“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

“The Next Festival was a rare chance for me to work with a team of talented string players who are not only skilled at playing the notes, but are wholistic, open-minded musicians, welcoming opportunities for improvisation and internalizing the goals of the music. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to record in the amazing Reservoir Studios and for the opportunity to experiment in my piece. The choreographer collaboration was a really exciting opportunity to cultivate ideas that could only emerge in that special, collaborative setting. Huge thanks to everyone involved!”
-Nate May, composer

Guest Artists

“Led by the passionately dedicated Peter Askim, Next Fest is unique and very special among summer programs that nurture young artists, with its focus on new music and close collaboration. With its combination of rural and city settings, new and old music, concerts and dance collaborations, recordings and performances, it really packs everything into a few weeks! I think its convivial but industrious vibe is ideal for delving into new music, developing ideas, and taking the initiative in programming and playing chamber music.”
–Miranda Cuckson, violinist, 2019 guest artist

“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


I had a wonderful experience at the Next Festival. For a composer in the early stages of building a career, the composer workshop was a fantastic opportunity to meet and work with musicians, try out ideas, and take risks. Getting to record a piece for string orchestra in a professional studio was huge, and the feedback from Peter,  Aaron, and the musicians provided me with invaluable insight that I have no doubt will have a lasting effect on my compositional process. Working with the dancers and choreographers was almost entirely new for me and opened up doors to artistic exploration that I hadn’t before considered. The whole experience spurred a sort of creative leveling-up for me that I know will have a positive impact on my career as a composer.
~Composer-Choreographer Workshop participant

“My experience at the NEXT Festival of Emerging Artists alongside the members of my string quartet has been wonderful and energizing. Having dedicated time to spend together to rehearse as well as to be given our own practice space was really great for us. We did not have to worry about meals, and mundane daily stresses of every life, because everything was organized for us to focus only on music. As a recent graduate student, it has been difficult to find a balance between working and pursuing passion projects/ finding time to dedicate on music only. Attending the NEXT Festival has given me time to recharge and grow as a musician, as well as invaluable meetings with new colleagues and friends. At this festival, I was surrounded by musicians equally as passionate as I am about the future of new music, and it has given me a lot of clarity on the future of performance practice.”
–Cellist, Civic Orchestra of Chicago

“The music we played in the orchestra was all challenging, diverse, and immensely interesting…With the National Sawdust concert, a recording session of new works, a house concert, and a three day dancer-composer-musician workshop, I was challenged to continually provide quality creative sound for different avenues of expression. So many of my own ideas are finding new inspiration from the events of this festival. I am going to challenge myself to foster a community of diverse musicians and find new opportunities for expression in whatever form that may emerge. It will take hard work, but I learned a great deal about flexibility, work ethic, and living a productive mindset through this festival.”
–Violinist, University of Colorado Boulder College of Music

“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 festival 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 festival 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 festival 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

“Over the course of those two summers I was part of a group that gave several world premieres of new works and performed in some of New York City’s most cutting edge performance venues.  I especially enjoyed the individual instruction I was able to have with Peter. Working with him has pushed me to explore the boundaries with what is possible with my instrument and to treat every performance with the highest artistic standards.”
–Double Bassist, Yale University