About the Festival

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.

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 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 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.

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.