Behind the American Music Festival: Sing Out! New York


MAY 30 - JUNE 2 | TOUR: JUNE 6 - JUNE 9

If you’ve been to the American Music Festival, you know that it is a unique adventure into the music of our time. The Festival is the culmination of our season and highlights the composers, guest artists, and collaborators — and audience members — who are daring to reshape America’s musical landscape. The world premieres and recently composed works might sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before, but what does feel familiar is how the story behind the music connects to our lives, our shared history, and our sense of place.


But wait! Does music always have to be about something? Can’t music just BE music? Well, this is an age-old debate that cannot be settled in one blog post and perhaps there isn’t only one answer. But, you don’t have to be a musicologist to uncover the connection between life and art. In fact, many of the most timeless masterpieces have subtle connections to their time and place. Creating music has given composers the opportunity to imagine, to experiment, and to challenge or celebrate what is happening in the world. It is nearly impossible for a composer to be completely withdrawn from their experiences and their history. So, it seems that music is always about something. In composing a piece of music, there must be an inspiration. That inspiration doesn’t need to be complex, but it should tell its own story. What the bold composers from yesterday and today have shown us is that the greatest music tells the most compelling stories.

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom & philosophy.
― Ludwig van Beethoven

Take Beethoven’s Fifth as an example: Most people believe that the opening four notes represent “fate knocking at the door.” But, if you dig deeper into Beethoven’s life and political musings, you begin to see a slightly different perspective. Beethoven was, in many ways, a student of the enlightenment era with a strong revolutionary spirit. It is believed that his passionate belief in liberté, égalité, fraternité served as an inspiration for his Fifth Symphony and the iconic opening.

Like Beethoven, the American Music Festival, Sing Out! New York embodies a “revolutionary spirit.” This Festival celebrates and explores key American milestones — the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a definitive moment in the LGBTQ rights movement. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will also be featured during our Sing Out! New York Tour: June 6 – June 9.

Come face to face with innovative music that will bring you on a musical journey to explore our time, our place, and our shared history. Hear 55 new or recent works by 38 American composers, including 27 world premieres, performed by the Albany Symphony, the genre-bending Dogs of Desire, Argus Quartet & more. The Festival runs from May 30-June 2, 2019 in Troy, NY.

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Then, follow the orchestra as we take four new major works on tour with FREE concerts in Schuylerville, Albany, Schenectady, and Hudson. In addition to one of these new works being featured on each concert, all four programs will include Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, summertime favorites such as Stars and Stripes Forever, and sing-alongs. Each concert will conclude with fireworks! The Sing Out! New York Tour starts in Schuylerville on Thursday, June 6.