Monday, October 17, 2011

SONiC Festival

The SONiC Festival is a new music festival currently happening in New York City. It began on October 14 and its last performance will be on October 22. Two reviews in The New York Times of concert from the Sonic Festival directed me to research the festival itself. The Sonic Festival's distinguishing factor is that all of the music performed is written by composers who are now 40 years old or younger. The festival's co-curators, composer Derek Bermel and pianist Stephen Gosling, claim that their intention is to increase awareness of new music, especially that written in the 21st century. Bermel remarks that the festival is designed "to present a snapshot of the younger generation of music-makers, to showcase the richness, vitality, and diversity of the music being created right now – under our very noses here in New York and throughout the world" and also "to show everyone that ‘the composer’ is alive and thriving" (

For the most part, the composers and performers in the festival are classically-trained. Some of the works involve genre-crossing elements, electronic effects, or inclusions of non-musical material (such as Mayke Nas's "DiGit #2" which includes choreography for the performers, described in this article), but all are written and performed from a classical orientation. Many of the chamber ensembles performing in the festival formed as students at leading conservatories. Interestingly, one of the performers is the MacArthur Fellow Francisco Núñez's Young People's Chorus of New York City. The SONiC Festival's website contains detailed information on all the featured artists and composers, as well as some audio clips from performances.

Links to the two New York Times SONiC Festival concert reviews:
"A Chemistry of Fresh Enthusiasms" by Steve Smith, October 17 2011

"This Century's Sounds, So Far" by Anthony Tommasini, October 16 2011

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