2016:  Masterclass with Composer Allan Gilliland
  3. 2019:  The 2019 Student Composer Symposium

4.  Concerts that are collaborations between composition and other art forms, or with other artistic organizations within the community.

Strata Festival Examples:

  1. 2017:  Collaboration between Little Opera on the Prairie and composers
  2. 2018:  Collaboration between composers and film makers
  3. 2020:  Collaboration between composers and visual artists

5.  Events that are not concerts, or events that do not necessarily take place one time during a scheduled duration.

Strata Festival Examples:

2018:  Sound Installation by Gordon Monahan at the Remai Modern

Strata Festival of New Music Organizers:

  • Artistic Director: Paul Suchan
  • Co-Founders:   Paul Suchan and Darren Miller
  • Advertising: Kayla Rourke
  • Web Design: Bryn Becker
  • Stage Manager/Equipment: Tiess Mckenzie
  • Video/Photography: Matt Luciuk
  • Audio Recording: Darrell Bueckert
  • Hospitality: Spencer Krips

Land Acknowledgement

The Strata Festival of New Music would like to acknowledge that the events and concerts produced are on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.