New Music Gathering 2021, co-presented by American Composers Forum, New Music USA will be in Downtown St. Paul, Minnesota on August 12-14, as well as online from August 12-18.
Our theme this year is "Money?" - and yes we mean that question mark! Given the economic uncertainty of the arts right now, by naming this theme we invite our applicants to raise questions, offer suggestions, and share experiences that help us sustainably reimagine our creative community together!
To register for NMG2021, visit our passes page!
To view a full schedule of NMG2021 events with location info, visit our schedule page!
Below, find info on the wonderful folks who will make up NMG2021!
WE'RE SO PROUD
TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE
NMG 2021 KEYNOTE SPEAKER!
Garrett McQueen is a bassoonist who has performed with orchestras across the country, including the Knoxville Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Today, Garrett works as a producer of digital and broadcast media, with content featured on the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and local public radio stations across the country. In 2017, Current named McQueen a Black talent in public media “that you may not know, but should,” and in 2021 the New York Times noted his weekly podcast, TRILLOQUY, as "a standout" that's "required listening for industry leaders and listeners alike.” In addition to working as the Executive Producer and co-host of the TRILLOQUY podcast, Garrett works as an equity consultant, guest speaker, curator and presenter at the intersection of race and "classical" music. He serves on the board of the American Composers Forum as the Equity Committee Chair, and is on the leadership teams of the Black Opera Alliance, the Gateways Music Festival, and the International Society for Black Musicians.
For more info, check out: http://www.garrettmcqueen.com
WE'RE SO PROUD
TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE
NMG 2021 HEADLINERS!
Queen Drea, recipient of a 2017 American Composers Forum Minnesota Emerging Composer Award, is a vocalist, performance, and soundscape artist whose pieces are often conceived under the auspices of improvisational settings which is where she thrives most. This gives her the freedom to enhance each piece as she is moved by the audience and as they are moved by her music, soundscapes and poetry, creating a symbiotic relationship between Drea and her audience.
Queen Drea has created work about depression in the Black community, the loss of Black men’s lives in America, and an Afro-Futurist operetta “From Black Wombs” about two sisters who have lost their parents in the revolutionary war against white supremacy. She has been commissioned to compose soundscapes for Ananya Dance Theatre and Black Label Movement, sound design for Penumbra Theatre’s production of “For Colored Girls”, as well as Pillsbury House Theater’s “Great Divide” 3 and 4. Queen Drea is a 2019 ASHE Lab Fellow with Penumbra Theater, a 2020 Naked Stages Fellow with Pillsbury House Theater, and 2021 Jerome Fellow Finalist.
“I have been investigating some thoughts on Black Love and how it is strong enough to withstand being denied. Acknowledging that the way we came to this country and the way our families were separated in the name of capitalism is the reason why we are separated now. Acknowledging the pain of this reality. Acknowledging the beauty of this reality. Acknowledging Black Love in its many forms and expressing this love through my art.” –Queen Drea
For more info, check out:
[photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaff]
Recap is a new percussion quartet from a new generation of musicians dedicated to music reflecting the diverse society we live in today. Arlene Acevedo, Alexis Carter, Tiahna Sterling and Aline Vasquez, four musicians from Rahway, NJ, forms Recap through music, friendship and a desire to share their unique story. As recent alumni of Mantra Youth Percussion, the free-tuition teenage ensemble of Mantra Percussion, Inc., the members of Recap worked closely for several years with different music creators, performing both in their community as well as nationally, learning skills that would provide the groundwork for establishing their own group.
Now as a newly-formed professional ensemble, Recap headlines the 2021 New Music Gathering in Minneapolis, MN and releases their debut album “Count to Five” on Innova Recordings with premiere recordings of music by Angelica Negron, Allison Loggins-Hull, Ellen Reid, Lesley Flanigan, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Caroline Shaw. Recap will showcase select pieces from the album at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, IN in November 2021, continuing with winter and spring 2022 dates across the country.
In July 2022, Recap will embark on a tour in the Kenai Peninsula and Alaskan Beringia regions to perform a work created through interdisciplinary artistic collaborations with indigineous artists that address the cultural, economic, and environmental challenges faced by the Alaskan Beringia region while celebrating its incredible cultural and biological diversity and natural beauty. This project is in collaboration with Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation, The Wildshore Festival for New Music, with financial support provided by the National Parks Service.
Turning Jewels Into Water
The world we live in is made up of many diasporas, with each one bringing their own rich and unique cultural experiences to the music, art and culture that they create. Today, musicians around the world use technology, history and tradition, to find ways in which to create work that has global appeal, and a sense of adventure while retaining its sense of cultural authenticity.
Unfortunately, when many people think of global/world music, the phrase conjures images of soccer moms in line at Starbucks to pick up the latest Putumayo compilation CD. For the duo Turning Jewels Into Water, Hatian-born drummer, DJ, educator and electronic music artist Val Jeanty and Indian-born drummer, composer and educator Ravish Momin, make music that comes out of the deep reservoir of their respective cultural experiences, and flies in the face of mainstream assumptions about global music. As a solo artist, Jeanty is known as a leading creative mind in the space of experimental electronics. Melding cutting edge electronic percussion with adventurous sound design, Jeanty’s work reveals and explores the spiritual implications of experimental electronic music. Tapping into the impossibly deep and old tradition of Vodou, Jeanty’s music is infused with spiritual fire and a rich, healing energy. Ravish Momin has a similarly open-minded approach to experimentation, but comes from a completely different cultural context. A respected composer and improviser in the Jazz, experimental and traditional Indian folk music idioms, Momin’s fusion of beats banged out on live drum kits, and loops twisted and processed in Ableton live attack the senses, lending to an ecstatic sound like nothing else in music.
As a collaborative project, Turning Jewels Into Water began when Val Jeanty participated in a jam session at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY while Momin was artist-in-residence there in September of 2017. Their collaboration, rooted in improvisation, evokes the esoteric realms of the creative subconscious. Drawing from the Vodun religion, Val recreates the ancient rhythms and pulse of Haiti through digital beats, while Momin, whose own musical background is rooted Indian, North African and Middle-Eastern traditions, has developed an original blend of electro-acoustic beats, drawing together the improvisational traditions in Jazz and Indian folk music. Together, they employ cutting-edge music-technological tools such as acoustic drums outfitted with Sensory Percussion triggers, Force Sensing Resistor (FSR) drum pads and Smart Fabric MIDI Controllers, but still emphasize the ritual aspects of creating music in the digital realm.
For Our Reflection Adorned By Newly Formed Stars, the follow up to their 2019 full-length Map Of Absences, Momin and Jeanty take their dynamic musical partnership to even greater heights and more intense depths. Imbued with the spirit of collaboration and influenced by cutting-edge sounds like South African Gqom, Our Reflection…reaches across oceans and continents, connecting the ancient with the modern. Opening with the dark and pulsing epic, “Swirl In The Waters”, the album immediately sets a sacred tone, preparing listeners for a journey into the unknown. “Flower In Flames” brings to mind the bass-heavy, globally-minded experimentalism of artists like WE™, Badawi and Bill Laswell who were active in New York’s illbient scene of the mid-late 90s. “Whispers Under Dal Lake” combines crunchy, distorted drumming with dubbed-out vocal effects to create a truly dark and mesmerizing sonic experience. Like much of the music on Our Reflection Adorned By Newly Formed Stars, “Whispers Under Dal Lake”, seems to be utilizing electronic beats and conjuring textures to pull from a set of much older musical traditions. “Janjira In A Flash” finds the duo constructing a series of rhythmic motifs that beat against chanted vocal samples and synths that dash in and out of focus. With hypnotic rhythmic groove and robotic vener, “Janjira In A Flash” could cause the listener to imagine what Computer World-era Kraftwerk would sound like if their music prioritized Afro-Asian influences over European experimentation and minimalism.
Speaking to the collaborative approach they took to making the album, Momin explains that he and Jeanty lead an ensemble of musicians from around the world, with the end product being a challenge to the ethnic fetishizing that far-too commonly comes along with global/world music.
“During the album planning phase, which began in early March 2020, I had already tapped artists in other locations for remote contributions to the record. I’d approached Iranian singer/daf player Kamyar Arsani (based in Washington DC) who is just as comfortable with Punk Rock as he is with traditional Iranian music. I also invited my friend Mpho Molikeng, a master musician of South African indigenous instruments (based in Lesotho) who also works with electronic musicians. Val had already set up a base in Boston (for her newly appointed position as a professor at Berklee College of Music) and was also planning on collaborating remotely. Therefore, once mandatory quarantines went into effect across the US and the world in mid March, it had little impact on our creative process. The resulting album has elements that are at once familiar and unfamiliar, as we evoke a digital folk music from nowhere.”
With Our Reflection Adorned By Newly Formed Stars, Turning Jewels Into Water uses forward-thinking electronic music and experimentation to tap into a continuum of folk music that is as old as time itself. Also, containing remixes from Laughing Ears (“Crushing Petals”), and EMB (“Flower In Flames”), the music here is Indian, African, Afro-Caribbean and global all at once. By combining their unique cultural experiences Jeanty and Momin are bold enough to allow all of the tensions and commonalities to play freely and resolve themselves in the music.
For more info, check out:
WE'RE SO PROUD
TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE
NMG 2021 PARTICIPANTS!
WE'RE SO PROUD
TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE
NMG 2021 PROPOSAL REVIEW PANEL!
Angélica Negrón is a Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist who writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys, and electronics as well as for chamber ensembles, orchestras, and choir. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2) while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise” and her “quirky approach to scoring”. Negrón has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, and the NY Botanical Garden, among others. Upcoming premieres include works for the LA Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Girls Chorus, and NY Philharmonic Project 19 initiative.
For more info, check out: http://angelicanegron.com
Armando Castellano is a French horn player, bilingual teaching artist, and arts advocate based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder, director and hornist of Quinteto Latino whose mission is to disrupt racial and economic disparities within the classical music field by championing the contributions of Latinos in the U.S. Armando is a master teaching artist providing bilingual residency services and trainings to students and educators nationally. His equity work is far reaching and tireless, giving talks and consulting on race equity in classical music, culturally relevant arts education and cultural expression in the arts.
For more info, check out: https://quintetolatino.org/armando-castellano/
Elena Moon Park
Elena Moon Park is a multi-instrumentalist and a co-director of the Brooklyn-based arts nonprofit Found Sound Nation, which uses collaborative music-making to connect people across cultural divides. Found Sound Nation's most prominent program is a global music diplomacy program called OneBeat, which brings together sonic changemakers from around the world each year for a month of collaborative creation, performances and workshops. Elena also makes music for kids and families, specializing in reimagined folk and children's music from East Asia.
For more info, check out: http://elenamoonpark.com
Garrett McQueen is a bassoonist who has performed as a member of the South Arkansas Symphony, Jackson Symphony, American Youth Symphony, Memphis Repertory Orchestra, the Eroica Ensemble, and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. He’s spoken on diversity and equity panels presented by the Gateways Music Festival, the Sphinx Organization, the Kennedy Center's Shift Festival and others. In addition to working as Executive Producer and co-host of the TRILLOQUY podcast, Garrett collaborates with arts organizations as an equity consultant, guest speaker, and curator, and serves on the board of the American Composers Forum as Equity Committee Chair.
For more info, check out: http://garrettmcqueen.com
Jascha Narveson was raised in a concert hall in Southern Ontario and put to sleep as a child with an old vinyl copy of the Bell Labs mainframe computer singing "Bicycle Built for Two." He now makes music for people, machines, and interesting combinations of people and machines.
For more info, check out: http://jaschanarveson.com
Mary Kouyoumdjian is a first generation Armenian-American composer and documentarian whose work often integrates interviews with resilient individuals and field recordings which aim to invite empathy by humanizing complex experiences around social and political conflict. She has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, Roomful of Teeth, OPERA America, Beth Morrison Projects, and American Composers Forum among others. Kouyoumdjian is a cofounder of New Music Gathering, on faculty at Brooklyn College and The New School, and is proud to have her music published on Schott’s PSNY.
For more info, check out: http://marykouyoumdjian.com
We're so thrilled to be located in Downtown St. Paul for all NMG2021 Events!
New Music Gathering 2021 is supported by the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, as part of its #WelcomeBackStPL campaign to safely celebrate reopening and welcome people back downtown. From outdoor trivia and art installations to pop-up events and concerts, the Downtown Alliance is partnering with downtown institutions, businesses, artists, and musicians to host more than 300 events and activations through the fall. Follow the Downtown Alliance on Facebook and Instagram or check out the hashtag #WelcomeBackStPL for updates.
For the full calendar of events, visit http://WelcomeBackStPL.com