Counterstream Radio
New Music Streaming 24/7
New Music Playlists
Browse Music, Video, Interviews and more.

American Music Festival 2017: Water Music NY

The American Music Festival: 30 new works, 14 world premieres, 18 composers-in-residence.


Our annual American Music Festival is the central plank of the Albany Symphony’s mission to support the creation, presentation and dissemination of the best new music by living American composers. The Festival has grown into a five-day celebration of wall-to-wall new music, inspiring and informing the new works featured on our season subscription concerts and generating themes for our community engagement programs. As an incubator for the work of emerging artists, the Festival features concerts, presentations, and engagement events of multiple year-long composer residencies and artistic projects. Now in its 19th season, the Festival will offer more events, new works, world premieres, and resident ensembles than ever before. The Festival is the only event of its kind in upstate NY, and one of the nation’s largest new music festivals, fostering a culture of innovation that continues to expand the orchestral repertoire.


Subtitled “Water Music NY,” our 2017 Festival is the first stage of a statewide composer residency project, culminating in a boat trip along the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo. Symphony musicians will travel the Canal by barge for 7 days, partnering with canal communities to create and perform new works by gifted emerging composers. In the months before the trip, each composer will partner with a local arts group and the symphony to create a multimedia work expressing the town’s important role in Canal history.  During the Festival, shortened versions of these compositions will be premiered, along with water-themed events and community activities. In July, the complete works will be performed in the communities that created them.

This year’s Festival will feature more than 30 new and recent works by 24 American composers, including 14 world premieres commissioned by the orchestra. Our 2017 Festival, held from May 31 – June 4, 2017, will include:


FULL ORCHESTRA CONCERT: Featuring world premieres of commissioned works by Reena Esmail, “Avaaz: Hindustani Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra,” and Katherine Balch; as well as Christopher Theofanidis’ Violin Concerto and John Harbison’s “Diotima.” The Violin Concerto, one of Theofanidis’ most significant, not-yet-recorded works, will be recorded for commercial release.

DOGS OF DESIRE: The orchestra’s 18-member new music ensemble will present new water-themed works by emerging composers, including Andrew McKenna Lee, Viet Cuong, and Saad Haddad.

YOUNG COMPOSER READING SESSION: The orchestra will read and record 3 new works by young composers selected in a national competition, who will be mentored throughout the Festival by our resident composers.


WATER MUSIC NY: Seven emerging American composers will create multi-genre collaborative pieces for the orchestra’s July 2017 Erie Canal Bicentennial barge trip. Selections from all of these new works will be premiered during the Festival.

EDUCATION ACTIVITIES: “Literacy Through Songwriting,” our year-long in-school composing workshop, will present original songs celebrating the students’ heritage. Resident composer Reena Esmail and clarinetist Shankar Tucker will hold workshops at area schools.

ADDITIONAL EVENTS:  A recital of new American brass music; performances by Sandbox Percussion, the Argus Quartet, and the Empire State Youth Orchestras; and recitals and lecture-discussions by featured composers.

Start and End Dates



Troy, New York

Project Created By

Albany, New York
The Albany Symphony Orchestra celebrates our living musical heritage. Through brilliant live performances, innovative educational programming, and engaging cultural events, the ASO enriches a broad and diverse regional community. By creating, recording, and disseminating the music of our time, the Albany Symphony is establishing an enduring artistic legacy that is reshaping the nation’s musical future.…

In Collaboration With

Composer In Residence
Los Angeles, California
Composer In Residence
New York, New York
Composer In Residence
Brooklyn, New York
Washington, District Of Columbia
Composer In Residence
New York, New York


Leave a Reply