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Festival of New American Music
November 1–8, 2020
This year marks the 43rd annual and first virtual Festival of New American Music! Due to COVID-19, all events are online, free of charge. This year’s theme is celebrating women in music, and nearly all of the works featured on our concerts have been written by female-identifying composers.
How to Watch
All concerts and some events will be streamed on the Sacramento State School of Music's Facebook page. You do not have to have a Facebook account to access the page. To watch, click on the link below at the time of the event. Concerts will be archived on this page for the duration of the festival.
Forums, Masterclasses, and Panel Discussions will be streamed live via Zoom. To watch these events, use the Zoom links/Meeting ID numbers which have been setup for each event, and can be found on the Full Schedule.
We rely upon your financial support. Please help us continue to inspire, educate, and entertain the Sacramento community with high-quality performances of music by America’s most exciting artists by making a donation here.
Sunday, November 1, 7:00 p.m.
The Festival opens with a Gala concert featuring Boston-based Hub New Music with guest harpist/composer Hannah Lash, acclaimed pianist Lara Downes, and the New York City-based chamber group loadbang. Each of these guests will give a 20-minute performance on the Gala, followed later in the week by a full concert.
Hub New Music with Hannah Lash
Monday, November 2, 7:00 p.m.
Called “contemporary chamber trailblazers” by the Boston Globe, Hub New Music—composed of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello—is forging new pathways in 21st-century repertoire. The ensemble’s ambitious commissioning projects and “appealing programs” (New Yorker) celebrate the rich diversity of today’s classical music landscape. In recent seasons, HNM’s performances have been described as “gobsmacking” (Cleveland Classical), “innovative” (WBUR), and “the cutting edge of new classical music” (Taos News). Earlier this year, the ensemble released its debut album, Soul House, on New Amsterdam Records. On the horizon is the ensemble’s sophomore album with Silkroad’s Kojiro Umezaki (shakuhachi) and the Asia-America New Music Institute (AANMI), to be released on Tōrō Records.
Tuesday, November 3, 7:00 p.m.
Loadbang, a mixed ensemble of trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice, has been praised as ‘cultivated’ by The New Yorker, and ‘an extra-cool new music group’ and ‘exhilarating’ by the Baltimore Sun. In New York City, they have been recently presented by and performed at Miller Theater, Symphony Space, MATA, and the Look and Listen Festival.
Loadbang has premiered more than 300 works, written by members of the ensemble, emerging artists, and today's leading composers. Their repertoire includes works by Pulitzer Prize winners David Lang and Charles Wuorinen; Rome Prize winners Andy Akiho and Paula Matthusen; and Guggenheim Fellows Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, and Alex Mincek.
Tony Arnold, soprano
Wednesday, November 4, 7:00 p.m.
Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold, powerful interpreter,” Tony Arnold is internationally acclaimed as a leading proponent of contemporary music in concert and recording, having premiered hundreds of works by established and emerging composers.
In the summer of 2017, she joined the vocal arts faculty of the venerable Tanglewood Music Center, followed by an appointment to the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. She was also was the first performer ever invited to be the Howard Hanson Distinguished Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music.
Thursday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
FeNAM presents its third annual “Local Voices” concert featuring music by local composers presented by local performers. Check back soon for details!
Friday, November 6, 7:00 p.m.
The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing works of contemporary composers and presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet's beginnings in 2008 they have performed and closely collaborated with an ever-expanding group of international composers. They have appeared on prestigious series such as the New York Phil Biennial, Wien Modern (Austria), the Asphalt Festival (Düsseldorf, Germany), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Shanghai New Music Week (Shanghai, China), Edgefest (Ann Arbor, MI), Aldeburgh Music (UK), and Lo Spririto della musica di Venezia (La Fenice Theater, Italy).
Their performance will also feature works by Kate Soper.
Lara Downes, piano
Saturday, November 7, 3:00 p.m.
Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, a trailblazer on and off-stage whose musical roadmap seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory. Downes’s playing has been called “ravishing” by Fanfare Magazine, “luscious, moody and dreamy” by The New York Times, and “addicting” by The Huffington Post. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, a curator and taste-maker, Downes is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene. Lara’s forays into the broad landscape of American music have created a series of acclaimed recordings, including America Again, selected by NPR as one of “10 Albums that Saved 2016,” and hailed as “a balm for a country riven by disunion” by the Boston Globe. Her recent Sony Classical debut release For Lenny debuted in the Billboard Top 20 and was awarded the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award.
Olivia de Prato, violin
Saturday, November 7, 7:00 p.m.
Internationally recognized as a soloist as well as a chamber musician, Austro-Italian violinist Olivia De Prato has been described as “flamboyant ... convincing” (The New York Times) and an “enchanting violinist” (Messaggero Veneto, Italy). De Prato has collaborated closely with composers Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Anthony Braxton, Michael Gordon, Helmut Lachenman, David Lang, Benedict Mason, Meredith Monk, Krystof Penderecki, Bernard Rands, Steve Reich, Ned Rothenberg, Julia Wolfe, and Georg Friedrich Haas, among others.
Olivia De Prato studied at the University of Music and Arts in Vienna and received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music. She received her Master of Music as a member of the first graduating class from the Contemporary Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music.
Rogue Music Project—POSTPONED
Sunday, November 8, 3:00 p.m.
Rogue Music Project (RMP) is a collective specializing in opera and classical music on the fringe. RMP creates adventurous productions that push artistic boundaries and break genre rules in order to reinvigorate the concert and theater-going experience. Their performance, filmed at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum, features vocalists Kevin Doherty, Sarah Fitch, Carrie Hennessey, and Omari Tau; and pianist Jennifer Reason.
***FeNAM is disappointed to announce that a technical error has caused the postponement of our presentation of Rogue Music Project’s performance at its scheduled time. Rogue has been gracious about this glitch, and has granted the Festival an opportunity to present its program later this semester.***
Closing Concert: Gaw Vang Williams and Friends
Sunday, November 8, 7:00 p.m.
The closing concert of this year's Festival will feature jazz vocalist Gaw Vang Williams, along with several other performers. Gaw became the director of vocal jazz program at Sacramento State in 2014, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in jazz studies and Master of Music in voice performance. Under Williams' direction, the Sac State Vocal Jazz program has won multiple Downbeat Magazine Student awards.
Ms. Williams performs at numerous venues throughout Northern California; professional appearances as an assisting artist include live performances with Nancy King, New York Voices, Ben Folds , and the San Francisco Symphony.
About the Festival of New American Music
The Festival of New American Music brings extraordinary musicians to Sacramento, California, each year to present high-quality performances of a broad body of recently composed or improvised music by some of America’s most exciting artists. Through public concerts, educational events, and outreach, the Festival serves three principal communities: those of the Sacramento State School of Music; the California State University, Sacramento; and the greater Sacramento region. Committed to making music accessible to all, the Festival offers all of its concerts free of charge to the public.