Contemporary sounds

American Music Festival exposes listeners to modern-day composers

Albany Symphony Orchestra’s American Music Festival features music by modern-day composers.

Albany Symphony Orchestra’s American Music Festival features music by modern-day composers.

Can you imagine enjoying a sandwich with Ludwig Van Beethoven or listening on with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as they rehearse “The Magic Flute”? Unfortunately it’s about 200 years too late for that, but now is your chance to interact with some of tomorrow’s greatest composers.


• What: American Music Festival

• When: May 15-17

• Where: EMPAC, 110 Eighth St., Troy

• How much: Ticket prices vary, some events are free

• Info: 694-3300 or www.albanysymphon...

“All day, composers, musicians and music lovers hang out at RPI and EMPAC,” said David Alan Miller, conductor of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

Miller is referring to the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming American Music Festival, a celebration of today’s composers. Miller likes to think of the festival as a way to demystify the process of music making and encourages the public to be a part of the magic.

“There are about 25 composers involved in the festival from all over the country,” he said. “They hang out with us for most of the week. I encourage everyone to come to open rehearsal … or have a sandwich at lunchtime at the cafe in EMPAC.”

The event, now in its 14th year, is a three-day festival that culminates the ASO season. Attendees will be able to interact with living composers and watch them rehearse, see what goes on behind the scenes and be part of a full orchestra performance on Saturday evening.

During the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s season, which spans nine weekends between September and May, the orchestra is known for combining music from both old and new composers. This festival is all about the new, something Miller is well-known for, having recently won a Grammy Award in January for his Naxos recording of John Corigliano’s “Conjurer” with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and Dame Evelyn Glennie.

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