2014 Festival of New American Music • November 7-16
Dr. Keith Bohm, Artistic Director • (916) 278-5723 • Email
Dr. Stephen Blumberg, Co-Director • (916) 278-7497 • Email

View the 2014 Poster >> • Evening concerts will be livestreamed here >>

Below are just a few of the highlights of this year's festival. More events are listed on the CONCERT SCHEDULE PAGE. Admission is FREE to all events. Parking is free after 7pm for evening concerts in the parking structure next to Capistrano Hall. For daytime concerts, masterclasses, and forums, a limited number of courtesy permits will be available in the lobby one hour prior to event start times. Daily permits are also available from the machine on the 5th floor of the parking structure adjacent to Capistrano Hall, or from the information booths on campus, for $6.

The 2014 Festival of New American Music opens on Friday, November 7 with an 8:00pm gala performance featuring the New York based new music ensemble loadbang (bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone voice), pianist Lara Downes, and the Rootstock Percussion Trio (pictured). Loadbang has been praised as ‘cultivated’ by The New Yorker, and ‘inventive’ by the New York Times. They are known for their searing and unpredictable improvisations, exploring the edges of instrumental and vocal timbre and technique, and blurring the line between composed and extemporaneous music. Lara Downes is recognized as one of the most exciting and communicative classical artists of her generation, and has been called "a delightful artist with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship" by NPR and praised by the Washington Post for her stunning performances "rendered with drama and nuance". Rootstock consists of Sac State fauclty members Christopher Froh and Daniel Kennedy, along with Loren Mach. Their collective experience includes the founding of such ensembles as the California E.A.R. Unit, the Talujon Percussion Quartet, Brave New Works and ADORNO.


Loadbang returns on Saturday, November 8 at 8:00pm. Consisting of bass clarinetist Carlos Cordeiro, baritone Jeffrey Gavett, trumpeter Andy Kozar, and and trombonist William Lang, the ensemble was founded in 2008 and has premiered more than 70 works. Mr. Cordeiro has toured Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Russia and the U.S., and holds a Master's Degree in Contemporary Performance from Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Gavett has performed in Alice Tully Hall, Issue Project Room, Le Poisson Rouge, Merkin Hall, Zankel Hall and others, with a broad range of collaborators from the Rolling Stones and indie rock group Clogs to new music groups ICE, New Juilliard Ensemble, Red Light New Music, Talea Ensemble, Le Train Bleu, and Wet Ink Ensemble. Mr. Kozar holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music, and a MM in Contemporary Performance at Manhattan School of Music. He has performed as soloist with with the Pan-American Symphony and the Carnegie Mellon Baroque Orchestra, as well as with the Grammy nominated Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra and other indie pop bands, and on Broadway’s Mary Poppins. Mr. Lang has performed in such venues as the Guggenheim Museum andCarnegie’s Isaac Stern and Zankel Halls. He received his Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music, and his Bachelors Degree from SUNY Fredonia, and is an active performer and improviser in New York and Boston.


Lara Downes performs a solo piano recital on Sunday, November 9 at 8:00pm. Joining her on the program will be the San Francisco based Del Sol String Quartet, a two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming. Since making concert debuts at Queen Elizabeth Hall London, the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Salle Gaveau Paris, Lara Downes has won over audiences at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the American Academy Rome, San Francisco Performances, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Portland Piano International and the University of Washington World Series, among many others. She currently serves as Artistic Director of the Young Artists program at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis, where she is also Artist in Residence. Her debut CD, Invitation to the Dance (2000), was called "magical" by NPR, and her second release, American Ballads (2001), was ranked by Amazon among the best recordings of American concert music ever made. She is regularly heard nationwide on radio programs including NPR Performance Today, WNYC New Sounds, WFMT Impromptu, TPR Classical Spotlight and WWFM Cadenza.


On Wednesday, November 12, the Fidelio Trio performs at 8:00pm. This piano trio perform diverse repertoire internationally and features Irish musicians Darragh Morgan (violin) and Mary Dullea (piano) and Scottish cellist Robin Michael. They broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3, RTÉ Lyric FM, WNYC, NPR and in 2010 were featured in a Sky Arts documentary. Since their debut at London’s South Bank they have appeared at Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Purcell Room and Royal Opera House, London, festivals including City of London, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Brighton, Vale of Glamorgan, West Cork Music, and the Belfast Festival at Queens. They have been artists-in-residence at the Irish Composition Summer School, CoMA Summer School, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at State University of New York, SUNY. This concert will feature Charles Wuorinen's Piano Trio, John Harbison's Piano Trio No. 2, Elena Ruehr's "Blackberries", and Even Ziporyn's "Typical Music".


The Mana Quartet performs on Friday, November 14 at 8:00pm. In 2009, the group became the first saxophone quartet in history to receive the coveted Grand Prize at the Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, quickly elevating them to the professional chamber music arena. Championed by Chamber Music Magazine as "Saxophone Ambassadors", the group has taken on a growing list of residencies at major music festivals and universities. Mana is currently the Resident Chamber Ensemble at the National Music Festival, where they recently performed Philip Glass’s Concerto for Saxophone Quartet with the festival orchestra and hosted their 5th annual Mana Saxophone Institute, an internationally attended two-week intensive apprenticeship program. In 2011, Mana was invited to join the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, as the Young Professionals in Residence.


The Festival closes out on Sunday, November 16 at 6:00pm with a violin recital by Sacramento State alum Charles "Chase" Spruill. Charles completed his Bachelors Degree (BM) in Violin Performance at Sacramento State under the guidance of Anna Presler. He is the founding violinist of the new music group Citywater which has been hailed by the Sacramento Bee as “…a top-flight interpreter of contemporary classical music”. Charles was a founding member of Camerata Capistrano at Sac State, where he was also concertmaster of the Symphony Orhcestra for multiple seasons. After departing Sac State, he accepted a permanent residency with the Providence String Quartet at Community MusicWorks in Providence, Rhode Island - which the New Yorker calls “…a revolutionary organization in which the distinction between performing and teaching disappears.” As an advocate for education and contemporary chamber music, Charles has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, composers Steven Mackey and Michael Nyman, and currently tours as a duo with pianist/director of the Philip Glass Ensemble Michael Riesman, who will be joining him on this performance.