About2018-10-16T17:07:25+00:00

About the Festival

“An ideal wellspring for artistic collaboration.” –Derek Bermel, composer

“The Next Festival holds a unique place in the vastly diversifying field of new music.” –Lisa Bielawa, composer

“A sheer joy!”  –Jennifer Koh, violinist

The Next Festival of Emerging Artists is a two-week immersive experience for the modern string player, composer, and choreographer. It provides a comprehensive approach to entrepreneurial career-building, contemporary music performance, and intensive, personalized artistic development.

“It is extremely rare to find a festival that fosters an environment of hard work and camaraderie while at the same time making contemporary music its primary focus. The Next Festival is an extraordinary home for new music and I encourage all open minded students to come and explore what the future holds!” –Jeffrey Zeigler, cellist

Founded in 2013 and led by composer, conductor, and bassist Peter Askim, the Next Festival has featured some of the most prominent figures in new music today: guest artists including Tony Arnold, Matt Haimovitz, Jennifer Koh, Nadia Sirota, Richard Thompson, Jeffrey Zeigler, and the string quartet ETHEL; and composers including Aaron Jay Kernis, Derek Bermel, Lisa Bielawa, Liisa Hirsch, Pierre Jalbert, Phil Kline, Jessica Meyer, and Aleksandra Vrebalov; as well as choreographer Christopher D’Amboise.

Bringing together an intimate ensemble of 20 string players aged 20-30, the festival begins with a week on the beautiful grounds of Music Mountain in Falls Village, Connecticut. Here, the musicians create their own schedules of intense study, beginning with one-on-one lessons and chamber music coaching with Peter Askim in the musicians’ chosen repertoire. Student-led chamber music rehearsals, master classes, and talks with guest artists and composers follow, as well as ensemble rehearsals devoted to the festival’s concert program of new works. A public performance at historic Music Mountain concludes the first week.

“The spirit of the place is warm, friendly, informal, yet serious and reminds us why we make music together. There was time to ponder and work on every nuance, a rarity these days.”  –Pierre Jalbert, composer

The festival moves to New York City, where the concert is performed again, often with the composers in attendance, at a prominent new music venue such as (le) poisson rouge or National Sawdust. Then, invited student composers bring new works to be rehearsed in-depth over three days before being recorded in a professional studio. For the culmination of the festival, the composers and invited choreographers join the musicians in workshops exploring multi-disciplinary collaboration and improvisation.

“The size and setting is perfect for intense communication, and the direction, under Peter Askim, is encouraging, expert and electrifying.”  –Dorothy Lawson, cellist and Co-Artistic Director, ETHEL

The Next Festival offers generous scholarships to enable students to attend regardless of financial circumstances. Deeply committed to helping the artists of tomorrow, the festival maintains a unique pay-what-you-can model to ensure that each participant can attend for a price s/he can afford.

“That Peter made it his priority to raise enough funds to provide substantial scholarships to participants is something that I will never take for granted…. This festival provided me with one of those rare paradigm shifts that illuminates the simple answers to a meaningful life.”

Cellist, Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music

The Next Festival has expanded its activities and visibility each year since its inception. Its concerts have drawn capacity audiences and have been featured on WQXR/Q2’s New York Now, and in 2018 the festival was featured for the first time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The festival has presented world premieres of works by composers including Peter Askim, Phil Kline, Richard Thompson, and Aleksandra Vrebalov, and was awarded the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in the Performance of American Music. It was also recognized by the Vytaytas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming.

“Innovative, groundbreaking programming; world-class guest artists; and a close-knit community of like-minded students and teachers make for a magical – and necessary – addition to the music world’s summer festival options.” –Ralph Farris, violist and Co-Artistic Director, ETHEL

”[The Next Festival] has re-energized me, reawakened my creativity, and reaffirmed, despite the overwhelming odds against me, why I do what I do.” –Cellist, Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music

About Artistic Director, Peter Askim

Active as a composer, conductor and bassist, Peter Askim is the Artistic Director of the Next Festival of Emerging Artists and the Music Director of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, as well as Director of Orchestral Activities at North Carolina State University. He was formerly Music Director and Composer-in-Residence of the Idyllwild Arts Academy. He has also been a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and served on the faculty of the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he directed the Contemporary Music Ensemble and taught theory and composition.

As a composer, he has been called a “Modern Master” by The Strad and has had commissions and performances from such groups as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony, the International Society of Bassists, Cantus Ansambl Zagreb, the American Viola Society, the Portland Chamber Music Festival, and Serenata Santa Fe, as well as by performers such as ETHEL, flutist/conductor Ransom Wilson, Metropolitan Opera soprano Lauren Flanigan, Grammy-nominated soprano Judith Kellock, violist Roger Myers and violinist Timothy Fain. His compositions are published by Liben Music Publishers, the International Society of Bassists and the American Viola Society.

His compositions have been performed at the Aspen, Bowdoin, Music At the Anthology, June in Buffalo and Bang On A Can festivals, among others, and have frequently been broadcast on WNYC and Hawaii Public Radio. Mr. Askim won the 2002 International Society of Bassists Composition Competition for his “Eight Solitudes” and has been a frequent recitalist for the International Society of Bassists, the Hawaii Contrabass Festival and the World Bass Festival in Wroclaw, Poland.

A dedicated champion of the music of our time, he has premiered numerous works, including works by composers Richard Danielpour, Nico Muhly, Christopher Theofanidis, Pierre Jalbert, Phil Kline, Rufus Reid, Chen Yi, Lawrence Dillon and Bruce Adolphe. He recently conducted the West Coast premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Aaron Jay Kernis’s Viola Concerto, with Paul Neubauer as soloist. He has collaborated with such artists as the Miró String Quartet, ETHEL Matt Haimovitz, Vijay Iyer, Sō Percussion, Melvin Chen, Eugene Drucker, Ian Swensen, Todor Pelev, Tony Arnold, Judith Kellock and John Walz. He conducted the World Premiere of eminent guitarist/ singer/songwriter Richard Thompson’s rock oratorio “Cabaret of Souls” and its European Premiere at Royal Festival Hall, London. He has also received critical praise as a jazz artist in such publications as Jazztimes, the New York Post and New York Newsday.

Mr. Askim studied at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and holds bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from Yale University, where he graduated with Distinction in Music. He also holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin. He studied composition with Dan Welcher, Donald Grantham, Anthony Davis, Jan Radzynski, Syd Hodkinson and David Finko, and double bass with George Rubino, Diana Gannett, Donald Palma, Wolfgang Harrer and Ludwig Streicher.

Testimonials

STUDENTS

“I can’t express how fortunate I feel to have been able to meet and make music with the wonderful and talented musicians at Music Mountain. It was a festival full of the most sincere passion for music, with some of the most gracious and talented musicians I’ve ever met, and all in a very intimate, personal, and supportive environment. It was a week I will never forget.”

– Violinist, Vanderbilt University

“It was a collection of the most wonderful musicians and down-to-earth people. Everyone had the best time.
Everyone worked so hard and all mentioned how Peter’s coaching benefitted them in so many ways: he really changed our way of thinking. The orchestra concert was fantastic, some real music was made – a standing ovation at the end! I’ve left the institute with some lovely new friends, and feeling incredibly motivated and happy.”

– Violinist, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

“I enjoyed the size of the program and the freedom we had at Music Mountain.  Unlike most festivals, which have strict schedules and little time for focus on individual students, this program gave us the chance to practice and refine our skills in new and personalized ways. The size of the institute also gave us the opportunity to really connect with the other musicians.”

– Violinist, Indiana University, Bloomington

“I am a cellist who recently attended the inaugural Institute at Music Mountain. It was a beautiful and successful week, during which I was able to collaborate with Peter Askim, a truly inspiring music director. I wish to express here my unyielding support for him and for his dream to provide a musical haven for aspiring musicians. This is particularly important to me as I have been unable to attend music festivals for several years due to financial constraints. That Peter made it his priority to raise enough funds to provide substantial scholarships to participants is something that I will never take for granted… From performing Schubert’s Cello Quintet to a masterclass with Matt Haimovitz; from working tirelessly with Peter for a week to a culminating performance that kicked off the 2013 season at Music Mountain, it was all a beautiful experience filled with youthful love.

This festival provided me with one of those rare paradigm shifts that illuminates the simple answers to a meaningful life which can so easily be covered up in the muck of daily life. It has re-energized me, reawakened my creativity, and reaffirmed, despite the overwhelming odds against me, why I do what I do.”

– Cellist, Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music

“This last week was very rewarding and an amazing experience. Each day was filled with practicing, coachings, and collaborations with other talented artists. One of the highlights of the Institute was being able to play in a masterclass with Matt Haimovitz. Also, playing in the chamber orchestra and being able to learn and experience music that was unfamiliar and new to me was enjoyable and rewarding. Throughout this last week I was able get musical advice and tips that were much needed and will help me throughout my musical career. This experience was very valuable.”

– Cellist, University of Nevada Las Vegas

“I loved meeting so many wonderful artists, and I look forward to continuing to develop relationships with many who attended.”

-Student who attended the 2018 Festival

COMPOSERS

“The Next Festival is an ideal wellspring for artistic collaboration. What an exemplary learning environment for creative young musicians!”

–Derek Bermel, composer

“The Next Festival holds a unique place in the vastly diversifying field of new music. Peter Askim has a special gift for creating vibrant camaraderie among the most promising young musicians who are on the brink of reshaping the field, while instilling the highest values of professionalism and excellence. The Next Festival, and the community it nurtures, are bringing in a new era of vitality, innovation, passion, curiosity and artistry.”

–Lisa Bielawa, composer

“It was an honor to hear the musicians of the Next Festival of Emerging Artists bring Rest These Hands to life with such skill and sensitivity under the direction of Peter Askim and with soloist Jennifer Koh, for whom I composed the work.”

–Anna Clyne, composer

“Working with the musicians of the NEXT Festival was a joy.  The spirit of the place is warm, friendly, informal, yet serious and reminds us why we make music together.  There was time to ponder and work on every nuance, a rarity these days, and the performances at Music Mountain and in New York City gave the participants the opportunity to play in both a beautiful, rural setting and in a musical urban center.”

–Pierre Jalbert, composer

“Peter Askim and the musicians of the Next Festival of Emerging Artists gave a knock-out performance of my work- I couldn’t have been happier.  The precision and energy they brought to the piece took it to a new level.”

–Christopher Theofanidis, composer

“It was such an extraordinary experience to work with the Next Festival Of Emerging Artists. We did two performances of my World War One piece, Killed In Action, and I was amazed at the quality of musicianship from these young players, and the great skill of Peter Askim in educating, leading and coaxing the best from them. This program truly is a wonderful opportunity for talented string players to reach a little further.”

–Richard Thompson, composer

“It was a great honour for me to be part of the Festival and to work in the quiet beauty of Music Mountain! Peter Askim gives so much of himself to the music and to the young musicians there. His passion and warmth gave everything such meaning. The students really got down to the core of my piece, Offrenes, which means offering. They treated it like a true offering, not thinking of themselves but of the music and what’s behind the music. There were many good technical questions and there was certainly more time than usual to try different approaches and as a result I made a few changes which made the piece a little stronger. The performance at the Poisson Rouge with cellist Jeff Ziegler was spell binding and the music of these young souls on fire is ever deep in my heart!”

–Peter-Anthony Togni, composer

“What makes this festival different from others is the opportunity to dive into both old and new music in an intimate setting, and to work with both living composers and alongside established artists that model how they’ve made their own careers work.  Most importantly, because of the surroundings and the size, they are able to forge meaningful relationships with the emerging artists around them who will eventually become their colleagues.”

-Jessica Meyer, composer and violist

GUEST ARTISTS

“It is extremely rare to find a festival that fosters an environment of hard work and camaraderie while at the same time making contemporary music its primary focus. The Next Festival is an extraordinary home for new music and I encourage all open minded students to come and explore what the future holds!”

–Jeffrey Zeigler, cellist

“Working with Peter and the Next Festival musicians has been a sheer joy!  The players are so eager to learn and share music that resonates with their current lives; and they bring an incredible energy to their performances. I commend Peter for his vision in creating a festival in which emerging artists can be allowed the space to create and collaborate. I’m inspired by what the future holds for classical music.”

–Jennifer Koh, violinist

“The Next Festival of Emerging Artists succeeds, year after year, in providing an excellent professional-calibre festival experience to musicians, composers and choreographers who are building and refining their identity in the contemporary field.  As part of ETHEL’s residency, we partnered with the orchestral performers, discussing improvisation, amplification, instrumental, ensemble and compositional techniques. The performances were thrilling, and many of the relationships continue as longterm mentorships.  The size and setting is perfect for intense communication, and the direction, under Peter Askim, is encouraging, expert and electrifying.  This program will especially benefit those artists who are already motivated to express their unique personalities through their art, providing a range of information, opportunity and exposure beyond the scope of most traditional summer festivals.”

–Dorothy Lawson, cellist and Co-Artistic Director, ETHEL

“Under the inspired leadership of Dr. Peter Askim, The Next Festival of Emerging Artists prepares our finest young artists to be open-eared, fully-expressed musicians in today’s challenging environment. Innovative, groundbreaking programming; world-class guest artists; and a close-knit community of like-minded students and teachers make for a magical – and necessary – addition to the music world’s summer festival options.”

–Ralph Farris, violist and Co-Artistic Director, ETHEL