As I am sitting in my chilly apartment in Tallahassee, Florida, I ran into an interesting thought. For the first time in three years, I am not applying to music festivals for composition, but instead I am applying for internships. It is a nice change for once to look into a field different from my previous one. Last year was a unique experience for me, because not only I was able to attend two music festivals in June, but the latter created a new interest for me. That interest was to one day establish a new music organization that created new opportunities for composers which currently do not exist. These include jobs, ensembles, performances, performance halls, collaborations, and educational organizations. Essentially a database for composers. This interest was confirmed by the Charlotte New Music Festival.
While the CNMF is fairly young at 5 years, it is a powerful underdog when compared to many music festivals. The festival comprises of three components:
- Max/MSP Workshop: Where composers work on their craft on Max/MSP and have the opportunity to perform in a laptop orchestra.
- Composers Workshop: The main portion of the festival. Composers will have the opportunity to study under some of the most recognized composers and professional musicians around. These include: Iktus Percussion, Bent Frequency, Joel Hoffman, Paula Matthusen, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. (more information on the guest composers and guest musicians here.)
- Dance Co-Lab: Where a select number of composers will have the opportunity to collaborate with a choreographer for two weeks. They will work with Arlynn Zachary, Vincent Thomas (FSU alum. Go Noles!), and many more.
Last summer, I was assigned to collaborate with a small, but spontaneous and fantastic choreographer Breanne Horne. Throughout the festival, we created a six minute piece called Habitual Metamorphosis which was performed by The Great Noise Ensemble and six dancers.
Aside from the Dance Co-Lab, this would sound like an average music festival. Well, allow me to go even further.
Considering that the festival is entering its 5th season, that stat alone is impressive. In addition, this is one of the few music festivals that allows composers to have their music performed by professional musicians (many of the well-known festivals only use student performers.) There is also an opportunity for composers to truly collaborate with others, on and off the rehearsal. Some of the musicians will stay on the same floor with the composers which allows for further collaboration as well as knowing them personally.
The reason why I have dedicated a post about CNMF is because of the overwhelming experience that I had. I also had the chance to learn how difficult it was for artistic director Elizabeth Kowalski to start CNMF in a city that is well known for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Bobcats, and the Carolina Panthers. I personally believe that this festival has the potential to become a powerhouse in its own field despite the interest of Charlotte. I am sure many of the CNMF alums can attest to what I have said and perhaps add on to it, so please comment if you have any additional thoughts!
The deadline for the Charlotte New Music Festival is this Friday, so please take the time to look over CNMF and have an experience that you will remember.