The first annual Avaloch Farm New Music Initiative brought a wave of creative energy to the campus in July and early August. Curated and hosted by Hannah Collins and Michael Compitello of New Morse Code, this year’s edition featured a total of 15 ensembles and 20 composers teaming up on new works throughout the course of five weeks. Projects came in all shapes and sizes, with instrumentation ranging from one half of a clarinet to mixed septet with electric guitar solo. Works developed during the New Music Initiative have since been premiered in Los Angeles (HOCKET playing works by Kettle Corn New Music), Chicago (Andy Costello playing Kurt Isaacson), St. Louis (New Morse Code playing Chris Stark), Fairbanks (Concert Black playing Molly Herron), Boston (Transient Canvas Playing Stefanie Lubkowski), and New York (New Morse Code playing Matthew Barnson), with many more premieres on the way. The New Music Initiative sparked a special kind of collaborative and contagious energy among the ensembles, inspiring musicians to mix and join forces for jam sessions, listening parties, and impromptu performances. With so much new material being generated, sharing sessions took place nearly every night! Other highlights included a visit from our composer-in-residence, Andy Akiho, a zumba class led by Concert Black flutist Domenica Fossati (in addition to her great playing), and a solo set by Bang on a Can All-Star cellist, Ashley Bathgate.
Several of the projects were commissioned by grant giving organizations such as Chamber Music America (TAK ensemble commissioning Mario Diaz de Leon and New Morse Code commissioning Christopher Stark) and New Music USA (Ashley Bathgate commissioning Sleeping Giant).
Christopher Stark, Assistant Professor of music composition at Washington University in St. Louis, described Avaloch as “the ideal environment for creative work: full of musical energy, engaging conversations, mixed perspectives, and ample time and space to think and write. It’s a special place.”