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Look + Listen

Brooklyn, NY               

Look + Listen is a music festival that presents concerts each spring in New York City contemporary art spaces. Our goals are to increase audiences for contemporary music and visual art, and support composers and the creation of new work through the Commissioning Program and Composers Competition. These initiatives aim to:

  • Contribute to the vibrancy of NYC’s cultural life with diverse live music concerts of the highest caliber in non-traditional settings;
  • Inspire a new faction of contemporary music fans by presenting it in a warm and casual environment;
  • Provide a stimulating experience to audiences through the simultaneous enjoyment of visual and aural art;
  • Grow the catalogue of contemporary music through commissions;
  • Provide composers, performers and visual artists opportunities to speak to audiences about their creative process.

Composer David Gordon was inspired to create the Festival while attending a Joan Tower “Second Helpings” concert at the DIA Center. Captivated by how the intimacy between audience and performers, and extended viewing of the visual art, enhanced the concert experience, he worked with Sean Carson to produce the first Look + Listen Festival in 2002. To aid their efforts, they created the Composers Collective, a group of distinguished composers who serve as advisors/consultants and oversee the Composers Competition. The Festival has established itself on the NYC music scene as one of the preeminent presenters of contemporary music, known for high-quality performances, breadth of repertoire, and a unique concert setting. The Festival has commissioned 6 new works since 2010 and aims to commission a new composer each year. Composer interviews interspersed throughout the concert educate the general public about who composers are, what they do, and what inspire them. Past Festival performers include:

  • So Percussion
  • Daedalus Quartet
  • Bridget Kibbey
  • Phyllis Chen
  • Miranda Cuckson
  • JACK Quartet
  • Ethel
  • Mark Stewart
  • and many others

Past Festival gallery venues include:

  • BRIC House
  • The Invisible Dog Art Center
  • Whitebox Art Center
  • Robert Miller Gallery
  • Betty Cuningham Gallery
  • OK Harris
  • Pratt Manhattan Gallery
  • and more

To celebrate L+L’s 15-year anniversary, all 2016 Festival concerts were free.  Festival concerts going back to 2010 are available for online streaming on the website of our digital partner, Q2 Music. Use this url to listen to a Festival concert: http://www.wqxr.org/#!/tags/look_and_listen_festival/

Ciglio III

Miranda Cuckson, violin, and Cory Smythe, piano, playing “Ciglio III” (1994) by Franco Donatoni at the Look + Listen Festival on May 3, 2015. This performance took place at Whitebox Art Center.

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Miya Masaoka playing her composition “Bones” at the Look + Listen Festival on May 1, 2015. This performance took place at BRIC House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

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Tyshawn Sorey Trio playing an abridged version of Sorey’s composition “Allegro” at the 2015 Look + Listen Festival. This performance took place on May 3, 2015 at Whitebox Art Center.

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