Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Alberta Accompanists Association: Serving Communities and Repertoire Needs

The Albert Accompanists Association is an organization (similar to Australian ones) which should serve for a model in more communities across North America. Its mandate:
The Alberta Accompanists Association is a group of collaborative artists that serve the music community in Edmonton and area, connecting supporting musicians with other instrumentalists, vocalists, and ensembles. We promote excellence in collaborative artistry by maintaining high standards for our members. The directory is publicly available and aims to connect groups and individuals with excellent musicians.

The community can count on strong accompanists that are skilled in their area of interest when working with an AAA member.

Each member of the association is a working collaborative artist, with a minimum 2-years of experience in their specialization. Moreover, each member is recognized by the music community as a musician of great skill. The community can access the information about members by searching specializations, years of experience, geographic area, etc. in an online database. Users search for specific types of accompaniment (choral accompaniment, classical music, musical theatre, etc), and have access to a filtered list of musicians.

Each member has worked in the community for at least 2 years, has received payment for their work, has worked with at least 3 different clients, and has education (or substantial experience) in the field of accompaniment.

An arm's length jury evaluates each member to ensure a high level of quality among artists
The AAA also receives funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for its operations. The site consists of both a search tool for those needing services (with fields for skill needs, experience, musical style, and location) and a registration process for pianists who want to join the association.

There are only 13 pianists listed on the site at present, but this is an excellent start to filling the needs of singers and instrumentalists who are often always in need of a pianist for upcoming engagements. Hopefully pianists in the Calgary and Lethbridge areas might be interested in joining and allowing the AAA to expand its reach beyond Edmonton.

I can't see why this model wouldn't work in other areas in Canada or the United States. It can be exceedingly difficult in places such as Toronto to find a pianist in the peak season, and a local directory of this sort might be a great way to streamline the search process of finding a pianist for specific niches. I can also imagine that an "arm's length jury" might easily devolve into a racket in some cities, so ethical governance would be a priority for any start-up organization of this sort.

What are your thoughts about and experiences with accompanist organizations?

No comments:

Post a Comment