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Trailblaze NY New Music Festival

The Albany Symphony celebrates the new Empire State Trail with 6 major world premieres plus a rolling, 4-weekend, 6-city new music festival.


Trailblaze NY celebrates the completion of New York’s Empire State Trail – 750 miles of cycling, walking, and hiking trails – with an immersive, multi-weekend new music festival. A significant expansion of the orchestra’s annual American Music Festival, Trailblaze NY embodies the Albany Symphony’s mission to support the creation, presentation, and dissemination of new music by living American composers. Over four weekends in six cities, the Symphony will present free concerts and multimedia art events to thousands of people along New York’s scenic trails and waterways. Like the trail itself, this rolling festival connects communities across the state through place-based works of art, bringing together composers and artists with community members to create collaborative new works and performances.

Following the orchestra’s annual American Music Festival weekend in May 2020, Trailblaze NY will bring free outdoor new music concerts and events to six New York communities on the Empire State Trail: Hudson (June 12-13), Kingston (June 20), Schenectady (June 27), Albany (July 2-3), Amsterdam (July 4), and Schuylerville (July 5). In all-day street fair settings, each weekend will include a variety of cultural and recreational activities, including recitals, pop-up events, food and beverage, walking tours, films, lectures, trail-specific events, and family activities. The centerpiece of each weekend will be an Albany Symphony concert featuring the world premiere of a major newly commissioned work for the orchestra’s new music ensemble, Dogs of Desire, and collaborating artists:

  • Hudson: Composer Jack Frerer will create a work with Hudson Basilica and local poets, writers, and spoken word artists exploring the rich, multidimensional history of Hudson and its surroundings.
  • Kingston: Composer Loren Loiacono will collaborate with Sandbox Percussion and the Kingston Maritime Museum to create a piece about famous ghostly, abandoned landmarks on the mighty Hudson River.
  • Schenectady: Composer Ben Wallace will create a work about the Trail, the Erie Canal, and Schenectady’s relationship to them, deploying a huge chorus of youth flutists joining with Dogs of Desire to evoke the area’s birds, water, and industry.
  • Albany: Composer Andre Myers will create a work with students from Albany High School, uncovering stories of their precursors and ancestors to explore the many layers of geology and history, literal and figurative, of the trail in Albany.
  • Amsterdam: Composer Natalie Draper will work with the Mohawk Valley Chorus to create a work about traveling the interconnected trail networks from her home in Syracuse to Amsterdam.
  • Schuylerville: Composer Takuma Itoh will create a work with New York State biologists and middle school students to explore endangered animal species and challenged natural environments of the Capital Region.

Additional new music activities include:

Sandbox Percussion will create site-specific programming on and along the Trail, including a massed percussion performance of John Luther Adams’ “Inuksuit” featuring 99 players, and will be featured in performances of Viet Cuong’s “Re(new)al” with the Symphony’s new music ensemble, Dogs of Desire, as well as the premiere of Loren’s new work.

Brasskill band will perform on the Trail, and lead a parade across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

Project Media

“muse.mute.mate.made” by Loren Loiacono
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The Albany Symphony performs the world premiere of “muse.mute.mate.made” by Loren Loiacono during their subscription concerts on January 11 and 12, 2020 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

“Studies in Hope” by Andre Myers
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Features: Albany Symphony

The Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire new music ensemble performs the world premiere of “Studies in Hope” by Andre Myers during the 2019 American Music Festival on June 7, 2019.

“Chocolate Waltzes” by Ben Wallace
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The Albany Symphony performs the world premiere of “Chocolate Waltzes” by Ben Wallace during their subscription concert on December 15 and 16, 2018 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

Start and End Dates



Albany, 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

Guest ensemble
Brooklyn, New York
NYC, New York
Syracuse, New York


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