New Orchestra Workshop Society
New Orchestra Workshop Society (familiarly, N.O.W.). Association of Vancouver composers and performers in the jazz, contemporary, and improvised music fields, active 1977-81 and again as of 1986. It was established by the saxophonist Paul Cram, the trombonist Ralph Eppel, the bassist L.S. Lansall-Ellis (later known as Lisle Ellis), the pianist Paul Plimley, and the drummer Gregg Simpson. It was revived by Simpson, Plimley, the saxophonists Coat Cooke and Bruce Freedman, the bassist Clyde Reed, and the guitarist Ron Samworth. By 1991 they had been augmented by the drummer Roger Baird, the singer Kate Hammett-Vaughan, and the saxophonist Graham Ord. Other musicians also have been involved in N.O.W. presentations.
In its first incarnation, N.O.W. operated two successive performance spaces in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver and 1979-81 organized an annual Creative Music Festival at the Western Front and other venues. Several ensembles performed under the N.O.W. banner, including the New Orchestra Quintet (later N.O.W. Band), ESB (Eppel, Simpson, Bob Bell), and the Sound Energy Arkestra and C.O.R.D. Orchestra.
In its second life, N.O.W. has presented concert series at the French Cultural Centre and the grunt gallery, and in 1989 established its own performance space, the Glass Slipper. It also co-produced (with the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society) the annual TIME flies contemporary music festival in 1989 and 1990. Groups latterly affiliated with N.O.W. have included Lunar Adventures, Chief Feature, Unity (later Free F'All), Turnaround, the Sirius Ensemble, Garbo's Hat, and Vancouver Art Trio. Several N.O.W. ensembles have toured in Canada, and four - the Plimley/Ellis and Ord/Reed duos, Lunar Adventures, and Chief Feature - performed in 1990 in New York as part of an exchange program with that city's Knitting Factory.