'NMC has become the label of choice for every aficionado of contemporary British music' – The Times
NMC arose almost more by chance than by design. Imogen Holst and Colin Matthews had set up the Holst Foundation in 1984 with the aim of supporting the work of living composers. A significant concert of contemporary music at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1987, funded entirely by the Foundation, attracted a full house, but was not broadcast and so was heard by only 800 people. This led Colin Matthews to propose that recordings were the ideal way to reach a larger audience. The Holst Foundation has been the major funder of NMC ever since our inception in 1989.
NMC is a unique and indispensable player in the new music world. We operate as a social enterprise with charitable status, providing public benefit through the contribution our work makes to enriching cultural life. NMC’s future – our ability to continue to record and promote the innovative, the challenging, the obscure, the lost – is reliant on securing public funding and the support of trusts and foundations, plus the generous investment of our donors, Friends, and collaborating partners.
Colin Matthews on NMC’s vision
Imogen Holst was a visionary. When together we established the Holst Foundation, not long before her death in 1984, she was clear that she did not want its future role to be to subsidise her father’s music in the way that most other composer trusts function. Instead she hoped that it would be able to support the work of living composers; and this is what the Foundation has done for nearly 30 years. We had talked at length about the possibility of funding recordings, and although it took a while to get NMC off the ground, I have always felt that the label was founded with her blessing, and that she would have approved whole-heartedly of what we have achieved since 1989.
The Holst Foundation’s substantial support is coming to an end (Holst’s copyrights expired in 2004 meaning the Foundation’s income ceased and funds are being run down) and NMC depends more than ever on individual supporters, for whose generosity we are already hugely grateful. Every gift helps us to keep up our reputation for innovation and independence, for quality and originality, and maintains our indispensable contribution to the world of new music. NMC seeks to challenge, and we make no secret of the fact that some parts of the catalogue make more demands on our listeners than others. The rewards for those with open ears are all the greater. How could this be anything but inspiring?
NMC believes that new music is a dynamic and engaging art. We always seek to discover and share exceptional work that inspires and challenges. NMC:
- produces high quality recordings of outstanding work by composers from the British Isles.
- works with leading artists and ensembles
- promotes these recordings to expand worldwide audiences for contemporary music
- preserves this creativity for generations to come
NMC is an equal opportunities organisation, and staff, trustees and NMC's Patrons are recruited from all backgrounds. NMC’s trustees continue to review the organisation’s diversity policy over all areas.
NMC is a small charity which is unable to record or promote all works submitted to it and the absence of a composer from our catalogue or the Music Map is not to be taken as a judgment of lack of merit.
NMC 2012-13 Annual Review
NMC 2013-14 Annual Review
Partnership working is a growth area for NMC as we seek to broaden our audience base and expand our artistic horizons. In 2011-12, we began a series of recordings devised and produced in collaboration with the London Sinfonietta, and worked for the first time with the Hallé; and NMC was the Digital Partner of the PRS for Music Foundation New Music 20x12 and New Music Biennial projects, digitally releasing the works commissioned for the initiatives. Our partners include:
Arts Council England
BBC Radio 3
BBC Symphony Orchestra
The Britten-Pears Foundation
Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
PRS for Music Foundation
Science Museum, London
Spitalfields Music Festival
Sound & Music
King's College London
Conservatoire and university music/ composition departments