Travel with ease on AMTRAK® and Enjoy The American Music Festival- a Unique Festival of New and Innovative Music by America’s Cutting Edge Composers.

American Music  Festival is a national destination festival of new and innovative music by American composers in Troy, NY.

American Music  Festival is a national destination festival of new and innovative music by American composers in Troy, NY.

Albany, NY: The Albany Symphony and New York By Rail, the official travel guide of AMTRAK®, recently announced the creation of all-inclusive travel packages from NYC to the American Music Festival- a unique destination for music enthusiasts and the culturally curious.  For more than a decade, the American Music Festival, under the baton of Music Director David Alan Miller has grown into a multifaceted event showcasing the Albany Symphony and Troy, NY as a national destination and incubator for emerging music and art.  For five days, the Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center at RPI and Downtown Troy becomes a magnet for acclaimed composers and world class musicians, while giving voice to new works that are reshaping the nation’s musical landscape.

In announcing the partnership with New York By Rail Justin Cook commented:  The American Music Festival is the Albany Symphony’s flagship event and the Capital Region is the perfect destination.  From state-of-the-art facilities like EMPAC to legendary concert halls like the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy is the perfect home for a festival of this size and scope.  Not to mention, Troy is an intersection for trains traveling from Boston, New York, and Montreal.   This partnership is going to make it easier for patrons to experience the best of what the Albany Symphony has to offer and bring a more regional and international audience to Troy, starting with NYC.  The American Music Festival New York By Rail Travel Package provides a convenient, stress-free way for music lovers to visit the Capital Region via Amtrak and experience emerging music and art in a unique setting” said Thomas Martinelli, Publisher, New York By Rail


This year’s Festival, “Water Music,” includes more than 15 concerts, recitals, special events and artistic happenings including performances by the renowned Albany Symphony, the unique new music ensemble Dogs of Desire.  In addition to the Albany Symphony’s signature performances, highlights of this summer festival include performances by the Argus String Quartet, Andrew McKenna Lee, Sandbox Percussion and more.  Many of the works celebrate the Festival’s theme which explores humankind’s intimate connections to the water and the Bicentennial of the Eric Canal.  The Albany Symphony will conclude the festival with preview of seven world premieres by young American composers and the official launch of WaterMusicNY, a one-of-a-kind musical celebration of the historic waterway and canal communities throughout New York State.   

By rail travel packages include round trip transportation by Amtrak® from NYC, hotel accommodations in Albany as well as a 2017 American Music Festival All Access Pass.  

For more information about travel packages email Lori Solomon at, or call Akiba Travel at 518-322-2067.


Looking Forward To January's Performance

The Stonewall uprising in 1969 marked a new chapter in the Gay Rights Movement.

And so did AIDS, in the early 1980s.

One of the responses to AIDS in the gay community is represented by John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 (whose first movement is aptly titled “Apologue: Of Rage and Remembrance,” expressing two chief emotions within the community, to the slow reaction of the culture at large to the plague and to the ongoing loss of friends and family), and you might prepare for the January concert simply by listening to the work and reading Corigliano’s program note at

But you might also want to put this symphony in context by, say, viewing a short video on the unveiling of the AIDS Quilt in 1987 and then another, made 25 years later.

And a personal note: the late writer, Paul Monette (1945-1995) was a classmate of mine at Yale and our Class Poet. He chronicled his coming out in two powerful memoirs, Borrowed Time and Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story

The first was about his relationship with his partner, Roger, who died of AIDS in 1986; the second--winner of a National Book Award--was his coming-out story and frank commentary of his own illness, to which he succumbed just shy of 50. For a vivid, stirring, and funny look at Monette’s life, visit On the Brink of Summer’s End (). Just as Corigliano uses his art to call attention and mourn, so, too, did Monette. 

Paul Lamar, Albany Symphony Patron 

Grammy-Award Winning Duo David Alan Miller and John Corigliano Nominated For 2017 International Classical Music Award.

Albany Symphony Music Director, David Alan Miller and Grammy-Award winning composer John Corigliano have once again earned international acclaim after being nominated for a 2017 International Classical Music Award (ICMA). 

Released in July of 2016 by Naxos USA, Symphony No. 1 is the third recording completed by Miller and Corigliano and the second recording to receive international acclaim.    In 2014, John Corigliano and David Alan Miller received a Grammy® award for Best Instrumental Solo for their recording of Conjurer with percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the Albany Symphony.

Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 is an evocative musical portrait inspired by loved ones lost to the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s as well as the “cumulative effect” of those losses. Miller's deeply emotional recording of Symphony No. 1  is the third recording of this work, but the first ever Naxos recording for the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, which is composed of elite conservatory students from across the United States and David Alan Miller’s 5th recording released on the Naxos Label.

On Saturday, January 7th at 7:30PM David Alan Miller will present John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 with the Albany Symphony at the Palace Theatre.  Recognized as a leading voice in new American orchestral music, David Alan Miller is a driving force behind the Albany Symphony’s commitment to giving voice to new works by living American composers. 

Tickets are available for purchase online.  To charge tickets by phone call the box office at 518.694.3300.



Top 5 New Music Picks of 2016

Top 5 New Music Picks of 2016

At the heart of the Albany Symphony's mission is a deep seated commitment to performing and recording new music by living American composers. Under the leadership of David Alan Miller, this unwavering commitment to new orchestral music has earned the Albany Symphony national recognition from ASCAP, NPR Music, the American Record Guide, and the National Recording Academy. 

David Alan Miller's Top Classical Picks for Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Albany Symphony!

As the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, here is a list of the creepiest classical masterpieces to accompany your night.  

From witchcraft to demons and dancing skeletons, ghost stories and ancient legends have inspired composers to write haunting melodies and rich orchestrations that have stood the test of time.

Check out David Alan Miller's Top Classical Picks for Halloween. 

1. Night On Bald Mountain- Modest Mussorgsky

Night on Bald Mountain is a a series of compositions by Modest Mussorgsky.  The work,  most commonly associated with Walt Disney's Fantasia, was first conceived as an Opera based on Nikolai Gogol's story St. John’s Eve.   Plans were later discussed to transform the work into a one-act opera based on Baron Mengden’s play The Witches.  The work was later completed by Mussorgsky in 1867 as a "tone picture" for orchestra and brilliantly depicts a witches sabbath on St. John's Night  on Mount Triglav near Kiev.

It is important to note that the version included on Walt Disney's Fantasia was a re-orchestration of the work composed by Mussorgsky's friend, Rimsky-Korsakov in 1886.

Wolf's Glen scene from Der Freischutz by von Weber

The Wolf's  Glen Scene is a famous scene from Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischutz. Premiered in Germany on June 18, 1821, Der Freischutz is considered to be the first important German opera of the Romantic period.  The first American performance of this opera took place in the Park Theatre, New York, March 2, 1825. 

The Wolf's Glen Scene is notable for the haunting and spooky musical motif's that signal Casper's encounter with Samiel, the devil and a host of demons.

la Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saens

Danse macabre (Dance of Death) by French composer Camille Saint-Saens, is a tone poem for orchestra based on an old French legend.  Originally composed in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by Henri Cazalis, the composer reworked the piece  into its current form by replacing the vocal line with a solo violin and substituting the the piano accompaniment for orchestra.

According to the old French legend, "Death" appears at midnight on Halloween and calls forth the dead to dance for him while he plays his fiddle.   As depicted in this piece, the skeletons dance for him until dawn, when they must return to their graves until next Halloween.

They Are Always With Me from The Ghosts of Versailles by John Corigliano

Premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House on December 19, 1991,  The Ghosts of Versailles is an opera in two acts by Grammy Award-winning composer, John Corigliano and librettist William Hoffman.

Considered by Corigliano as a "grand opera buffa", The Ghosts of Versailles  is set in the afterlife with the ghosts of the court of Louis XVI.    Needless to say, the Opera is infested with ghosts tormented by the French Revolution.   

You can rent the entire Opera on Demand at or read a full synopsis at