Held in New York City and on the grounds of Music Mountain, the oldest continuous chamber music festival in the country, the Next Festival of Emerging Artists is an immersive residency for young professional string players focused on musical exploration, entrepreneurial thinking, and contemporary performance practice. Combining intense musical study and performance at the highest level, the festival brings together young artists aged 20-30, from the best music schools and conservatories in the country, to work in a highly individualized and inspirational atmosphere.
Our 2017 season included performances with Jennifer Koh (Musical America 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year) and a Composer Workshop led by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. The Composer Workshop is an innovative program connecting composers and performers in a unique collaboration, resulting in artistic partnerships and the creation of new works. The 2017 season also marked the first Choreographer/Composer/Performer workshop, led by Aaron Jay Kernis and Tony Award-nominee Christopher D’Amboise.
The Next Festival is deeply committed to helping the artists of tomorrow progress to the next step in their careers and to forge their own unique musical identities. Generous scholarships enable students to attend, regardless of financial circumstances.
Conductor/composer/educator Peter Askim (Conductor, Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra; Former Music Director, Composer-in-Residence, Idyllwild Arts) works closely with the students to tailor a program focused on their individual goals, and a spirit of imagination and exploration is cultivated.
The Next Festival emphasizes Contemporary Music and entrepreneurial thinking in imagining a career in today’s musical landscape, culminating in an orchestral performance of 20th-Century works and the music of our time. The 2015 season marked the Festival’s New York debut at the prestigious (le) poisson rouge, in a program of all living composers. The concert was recorded by WQXR/Q2 and featured on the program New York Now. The Festival is the recipient of the 2016 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in the Performance of American Music and has been recognized for innovative programming by Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming.
Each year the festival features Guest Artists who are making major contributions to the contemporary repertoire and who have fashioned their own unique approaches to their careers. The Guest Artists serve as examples of non-traditional career paths and perform alongside the Festival musicians. Past Guest Artists included Matt Haimovitz, ETHEL and Jeffrey Zeigler (former cellist, Kronos Quartet). The 2016 festival featured Peabody Award-winning violist Nadia Sirota (yMusic, host of Q2’s Meet the Composer) and guitar legend Richard Thompson.
About Peter Askin, Artistic Director and Conductor:
Active as a composer, conductor and bassist, Peter Askim is the Artistic Director of the Next Festival of Emerging Artists and the conductor of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, as well as Director of Orchestral Activities at North Carolina State University. He was previously Music Director and Composer-in-Residence of the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra. He has also been a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and served on the faculty of the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he directed the Contemporary Music Ensemble and taught theory and composition.
A dedicated champion of the music of our time, he has premiered numerous works, including works by composers Richard Danielpour, Nico Muhly, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Christopher Theofanidis and has collaborated with such artists as the Miró String Quartet, Matt Haimovitz, Vijay Iyer, Jeffrey Zeigler, Nadia Sirota, and Sō Percussion. As a composer, he has been called a “Modern Master” by The Strad and has had commissions and performances from such groups as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony and the American Viola Society, as well as by performers such as ETHEL, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, flutist/conductor Ransom Wilson and violinist Timothy Fain.
Mr. Askim is the founder and Artistic Director of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, a summer festival dedicated to cultivating the next generation of performers and composers. Focusing on the music of living composers, the festival artists frequently perform World Premieres and collaborate closely with prominent composers on performances of their works. Led by Mr. Askim, The Next Festival has received numerous grants and awards for performances of American music, adventurous programming and educational outreach since its inception in 2013. In conjunction with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, Mr. Askim founded the Next Festival Composer Workshop, connecting early-career performers and composers in an innovative and highly collaborative laboratory for the creation of new works.
About Jessica Meyer:
About Liisa Hirsch:
Liisa Hirsch studied in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Peter Adriaansz and Cornelis de Bondt, and in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with Prof. Toivo Tulev. Hirsch has worked as music director at the Estonian Drama Theatre and is lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Liisa Hirsch’s music can be characterized by sensitivity to timbre, purity of form and research- oriented approach towards composition. Microtonal reflection can also be observed in her work. Lately, she has been seeking to further the means of concentrated listening.
Hirsch has composed music also for film and theatre and oftentimes she collaborates with dancers.
She has worked together with S.E.M. Ensemble, Figura Ensemble, Ghost Ensemble, Konzert Minimal, THReNSeMBLe ensemble, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Elblag Chamber Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir among others. Her music has been played in several festivals including MATA Festival, Gaudeamus Muziek Week, ISCM World Music Days, Ostrava Music Days, Young Euro Classics, Estonian Music Days, Afekt Festival, International Arts Festival in St. Petersburg, Soochi Choir Olympics and Internationale Stichting Masterclass Apeldoorn.
In 2016 Hirsch’s composition “Mechanics of Flying” for orchestra received an European Composer Award at the festival Young Euro Classics in Berlin.
2015, Hirsch’s composition “Ascending…Descending” for solo violin and string orchestra, was given a recommendation (5th) in the International Rostrum of Composers.
Her piece “Brautigan Circles” won the chamber music prize at Orkest de Ereprijs Young Composers Meeting 2015.
George Grella, New York Classical review: “Hirsch’s music is enveloping and out of time, like the microtonal music of Giacinto Scelsi, but with a different aesthetic and philosophy—she’s spinning out material and setting up a system for organizing it on the fly. The concentrated quiet and listening this demands from the musicians spreads to the audience, there’s a communal experience of witnessing something grow and disappear.”
About Brett Dean:
Brett Dean studied in Brisbane before moving to Germany in 1984 where he was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic for fourteen years. Now one of the most internationally performed composers of his generation, much of Dean’s work draws from literary, political, environmental or visual stimuli, including a number of compositions inspired by artwork by his wife Heather Betts. His music is championed by many of the leading conductors and orchestras worldwide, including Sir Simon Rattle, Andris Nelsons, Vladimir Jurowski, David Robertson, Marin Alsop and Sakari Oramo.
Brett Dean began composing in 1988, initially concentrating on experimental film and radio projects and as an improvising performer. Dean’s reputation as a composer continued to develop, and it was through works such as his clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music (1995), which won an award from the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and Carlo (1997) for strings, sampler and tape, inspired by the music of Carlo Gesualdo, that he gained international recognition. In 2000 Dean returned to his native Australia to concentrate on his composition, and he now shares his time between homes in Melbourne and Berlin.
In 2009 Dean won the Grawemeyer Award for music composition for his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing and in 2016 was awarded the Don Banks Music Award by Australia Council, acknowledging his sustained and significant contribution to Australia’s musical scene. In June 2017 his second opera Hamlet was premiered at Glyndebourne Festival Opera to great acclaim; directed by Neil Armfield with libretto by Matthew Jocelyn and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, Hamlet receives its Australian premiere at the 2018 Adelaide Festival.
Dean enjoys a busy performing career as violist and conductor and performs his own Viola Concerto with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Dean is a natural chamber musician, frequently collaborating with other soloists and ensembles to perform both his own chamber works and standard repertoire, including projects with the Doric Quartet, Scharoun Ensemble and Alban Gerhardt. Dean’s imaginative conducting programmes usually centre around his own works combined with other composers and highlights include projects with the BBC Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and as Artist in Residence with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
Dean is 2017/18 Creative Chair at Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, a role which encompasses conducting, performing and creative programming. The season sees a comprehensive overview of Dean’s orchestral and chamber music, with Dean joining the orchestra for concerts as conductor and soloist in his Viola Concerto as well as masterclasses and outreach work. Dean also continues as Artist in Residence with Sydney Symphony Orchestra across 2016-2018.
Other highlights of 2017/18 include three world premieres – an orchestral work for the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, a partner work to Brandenburg Concerto No.6 with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in February 2018 conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, and a duo work for Colin Currie and Håkan Hardenberger, The Scene of the Crime, at Malmo Chamber Festival where he is Composer in Residence.
This season Dean conducts a number of orchestras including Sydney Symphony and Tonhalle Orchestra as part of his residencies, Auckland Philharmonia, City of London Sinfonia and RTE Symphony where he also performs the Irish premiere of his Viola Concerto. He tours a string quintet programme with Baiba Skride, Geri Gergana, Amihai Grosz and Alban Gerhardt including Zurich, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Dortmund. Elsewhere his music is performed by many leading orchestras including the UK tour of Hamlet by Glyndebourne chorus/London Philharmonic Orchestra, Engelsflügel by San Francisco Symphony/Robertson and performances of Testament by Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and BBC Philharmonic, Pastoral Symphony by the Aurora Orchestra/Collon.
Brett Dean’s music has been recorded for BIS, Chandos, Warner Classics, ECM Records and ABC Classics, with a new BIS release in 2016 of works including Shadow Music, Testament, Short Stories and Etudenfest performed by Swedish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dean. Dean’s Viola Concerto has also been released on BIS with the Sydney Symphony, with Dean reviewed as “a formidable and musical player as well as an impressive composer…an excellent showcase of Dean’s range as a composer” (Guardian). Looking ahead a DVD of Hamlet will be released by Glyndebourne.