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Festival of New American Music
The 42nd Annual Festival of New American Music (FeNAM) runs November 3 - 10, 2019. The annual Gala Concert will kick off the event, featuring celebrated pianist Michael Mizrahi, New York-based Cygnus Ensemble, and Sacramento State’s new music ensemble-in-residence, Citywater. More Festival highlights are listed on this page.
Admission to all events - daily concerts, mastercasses, and forums - is free!
Monday, November 4, 7:00 P.M.
With its pairs of plucked strings, bowed strings and woodwinds, Cygnus has a precedent in the Elizabethan “broken consort.” Its members are all virtuoso players with a great wealth of experience with some of our most cherished musical institutions, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players.
This evening’s concert will feature the world premiere of a new work by Sacramento State faculty composer Stephen Blumberg, consisting of three songs for soprano Elizabeth Farnum with the ensemble, on translations by Paul Blackburn of medieval troubadour poems.
Pianist Michael Mizrahi
Tuesday, November 5, 7:00 P.M.
Praised as “intrepid” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “engaging” (Houston Chronicle), and “endlessly fascinating” (WQXR New York), pianist Michael Mizrahi has won acclaim for his compelling performances of a wide-ranging repertoire and his ability to connect with audiences of all ages. He has appeared as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and teaching artist across the United States and abroad.
Wednesday, November 6, 7:00 P.M.
FeNAM welcomes world-renowned cellist Jeffrey Zeigler to present "Golden Hornet's The Sound of Science," a unique program commissioned by Kathleen & Harvey Guion that Zeigler has toured nationally. Conceived by composer-bandleader Graham Reynolds, The Sound of Science is a concert and album presenting eight pieces of brand-new music by seven celebrated composers. Written for amplified cello and electronics, all pieces are recorded and performed by Zeigler, long time member of Kronos Quartet, cellist for John Zorn, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, and many more. The endeavor was co-curated by Zeigler and Reynolds, who will be present at the performance and will participate in an 11:00am panel discussion with The Sound of Science neuroscientist Kristen Harris.
Thursday, November 7, 7:00 P.M.
This year's Festival Ensemble concert, entitled "Local Voices", features local composers and performers. Among the concert's offerings will be a performance by the winning artist from the FeNAM Young Performers Competition, which showcases students through high school. Also featured will be pianist Jennifer Reason, soprano Robin Fisher, and pianist Hatem Nadim. The program will include works by Joseph Vasinda, Zachary Watkins, Scott Perkins, and Jeffrey Hoover.
Composer Frank Ticheli
Friday, November 8, 7:00 P.M.
Sacramento State’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble, University Chorale, and chamber musicians present a performance of music by acclaimed composer Frank Ticheli. His music has become a staple of wind band literature and has been described as being “optimistic and thoughtful” (Los Angeles Times), “lean and muscular” (The New York Times), and “brilliantly effective” (Miami Herald). Ticheli will be in attendance at this event and will give a keynote address during the concert.
Bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck
Saturday, November 9, 3:00 P.M.
The final weekend of the Festival showcases diverse perspectives on improvisation by some of the nation’s most exciting artists, including bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck. The Wire magazine places Schoenbeck in the “tiny club of bassoon pioneers” at work in contemporary music today and the New York Times has called her performances “galvanizing” and “riveting, mixing textural experiments with a big, confident sound.”
Originally from California, Sara spent her time on the west coast freelancing in various orchestral bassoon sections such as Santa Barbara Symphony, California Symphony, Redlands Symphony, Mancini Orchestra, the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra and touring as a member of creative music ensembles Gravitas Quartet with Wayne Horvitz, Ron Miles and Peggy Lee, and Anthony Braxton’s 12+1(tet).
Kyle Bruckmann, oboist
Saturday, November 9 at 7:00 P.M.
Composer/performer Kyle Bruckmann’s work extends from a Western classical foundation areas encompassing free jazz, electronic music and post-punk rock. With a busy and varied performance schedule and appearances on more than 80 recordings, he has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the Bay Area’s regional orchestras while remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists. Long-term affiliations include the electro-acoustic duo EKG, the “rock” monstrosity Lozenge, and the creative music quintet Wrack (recipient of a 2012 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works award).
Sunday, November 10, 3:00 P.M.Crocker Art Gallery, downtown Sacramento
(requires museum admission)
Citywater is Sacramento’s only ensemble dedicated to contemporary classical music, and is the ensemble-in-residence at Sacramento State. They were previously hailed by Edward Ortiz of The Sacramento Bee as “a top-flight interpreter of contemporary classical music,”. Comprising flutist Cathie Apple, clarinetist Milun Doskovic, pianist Jennifer Reason, percussionist Ben Prima, violinist Amy Lindsay, and cellist Timothy Stanley, Citywater strives to fold Sacramento into the fabric of new American music history writ large. Their performance will intersect with the Crocker’s exhibit featuring Native American art.
Dave Douglas, jazz trumpeter
Sunday, November 10, 7:00 P.M.
Acclaimed jazz trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas will lead the Sacramento State faculty jazz combo in a concert of Douglas’s music on the closing concert of the Festival. Douglas, based in New York City, is known for the stylistic breadth of his work and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously. His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland award, and two Grammy nominations.