Curating Within Musical Ensembles

Author: Barbara Scales1
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  • 1 Founder, Latitude 45 Arts, Canada
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The central question for curating innovative performances by ensembles, which connect to their moment in time and to their audiences, is deciding what to play, and why. What repertoire shall we play? Or perhaps, what shall we arrange? What should we learn and practice, and what should we commission? And underlying these questions is the wonder-filled query: Why? What is the magical combination that informs these choices? I explored these central questions via a two-hour virtual conversation with leaders of three very different ensembles. My starting point for this exploration is that music ensemble leaders are involved in a complex process of making choices in relation to the intention of their ensemble and the time and place of the performance. Even if they do not already use the word, I suggest that curating is what these ensembles are doing. In order to grasp the nature of curation, we can learn a great deal from the process as it develops within an ensemble.

Contributor Notes

Barbara Scales founded Latitude 45 Arts in 1981 in Montreal, a full-service organization for performers, composers, and media artists from six continents. Originally from New York City, Barbara Scales lives in Montreal where she studied philosophy. Since 2014, she has been President of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Music Centre-Quebec.


The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation

  • Thibault Bertin, Ricardo Gallardo, and Étienne Gara. 2021. Virtual conversation with the author. February 20.


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