Type of entity
Authorized form of name
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Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
Functions, occupations and activities
UMA promotes new music composition, improvisation, and performance in the Halifax area. The association’s group of musicians, which has been called the Upstream Ensemble, Upstream Orchestra, and, briefly, in Halifax Plateau Orchestra, performs at various venues around Halifax, including St. Mary’s University Art Gallery, the Sir James Dunn Theatre, and Club Flamingo, as well as touring internationally. The orchestra has between 17 and 45 musicians at any one time. In addition to performing, the group also composes, commissions compositions, collaborates with other artists, and presents workshops (including those for Dalhousie music students). They have worked with many ensembles and musicians, including Symphony Nova Scotia; Barry Guy and the London Jazz Composers Orchestra; Maya Homberger; Hemispheres; Michiyo Yagi; and Akikazu Nakamura. Since 1998, UMA has also organized the Open Waters Festival of New and Improvised Music in Halifax.
In addition to their performing, composing, and outreach activities, UMA also has a record label, Undercurrent Recordings, established as a subsidiary of MA to produce and release recordings that support UMA’s mandate of promoting new compositional and improvisational techniques. The ensemble’s first CD, Open Waters (1992), was produced under this label, and contains compositions by Steve Tittle, Don Palmer, Jeff Reilly, Sandy Moore, and Steve Naylor.
Mandates/sources of authority
UMA is governed by a Board of Directors whose positions have changed slightly over the years. The main positions, however, remain unchanged, with a chairperson, (co-)artistic director(s), secretary, and treasurer (the latter two positions are sometimes combined). Since its inception in 1990, the artistic directors of UMA have been Bob Bauer (1990–1998); Jeff Reilly (1990–2000); Paul Cram (1990–2015); Steven Naylor (1997–2000); Christoph Both (1998–2001); Don Palmer (1999–2001); and Lukas Pearse (2015-2017).
The association is financially supported by various sponsors, grants, and funding agencies, including the Government of Nova Scotia; Government of Canada; Halifax Regional Municipality; Dalhousie University; Lyle Tilley Davidson, Chartered Accountants; Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) Foundation; Arts Nova Scotia; Canada Council for the Arts; The Craig Foundation; Etc. Press; Symphony Nova Scotia; Atlantica Hotel Halifax; Canadian Federation of Musicians; International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation; and Canadian New Music Network.