Percussionist Steven Schick, the International Contemporary Ensemble, New Music Detroit, and Michigan’s Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble have been announced as the headlining performers for the third annual New Music Gathering, this year slated for May 11–13, 2017, on the campus of Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Co-founded by musicians Lainie Fefferman, Daniel Felsenfeld, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Matt Marks, and Jascha Narveson, this practitioner-led conference has become a much-praised space for new music colleagues from across the country to meet face-to-face and discuss challenging issues and exciting trends. The full three-day schedule of panels, performances, and lectures built around this year’s theme of “Support” is now available on the NMG site. Topics will range widely, spanning the use of technology and electronic elements in new music to concerns over the level of diversity in the field. Installations and demonstrations, composer/performer speed dating, and even career-oriented “therapy” will be on offer.
Being clear that he was speaking on behalf of all the founders, Daniel Felsenfeld acknowledges the growth of the grassroots event but redirects credit for its success back on the wider new music community.
“Our first year was a bit of a nail-biter—would anyone come?—and we were pleasantly surprised, dazzled even, by the enthusiasm, even more so the second year,” he admits. “And we cannot even take credit for this because the community did all of that heavy lifting: we just gave it space. So as we prepare for year three the usual challenges present themselves, just in greater numbers. Also we have, because of some gracious funding help, significantly lowered the price to welcome more people to NMG.”
Registration is now open at the rate of $50/advanced full-3-day conference pass ($60 at the door); $20/day pass. Complimentary passes are available to BGSU students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
Previously held in San Francisco and Baltimore, the Bowling Green location takes the festival into the country’s heartland. Felsenfeld explains that the location was chosen for two reasons. “The first was the school’s legendary commitment to new music,” he acknowledged. “And the other the fact that we’ve been on both coasts and need to look elsewhere—and so much is happening either at the college or in neighboring cities that it seemed like an ideal hub for so much excellent music making. One of the principal missions of New Music Gathering is to never be in the same place twice, which means we get to experience more of the musical landscape.”
Part of that experience means getting out of urban hubs. “In a way, the surprise is part of the fun,” Felsenfeld suggests. “We do not know exactly how things will work in Bowling Green, but we do know it will be different and that, to us, is critical.” Conference attendees who may not have met yet or know each other only via social media can look to share transportation and housing through the event’s couch and ridesharing program.