Music News

October 25, 2012

Updated: Open Message on the Future of Banff Centre Music Programs

Updated:October 25, 2012

You may be aware of some recent media coverage about the future of Banff Centre music programs. Today, October 25, Jeff Melanson, president of The Banff Centre and Henk Guittart, director of our Fall and Winter Creative Music Residencies, issued the following joint statement:  

Jeff Melanson:  “Working with our talented faculty and alumni from around the world, I look forward to growing the impact and reach of the Centre’s music programs. The Centre will continue to support classical music and musicians throughout all our programs and residencies.  At the same time, we intend to diversify our programming to open more opportunities for musicians of all genres. As The Banff Centre has proven time and again throughout our 80-year history, exploring creativity and innovation across disciplines and without boundaries produces extraordinary results.”

Henk Guittart: “For more than three decades, the Centre’s Fall and Winter Creative Music Residencies — one of a kind on our planet — have nurtured thousands of talented artists; many of whom have gone on to leading positions in musical organizations all over the world. I regret that certain of my recent communications may have contributed to some of the confusion about the direction and future of the Centre’s music programs. I remain 100 per cent committed to nurturing the creativity and musicianship of the participants in our 2012-13 residencies during the remainder of my term in Banff, and I am looking forward to enjoying the creative output from the Centre in years to come. ”


October 17, 2012

“We are 100 per cent committed to classical music.” Banff Centre President Jeff Melanson quoted in this Globe and Mail article.

Musical Toronto's John Terauds comments on how diversity breeds brilliance in this post.

To misquote Mark Twain, rumours of the demise of our music programs have been greatly exaggerated! The Banff Centre’s commitment to supporting musicians and artists is unwavering. Classical music will continue to be supported through our Fall & Winter Residencies and Summer Programs, and the Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC). In particular the impact and reach of BISQC will increase in 2013. At the same time, the Centre intends to diversify our music programming to open more opportunities for musicians of all genres, including world music, jazz, indie band, singer-songwriter, Indigenous – and in particular Canadian artists and music.

Barry Shiffman, director of the Centre's Summer Music Programs and Banff International String Quartet Competition says broadening the reach of the Centre's programs is a positive step. " I am supportive of The Banff Centre's future directions for its music programs and I am confident there will always be a significant place for classical music on campus. As an international destination for artists in a wide variety of disciplines, The Banff Centre must be able to meet the needs of musicians in multiple genres and from a range of traditions. The lines between the various forms of music continue to blur and the Centre is ideally positioned to provide the programming and support that will encourage new creation in a diverse and inspiring environment that celebrates the porous nature of musical traditions."

"The music department has had a long history of welcoming artists from non-classical traditions, but has rarely curated or focused on anything other than jazz or classical music," Shiffman adds. "The success of the Indie Band Residency program, started in 2007, helped demonstrate the importance of creating transformative experiences for an important group of emerging artists, and it is encouraging to see that creating additional space and opportunity for new creation in diverse musical genres will be a strategic focus moving forward."

"I am proud to be leading the amazing summer music programmes and the Banff International String Quartet Competition, both of which will be strengthened by a renewed energy and focus at The Banff Centre." 

As planning continues for 2013 programs, The Banff Centre welcomes comments and feedback from artists, musicians, and music lovers! To do so, please email