The Summer Festival is an intense, visceral, hands-on immersion in contemporary music.

Every weekday includes a one-hour movement class followed by a special-projects seminar in which all fellows participate. Past special projects have included Ghanaian drumming and dance, Cuban jazz workshops, improvisation through "soundpainting" led by Todd Reynolds, and more. This is followed by two 2-hour sessions (divided by lunch) for ensemble rehearsals. Composers meet daily for a 2 hour seminar. There are rehearsal spaces available in the evenings from 7-10 for open use. Evening activities include seminars by our guest composers and performers, BBQs, softball games, and other fieldtrips and events.

SAMPLE WEEKDAY SCHEDULE (subject to change)

  • 9–10 Morning Movement
  • 10–11 special-projects seminars
  • 11–1 Rehearsal
  • 1–2:30 Lunch/recitals
  • 2:30–4:30 Rehearsals/composer seminars
  • 4:30–5:30 Recital in gallery
  • 6pm Dinner
  • 7pm private practice, evening seminars, etc.

Performances

Every day except Sundays, fellows and faculty give performances in the museum galleries.

At lunchtime, we offer informal performance opportunities in the gallery spaces. Musicians can choose whichever gallery they would like to perform in and may present either composed or improvised works. The pieces can be solo or ensemble works for instruments, voice, or other creative music devices as long as tech set up is limited. The informal lunchtime recitals are a great opportunity for instrumentalists to display their compositional prowess and composers to display their instrumental chops.

In the late afternoons, we hold more structured recitals in the galleries that include post-performance discussion forums. During the first two weeks of the residency, these recitals serve as showcases for the performance faculty. For the last week, the afternoon recitals feature the world premieres of the new works composed especially for the Festival by the composition fellows and performed by the Festival ensembles! The gallery recitals are free with museum admission. There are also free concerts in the surrounding community, including at the local state park and in town.

In addition, there are two major Saturday concerts held in the Hunter Auditorium, MASS MoCA's main performance space. The first concert features the Bang on a Can All-Stars with special guests. The second, held on the last day of the Festival, is the Summer Marathon Concert, a six-hour blowout event featuring performances by the Festival ensembles.

Festival performance schedule will be posted in the spring. You can view last year's performance schedule here.

Questions? Email Program Manager Philippa Thompson at philippa [at] bangonacan.org