2012 Festival of New American Music • November 1-10
Dr. Keith Bohm, Artistic Director • (916) 278-5723 • Email
Dr. Stephen Blumberg, Co-Director • (916) 278-7497 • Email
Can't be here in person? Most of the Festival's evening concerts will be streamed online: click here >>
Below are selected highlights of this year's festival; for a listing of all public events, view the online poster. 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 Festival will open on Thursday, November 1 with the annual Keynote Address at 12:00pm. This year's featured composer and speaker will be Augusta Read Thomas. Ms. Thomas was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 2006. In 2007, her Astral Canticle was one of the two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Ms. Thomas has also been on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center (www.amc.net) since 2000, as well as on the boards and advisory boards of several chamber music groups. She was an assistant, then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music from 1993-2001, and from 2001 until 2006 was the Wyatt Professor of Music (Endowed Chair) at Northwestern University. She currently continues her involvement with Northwestern University by serving on the Dean's Music Advisory Board. In the summers she often teaches at the Tanglewood Music Center.
The opening concert of the Festival will feature the Third Coast Percussion quartet on Thursday, November 1 at 8:00pm. The quartet combines the driving intensity of drums, the beautiful warmth of marimbas and vibraphones, and the surprisingly exotic sounds of everyday objects to make music that is playful, memorable and profound. In performances around the country, the Chicago-based ensemble has swiftly gained national attention for effortlessly combining the energy of a rock concert with the precision and sophistication of classical chamber music.
The members of Third Coast Percussion—Owen Clayton Condon, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore—hold degrees in music performance from Northwestern University, the Yale School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Rutgers University.
Pianist Geoffrey Burleson will perform on Friday, November 2 at 8:00pm. Mr. Burleson has performed to wide acclaim throughout Europe and North America, and is equally active as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and jazz performer. The New York Times has hailed his solo performances as “vibrant” and “compelling”, and has praised his “command, projection of rhapsodic qualities without loss of rhythmic vigor, and appropriate sense of spontaneity and fetching colors”.
Mr. Burleson made his New York City solo recital debut at Merkin Concert Hall in 2000. He has appeared as concerto soloist with the Boston Musica Viva, Arlington Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, and the Holland Symfonia in the Netherlands. Mr. Burleson currently performs as principal pianist with the Boston Musica Viva and the New York Art Ensemble, as well as Princeton University's Richardson Chamber Players. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and Stony Brook University (D.M.A.), his principal teachers include Gilbert Kalish, Leonard Shure, Veronica Jochum, Lillian Freundlich, Tinka Knopf, and Audrey Bart Brown.
On Saturday, November 3, the JACK Quartet performs at 8:00pm. A string quartet focused on the commissioning and performance of new works, JACK has performed to critical acclaim at Wigmore Hall (London), Les Flâneries Musicales de Reims (France), Ultraschall Festival für Neue Musik (Germany), Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Netherlands), Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico), Donaueschinger Musiktage (Germany), Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Germany), Library of Congress, Kimmel Center, La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), and Carnegie Hall.
Violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland met while attending the Eastman School of Music, and they have since studied with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Muir String Quartet, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain. Alex Ross (New Yorker) hailed their performance of Iannis Xenakis' complete string quartets as being "exceptional" and "beautifully harsh," and Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times) called their sold-out performances of Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3 "mind-blowingly good."
Guitarist Benjamin Verdery performs on Tuesday, November 6 at 8:00pm. Described as "iconoclastic" and "inventive" by The New York Times and "one of the classical guitar world's most foremost personalities," by Classical Guitar Magazine, Mr. Verdery enjoys an innovative and eclectic musical career. Since 1980 he has performed worldwide in theatres and at festivals, and he tours regularly in Canada, Europe, Asia and throughout the United States. He has released over 15 albums, including "Start Now" (Mushkatweek), which won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award. A prolific composer, many of Benjamin Verdery's compositions have been performed, recorded, and published over the years.
In addition to his performance tours and recording, Benjamin has been chair of the guitar department at the Yale University School of Music since 1985 and Artistic Director of the bi-annual Yale Guitar Extravaganza. He has also been Artistic Director of Art of the Guitar (New York City) since 2006. He is an honorary board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the Swiss Global Foundation and the D'Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts. Each summer Benjamin holds his Annual International Master Class on the Island of Maui (Hawaii).
The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players close out the Festival on Saturday, November 10 at 8:00pm. Now in its 40th year, the SFCMP is a national leader among advocates for contemporary chamber music. Its 18 members are all active soloists and chamber musicians. Many are members of the San Francisco Symphony, Ballet, or Opera orchestras. A 10-time winner of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventerous Programming of Contemporary Music, the SFCMP has won this award more than any other ensemble. The group has performed almost 1200 contemporary works, including 74 U.S. premieres and 145 world premieres.
To see more concerts during this year's Festival of New American Music, visit the online poster. There is no admission charge for Festival events. Parking for evening concerts is free after 7pm in the parking structure adjacent to Capistrano Hall. For daytime events, a limited number of courtesy permits will be available in the lobby of the music building one hour prior to event start times. Daily permits may also be purchased for $6 at the information booth on campus or from the machine on the fifth floor of the parking structure. For driving directions or more information, click here.