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November 2, 2009


Music festival returns to Sac State

Photo: The ETHEL string quartet will perform as part of this year’s Festival of New American Music.
The ETHEL string quartet will perform as part of this year’s Festival of New American Music.

Sacramento State will have a decidedly musical note when it holds its annual Festival of New American Music, Nov. 5-10 and 12-15.

FeNAM, as it’s commonly known, has been gathering the best of the genre’s musicians for the free concerts and master classes for 32 years.

Defining “new American music” is not easy, according to music Professor Stephen Blumberg, FeNAM’s artistic director. It can involve contemporary classical or jazz components, along with other elements. But the music is cutting edge and on the frontier of one style or another.

Composer and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist David Rakowski is the keynote speaker and will deliver his address at noon, Thursday, Nov. 5, in Capistrano Hall’s Music Recital Hall.

He has an irreverent sense of humor, Blumberg says, “so I’m expecting his keynote will be quite interesting and fun.”

Rakowski’s work will be highlighted in the Gala Performance at 8 p.m. that day, also in the Music Recital Hall. Performers that night include pianist Marilyn Nonken, the Meridian Arts Ensemble brass quintet with percussion, and flutist Michelle Ko and clarinetist E. Michael Richards.

They will also hold concerts at other times throughout the festival, along with groups such as the ETHEL String Quartet, the PRISM saxophone quartet, and the Empyrean Ensemble from UC Davis.

The festival concludes at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, when guest vocalist Nancy King and pianist Steve Christofferson join Sacramento State’s award-winning student jazz and vocal ensembles.

In between there will also be other student music groups performing at various venues around the campus.


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