June 10, 2020
I am Jean-Marie Barker, owner and music publisher at Counterpoint Music Library Services which is a division of my corporation, Counterpoint Enterprises Inc.
In this climate of justifiable outrage against racism in all forms, many companies are making statements defining their views and this is one reason this statement has been created. I have decided that my personal views, because I am the owner and decision maker, need to be stated.
My entire life I have been staunchly anti-racist. I was raised by staunchly anti-racist parents who drilled into my and my brother’s heads that we have all been created by God in His image, that we are all equal and equally loved by Him and we must follow that example, treat all people as equal and not discriminate against anyone. I remember my mother being very angry at incidents of racism. This is the principle by which I live my life and conduct my business. We may look different on the outside, come from different backgrounds socially or culturally, but we are all the same on the inside. We need to and must, respect each other, be humble and willing to listen, learn and try to understand what others who are different from us have to teach us. I love learning and enjoy learning about people and things outside my experiences.
As to how this translates to my publishing business policy, what I look for in music that I will publish is music that appeals to me and that I think will appeal to the performers, industry contacts and customers that we reach. I look for music that grabs my attention and makes me stop and listen. I publish what is generally known as “classical” music which is to separate it from what in general is known as “pop” music. I tend to favour music that has already received a lot of public notice and performances because that means others are likely to be interested in it as well, but that isn’t the only criteria I use. I will take on unknown pieces that grab my attention and that I think will have an appeal to my contacts. There are composers in my catalogue who are well established and I publish everything they create. However, I also started a Young Composers’ Series and I am interested in publishing music by emerging and talented young composers. The music is what I base my decisions on. Just because most of the composers you see on my site are mainly of Caucasian extraction doesn’t mean I am only interested in that type of composer. With the explosion of interest and expansion of the El Sistema programs and other types of programs which are actively working to introduce classical music to a wide range of children from many different backgrounds, I expect to see these children grow to be adults with an interest in classical music performance and some will want to be composers. We will see more performers of diverse backgrounds in orchestras around the world. I welcome that development and look forward to discovering more young composers of diverse backgrounds who will become excellent composers.
That said, my company is still a small entity with small resources. There is me and my assistant and in normal times we each have a part-time job, but it is a labour of love and something about which I am passionate. I see what we do as helping to promote and preserve Canadian music. We have small resources and I have been working on building the company to get to be self-sustaining, so that it can be passed on to the next person to carry on this endeavour when I decide to retire at some point in the future. This music will out live me and my composers and needs to be passed on to future generations.