The 42nd Contemporary Music Festival

October 9-11, 2023

Three days of concerts and master classes celebrating new music, featuring guest composer Gavin Higgins with guest performers Emily Albrink, soprano, and Kathleen Kelly, piano. JMU faculty and ensembles will also perform, and our Student Composers Recital will feature current composition majors at JMU.

Events & Programs 

(subject to change)

October 9

8:00pm—Concert I (Forbes Concert Hall)

Eric Ruple (piano) performs works by Tani Léon and others; Sam Suggs (bass) performs a new work of his own; Aiveen Gallagher (viola) performs her Trinity Caprices; student chamber groups perform works by JMU faculty composer Dr. John Allemeier and featured composer Gavin Higgins. After intermission, The Madison Singers, directed by Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, will perform music of Gavin Higgins and others. 

October 10

4:00-5:30pm—Kathleen Kelly Masterclass for Graduate Students (Music 148)

8:00pm—Concert II (Forbes Concert Hall)

The JMU Brass Band, directed by Kevin Stees, presents a program of music by Gavin Higgins, JMU faculty composer Dr. Eric Guinivan, JMU alumni composer Joe Jaxson, and Drew Bonner.

October 11

9:10-10:00am—Gavin Higgins Composition Seminar (Music 204)

1:50-2:40pm—Emily Albrink Commissioning Discussion: "Don't Be Afraid to Ask" (Music 142)

8:00pm—Concert III (Forbes Concert Hall)

Guest performers Emily Albrink and Kathleen Kelly perform songs of Rene Orth and Jake Heggie. The second half of the program features Šarūnas Jankauskas (clarinet) performing a solo work by Gavin Higgins, and the JMU Wind Symphony, directed by Stephen Bolstad, performing music of Gavin Higgins and others.


Previous Festivals:
Past Festival Guests:
  • Libby Larsen
  • Kelly-Marie Murphy
  • Augusta Read Thomas
  • Stephen Harke
  • The Virginia Sinfonietta
  • Roger Reynolds
  • JACK Quartet
  • American Modern Ensemble
  • Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Alarm Will Sound
  • Steven Stucky
  • Steven Reich
  • New Millennium Ensemble
  • George Tsontakis
  • Samuel Adler
  • George Crumb
  • Donald Erb
  • Adolphus Hailstork
  • John Harbison
  • Karel Husa
  • David Maslanka
  • Thea Musgrave
  • The New Music Consort
  • Joseph Schwantner
  • Joan Tower
  • Chinary Ung
  • Chen Yi
  • Ingrid Stölzel
  • Dale Trumbore

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