American Music Festival: The Adventure Begins!

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DAY ONE: THURSDAY MAY 31, 2018

The American Music Festival kicked off yesterday at Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), a stunning 21st century concert hall and performing arts center situated on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.   EMPAC is much more than a concert hall.  It is 220,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility with 4 equally unique venues where the arts, sciences, and technology meet under one roof and breathe the same air.  EMPAC also provides research space for complex artworks and research and is a perfect venue for the American Music Festival.

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FESTIVAL TIP: When you arrive at EMPAC, take the elevator to the 7th Floor and enjoy a stunning view of Downtown Troy and the Hudson River.  The view is awe-inspiring and absolutely breath-taking. 

 

 

DAY ONE: THE NEXT GENERATION

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Composers are at the heart of the American Music Festival.  At any given moment you could be standing next to an award-winning composer or the next Leonard Bernstein. 

New to the festival this year is the Orchestrating the 21st Century Orchestra Workshop for emerging student composers. 

Twelve student composers from colleges and conservatories across the country were selected to participate in a one-week intensive workshop with acclaimed composer and Yale Professor, Christopher Theofanidis.  Yesterday morning the students gathered in Studio Beta for one of many scheduled sessions designed to help them develop their craft and grow as composers.

 Evelyn's Cafe was bustling with activity as the composers began implementing what they learned into their newest work. 

Evelyn's Cafe was bustling with activity as the composers began implementing what they learned into their newest work. 

 Composer Annika Socolofsky was taking care of business in Evelyn's Cafe before her first rehearsal with the Dogs of Desire. 

Composer Annika Socolofsky was taking care of business in Evelyn's Cafe before her first rehearsal with the Dogs of Desire. 

DAY ONE: FROM THE COMPOSERS IMAGINATION TO THE SCORE

What does it take to make it to the concert hall?  Dedication, commitment, careful study, and an openness to learn from the best.  A simple tweak or change in orchestration can dramatically transform a new work into a crowd-pleaser.  Master classes are incredible learning opportunities for students and the curious listener.  A record number of composers watched as Composer-educator, Christopher Theofanidis helped First Draughts composers Baldwin Giang, Natalie Dietterich, and Patrick O'Malley prepare for the first professional reading of their newest work. 

DAY ONE: FINAL PREPARATIONS

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The American Music Festival is jam packed with over 15 performances and events throughout Troy.  That's roughly 900 minutes of music.  Rehearsals started on Tuesday afternoon and will continue through the weekend.  Yesterday, Festival Pass holders, sponsors, and students from Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in Poughkeepsie were invited to an Open Rehearsal of the Dogs of Desire. 

Students from Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School watched as their teacher, acclaimed powerhouse soprano, Nancy Allen Lundy, rehearsed "Dracula" by David Del Tredici.

After the rehearsal, Nancy Allen Lundy came out, greeted her students, and sat with them as the Albany Symphony rehearsed three world premiere pieces by Annika Socolofsky, Derrick Spiva, and Carlos Simon.

One of the benefits of performing new music is you get to work directly with the composer.  David Del Tredici stopped by the Dogs of Desire rehearsal yesterday to work with David Alan Miller and Nancy Alan Lundy.  Tomorrow night the Dogs of Desire will perform Del Tredici's ghoulish melodram, "Dracula."

The Dogs of Desire is an incredibly flexible ensemble that explores new sounds from traditional and not so traditional instruments. Tonight, the Dogs will perform using an aeoliphone (wind machine) and a theremin. 

FIRST DRAUGHTS COMPOSER READING SESSION

The first day ended with First Draughts Composer Reading Session, a new event that pairs local craft beer and spirits with readings of new works by emerging composers.  Baldwin Giang, Natalie Dietterich, and Patrick O'Malley were selected from a pool of 90 applicants to have their newest work read by the David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony.  After tasting Brown's Krush Golden Lager, Wolf Hollow's Amber Ale and District 6 IPA, and a new tequila from One With Life in Saratoga, patrons got an inside look at how a new piece comes to life for the very first time.