National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and GE Renewable Energy Invest in American Music Festival, Giving Voice To New Art  

Troy, NY -  In June 2017, the Albany Symphony will conclude David Alan Miller’s 25th anniversary season with the American Music Festival, a bold, five-day festival of new music that is reshaping the nation’s musical future.   Created by Music Director David Alan Miller in 1998 and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, the American Music Festival has grown into a unique incubator for American music, showcasing the Capital Region as a national destination for emerging art.  This year’s Festival, “Water Music,” will include more than 40 new works, including compositions by 2016 Grammy® Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty, Christopher Theofanidis, Reena Esmail, Viet Cuong, Saad Haddad, and winners of the “Composer to Center Stage Reading Session” call-for-scores competition.  Many of the works amplify the Festival’s theme, which celebrates the waters that surround us, and advance the Albany Symphony’s mission of giving voice to innovative new works, with a particular emphasis on young and emerging composers. Viet Cuong’s newly commissioned work, which will be premiered by the Albany Symphony’s new music ensemble, Dogs of Desire, is a programmatic concerto for the percussion quartet inspired by the limitless power of wind, water, and sun, and the technologies that are transforming the way communities generate sustainable energy.  Cuong’s premiere is part of the Albany Symphony’s continuing partnership with GE Renewable Energy to explore the ways in which the arts, business, and technology can intersect and influence each other.

On the sponsoring of the work, Anne McEntee, Vice President of GE Renewable Energy Services says “We are proud to sponsor the American Music Festival for the second year in a row. The Albany Symphony is a great community organization, always finding unique ways to bring music to life. It is exciting to see the strength of the wind, the force of water, and the heat of the sun inspiring both musicians and our local community.”  

The American Music Festival includes more than 15 concerts and events between Wednesday, May 31 and Sunday, June 4th. In addition to the Dogs of Desire performance on Friday, June 2 and the full orchestra’s signature festival concert on Saturday, June 3, Festival highlights include 16 world premiere performances, “This Land Sings,” a song-cycle by Michael Daugherty inspired by the life and times of Woody Guthrie, a recital by Sandbox Percussion, and the Argus Quartet, performing works by Christopher Theofanidis and Sleeping Giant’s Rob Honstein and Chris Cerrone.  The Festival will also feature a special preview concert of 7 newly commissioned works for “Water Music NY,” the orchestra’s seven-day barge tour and cross-cultural celebration of the bicentennial of New York’s Erie Canal to take place from July 2 to July 8 across New York State. Community events beyond the concert hall include a guided River Walk with the Rensselaer County Historical Society, and a curated Poetry Reading at Troy Kitchen.

According to Music Director David Alan Miller, “The 2017 American Music Festival will be the our most ambitious and exciting festival yet.  It will celebrate the uniqueness of our Capital Region as the gateway to the Erie Canal, as we prepare to kick off the Erie Canal Bicentennial with our magnificent orchestral barge trip from Albany to Buffalo during the first week of July.   Even more, it will celebrate the magnificent diversity and richness of living American composers and their music through a myriad of extraordinary and diverse concerts and related activities.  We hope our friends and music lovers everywhere will join us for lots of the events to experience the incredible breadth of contemporary musical art being created today.  It’s so much fun to just hang out with us and with all our amazing featured creative artists all weekend long.” 

Tickets and Festival Passes to the American Music Festival are on sale now and can be purchased through the Albany Symphony Box Office:  (518) 694-3300, Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or online at  Performances take place in Troy, NY at EMPAC Concert Hall, on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bush Memorial Hall on the campus of Russell Sage College and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.