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Madison New Music Festival 2018


  • Multiple venues Madison, Wisconsin (map)

The three-day festival offers a range of perspectives on contemporary classical music. Info/tix

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The Madison New Music Festival returns for its third year with a three-night showcase of 20th- and 21st -century classical works. Founded in 2016 by Madison native and New York based composer Zach Green, the festival has featured local musicians as well as guest artists and composers at multiple venues in town. This year, the festival kicks off on Friday at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art with an extensive program of work connected to 1960s counterculture. Corresponding with the current MMoCA exhibit Far Out: Art From The 1960s, much of the program weaves together social and historical themes present in the museum's exhibition, such as in Evan Williams' work "Bodies Upon the Gears." scored for clarinet, viola, and the audio of Mario Savio's 1964 speech on the importance of protest. Highlighting musical styles emerging in the '60s, such as minimalism and electroacoustic music, the program includes Steve Reich's "New York Counterpoint" for amplified clarinet and tape, and Andy Akiho's 2011 composition "Stop Speaking" for solo snare drum and digital playback. This opening night will also feature guest ensemble Conduit, a New York City-based percussion and clarinet duo.

The festival shifts gears in its programming for the second night, in a program at Bethel Lutheran Church. In observance of the space itself, this program features works for solo organ, spiritually inspired compositions, and spatial 20th-century works by Morton Feldman and Toru Takemitsu. The Feldman and Takemitsu are particularly fitting for Bethel Lutheran's open hall––an acoustically appropriate, resonant, amplifying listening space. The final night of the festival will take place at Robinia Courtyard on Sunday evening, featuring a performance by local multi-instrumentalist B.C. Grimm, and a large group performance of Julius Eastman's massive, monumental Stay On It. —Emili Earhart