We are thrilled to announce the list of ensembles and composers who will join us for the 2018 season! It will be a diverse and exciting season, with a wonderful balance of new music and traditional ensembles. Please go to the Residents page on this website to check the full list of ensembles and composers.
We are thrilled to announce that Avaloch is trying out a new collaboration this summer with the New England Conservatory!
Heath Marlow, chair of NEC’s Center for Professional Development & Performing Arts Leadership, and I are pleased to be able to offer a special opportunity for interested ensembles applying to Avaloch this winter. If selected, it is now possible to combine a retreat at Avaloch with five days of residency building work with Heath at NEC in nearby Boston.
This is a unique opportunity for ensembles seeking to build a long-term or annual residency in a specific community to participate in an intensive residency design and planning experience. Through a competitive application process, we expect that two or three ensembles will be eligible for the opportunity to spend five days working with Heath at NEC, developing their ideas in a supportive environment of like-minded peers, and then spend some time at Avaloch to continue the process.
In the fall, Heath approached Avaloch with this idea because he is excited about the opportunity to support the creation of residencies that benefit both communities and musicians. With Heath’s guidance, ensembles will be able to define and build a plan for an initiative or organization that provides a sustainable balance of performing, engagement, and administrative activities—all geared to meet the needs of professional chamber musicians.
There are many examples of ensembles building long-term relationships with communities. There’s the Kronos Quartet’s organization with a staff of 15 in San Francisco (http://kronosquartet.org/about/organization), and there’s the Newport String Quartet’s organization (http://www.newportstringproject.org), still in the start-up phase in Newport, RI. There’s the Apple Hill String Quartet in New Hampshire (http://applehill.org/about-us/apple-hill-string-quartet/) and Eighth Blackbird’s Blackbird Creative Lab (https://www.blackbirdcreativelab.org) in Ojai, CA.
Heath promises that participating ensembles will come away with an understanding of best practices in residency building and a strategic plan for building their own residency, having worked through the necessary conceptual and logistical elements. If eligible, ensembles will be well prepared to apply to Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program.
We are looking for two or three ensembles committed to meaningful and long-term engagement with a community. Do you know an ensemble that is a great fit for this unique opportunity? Please share this information with them. Please note that while a retreat at Avaloch Farm is provided tuition-free, this opportunity provided by NEC does not take place at Avaloch, nor is it free. You can learn more on the Applications Guidelines page of this website.
It’s been about a month since we finished up the 2017 season, and it was, once again, a resounding success. We hosted 124 ensembles and more than 40 composers, which added up to about 500 individuals! Needless to say, the new West Wing was filled from the moment we were able to use it. As in the past, the ensembles’ specialties spanned most of music history, from medieval vocal ensembles to the most unusual instrumentations and compositions. On the “traditional” side, we had 13 string quartets, 6 piano trios/quartets, 2 wind quintets, and 8 early music ensembles. We also had 60 outreach events in 15 different venues. It is abundantly clear how important these events have been for cementing our excellent relationships within the community of Boscawen, and other neighboring towns.
Chamber orchestras and vocal ensembles of varying size and repertoire filled out the roster. Our residents came from all parts of the USA, as well as Israel, and Canada, and within some American groups, musicians from all over the world. Every musician reiterated with gratitude, that Avaloch is providing a unique and unparalleled experience, an essential resource for their development, and most extraordinarily, makes them feel truly valued. And of course, the fabulous food definitely has a lot to do with everyone’s sense of well-being!
If you are interested, please go to the Residents page of our website to learn more about the ensembles and composers who joined us.
Construction on our new wing is moving along nicely, despite the snows. The “West Wing” will be a one story version of the original red-barn-style South Wing, and will house 12 more residents and provide three new large studios. We are also creating more swing space as a flexible, connected bedroom/studio.
Hard to believe that in 2017, only our fifth season, we will be welcoming more musicians each week. This expansion will make it easier to accept ensembles like chamber orchestras and larger vocal ensembles. Watch FaceBook for building updates.
Visit our Residents page for a complete list of our 2016 ensembles and composers.
Join us for an evening celebrating the outstanding and diverse ensembles who have explored the boundaries of creativity, imagination and sound while in residence at Avaloch Farm Music Institute. This exciting program of contemporary and classical chamber music will feature compositions by Andy Akiho and performances by New Morse Code, Aizuri Quartet, aTonal Hits, loadbang, Longleash, and the Sebastians. Tickets available soon on the National Sawdust website: www.nationalsawdust.org.
The 2015 Avaloch Farm season will be remembered as the “tilting point.” It marks a transition from a hope into a vibrant reality. Deb and I thought at least 5 years would be required for the Avaloch idea to take hold. Success for us was that news of our venture would effectively spread through the music community as a sanctuary for musicians and their composers. After two and half seasons we have seen that idea emerge fully realized. This year we achieved the numerical parameters of nearly full occupancy and a waiting list to participate. But numbers are only part of the story. We hoped that the Avaloch experience would capture more than the traditional concert spectrum of classical chamber music, but would also include the best in new music. Again, our aspirations were fulfilled. This year we heard exciting newly commissioned works, as well as innovative projects with pre-20th century compositions sprinkled with representation from the world of jazz. Outstanding performances of re-discovered early 17th century manuscripts, newly transcribed pre-20th century music, and works from the folk genre broke the mold, so to speak. I suppose the last concert of the season captured it all. As Deb reported, “It was an extraordinary evening that turned into a “jam” of sorts when one of the singers couldn’t contain herself and sang one of the Schumann songs they had transcribed for cello and piano. Then another, and another, and another cellist joined in, and then we were all singing!” And that is what Avaloch Farm has become. Thanks to all for your support and appreciation. We are building a community and to that end, our success is yours as well.
Those of you who have been residents at Avaloch know the drill when you leave: 1. linens in the laundry room, 2. keys in the bowl outside the office, and 3. SIGN THE BOOK!
Nearly everyone who has joined us has added a comment to the guest book, and the feeling seems to be unanimous. There is nowhere else for musicians to accomplish so much, while feeling so relaxed and cared for. Everyone mentions the fabulous food, the gorgeous surroundings, and especially, the wonderful connections and relationships formed with the musicians outside one’s own ensemble. What fun it was to attend a concert by Avaloch musicians in New York, and see a number of other Avaloch alums there to support their friends! The community is a strong and powerful one, which came to life the moment the first musicians stepped on the grounds on August 18th, 2013. We now know that it will continue to grow and flourish.
Fred and I could not be more thrilled. It is a dream come true, with a depth and diversity beyond our expectations. We thank everyone for being part of making Avaloch a unique, vibrant, essential resource.
I first learned about Avaloch Farm Music Institute from a friend and fellow cellist. She described it to me in such a way that I went home that night and googled it to be sure this was real. Had I heard right? A residency program for performers? Indeed this was the case, Avaloch Farm exists and it is, quite literally, heaven on earth for musicians.
As a free-lance performer of contemporary music, I spend most of my year on the road, bouncing from city to city and learning music at a rate that echoes that kind of lifestyle. Somehow there’s never enough time for everything, including giving oneself that much needed space to just think.
I would have conversations all the time with composer friends who would gush about the eight weeks they spent at Yaddo or the MacDowell Colony. These places sounded amazing, only problem being that they were: a) only accepting a handful of people each year by application or nomination and b) predominantly geared towards composers, writers, and visual artists, not performers like myself playing other people’s music.
Then came Avaloch Farm. I have been twice now for a few weeks each time to workshop different projects. The first was time was in 2014 as a chamber music duo with pianist David Kaplan where we focused on a combination of new and old repertoire forming two concert programs. This past summer I came under the New Music Initiative, a program which encourages performer/composer combinations to come and develop their collaborative works. My proposal included several new commissions by composers whom I brought to the farm at different junctures of my stay.
When my studio was not Grand Central Station for composers, I accomplished so much of what I had put off for the entire season.When I left the farm I felt refreshed, restored and ready to enter a new season prepared and full of energy. Before Avaloch, that wasn’t something I could say.
Beyond the work we do individually during these residencies there exists a strong sense of community at Avaloch. From the moment I first pulled up to the compound I was greeted with smiling faces and welcoming arms. We are fed like kings and queens, three square meals a day (and dessert which you think you won’t eat every night but always do) and we eat those meals together. In the evenings we have listening sessions, impromptu performances, discussions and good old fashioned hangs on the porch. The music world is quite small so invariably you’ll bump into someone you know but you’ll also form new friendships and collaborations that will take you to all sorts of exciting places.
Each ensemble or individual is also invited to participate in an outreach event during their stay which may include visiting a nearby hospital, retirement community, elementary school or community function such as Old Home Day in Boscawen(that was mine!). Fostering those relationships is as important and valuable as fostering the ones we are creating with each other as artists.
I cannot imagine my summers without Avaloch, and I am excited to see how it will grow.