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School of Music

Season Highlights

Basic Info

42nd Annual Festival of New American Music
November 3-10, 2019

Admission to all events is free! Daily concerts, masterclasses, and forums.


Watch the evening concerts LIVE on our Facebook page!

Scott Perkins, Director
Tim Stanley, Co-Director

Parking is free after 6pm in PS1 for the evening concerts.

Driving Directions

Festival of New American Music

The 42nd Annual Festival of New American Music runs from November 3-10, 2019, opening on Sunday, November 3, with the annual Gala Concert. All evening concerts will start at 7:00 p.m. The Gala will feature the celebrated pianist Michael Mizrahi; New York-based Cygnus Ensemble; and Sacramento State’s new music ensemble-in-residence, Citywater. Below are some of the highlight concerts on the Festival. View the SCHEDULE page for more events.

On Monday, November 4, Cygnus Ensemble performs at 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—Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Robert Ingliss, oboe; William Anderson and Oren Fader, classical and electric guitars/mandolin/banjo; Calvin Wiersma, violin; Susannah Chapman, violoncello—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.

Cygnus has given a concert series in New York City since 1994. Concert tours include Russia, Holland, Denmark, Poland, Mexico, and the U.S. Recent honors include a Pulitzer Prize finalist (Brion, by Harold Meltzer, written for Cygnus), and a commissioning award from Chamber Music America (Akemi Naito’s Mindscape; Four Poetic Images). This evening’s concert will feature world premieres of two works by Sacramento State faculty composer Stephen Blumberg.

Pianist Michael Mizrahi will perform on Tuesday, November 5 at 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.

Mr. Mizrahi has performed in the world’s leading concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Toyko’s Suntory Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Jordan Hall and the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Chicago Cultural Center, and Houston’s Jones Hall. He has performed as soloist with major orchestras including the Houston Symphony, National Symphony, Haddonfield Symphony, Sioux City Symphony, and Prince Georges Philharmonic. He has given solo recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and has made repeated appearances on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago. His chamber music festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Verbier, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. Mr. Mizrahi won First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Ima Hogg International Competition, as well as first prizes in the International Bartók-Kabalevsky Competition and the Iowa International Piano Competition. He won third prize in the San Antonio International Piano Competition.

On Wednesday, November 6, at 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.

On Thursday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m., we will be presenting the annual Festival Ensemble Concert. This year's concert, entitled "Local Voices", is a performance of music featuring local composers and performers. Among the concert's offerings will be a performance by the winning artist from the FeNAM Pre-College Performers Competition, which showcases students in elementary through high school.

Sacramento State’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble, choirs, and chamber musicians present a performance of music by acclaimed composer Frank Ticheli on Friday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. Ticheli’s 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), “brilliantly effective” (Miami Herald), and “powerful, deeply felt crafted with impressive flair and an ear for striking instrumental colors” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel). He has been on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music since 1991, where he is Professor of Composition. He previously served for 26 years as Director of Bands at the University of Michigan, where he earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition. Ticheli will be in attendance at this event and will give a keynote address during the concert.

The final weekend of the Festival showcases diverse perspectives on improvisation by some of the nation’s most exciting artists. Among the guests are bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck, who will perform on Saturday, November 9, at 3:00 p.m. 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, Anthony Braxton’s 12+1(tet), and Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble.

On Sunday afternoon, November 10, at 3:00 p.m., Citywater will perform at the Crocker Art Gallery in downtown Sacramento. 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.

Acclaimed jazz trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas will lead the Sacramento State Faculty and Student Jazz Ensembles in a concert of Douglas’s music on the closing concert of the Festival, Sunday, November 10, at 7:00 p.m. Douglas, who is 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. While his career spans more than 40 recordings as a leader, his active projects include his Quintet; Sound Prints, a quintet co-led with saxophonist Joe Lovano; Riverside, a quartet co-led with Chet Doxas; a duo with pianist Uri Caine; and High Risk, an electronic music-influenced quartet with Mark Guiliana, Jonathan Maron and Shigeto.