Fellows from past Festivals share their experiences:

Bang on a Can is paradise for the misfits and dreamers like me who love new music and thrive in community. The faculty are world-class and treat us as equals, the staff is professional and attentive, the venue is second-to-none, and the scenery is beautiful. I will treasure the memories of my experience for my entire life.  

It was like a musical cleansing for me. I feel rejuvenated about the potential for the path I’m on and the future of contemporary music. I am very thankful for the people that this festival connected me with, and I hope to stay in touch and work together on various projects in the months and years to come! It was refreshing to interact with people and musicians who have such a positive outlook and open mind about different ideas. Because I moved to NYC immediately after this festival for grad school, it was a particularly good time for me to be at BoAC, and I hope to continue to cultivate the connections I made there.  

I definitely feel more confident in myself, more aware of the music that is all around me, and more inspired to go out and create something for myself to share with others. I have always felt like my creative side was not nourished growing up in a traditional classical music environment, and now I feel it exploding out of every cell in my body. Being around other musicians that are searching for something was so inspiring and I feel like something inside of me has permanently changed from the experience. So grateful for the experience!!   

It was really important for me to come to the festival, & I really feel like I got a lot out of it. Met lots of great new people, heard music I never listened to before, and will come away with a great recording of a big new piece. Beyond that, I’m glad to be joining the ‘family,’ as it were—Bang has been such an influence on my life as a musical citizen, and I’ve found the festival to be equally inspiring musically and community-wise. I’ve wanted to attend the BoaC summer institute since I was about 16; my expectations, five years later, have been so vastly exceeded. I can’t express how much fun and how inspiring the past 3 weeks at the festival have been. Learning from one’s peers is incredibly important to me, and I felt that a small, temporary, but close-knit community developed at MASS MoCA for the duration, fostering a really wonderful exchange of ideas about music, and visual art too. Being around the museum every day has been great—the art on display this year is really astounding and thought-provoking. I will miss everybody here dearly, but look forward to our musical paths crossing as our careers go forward. -

At the Bang on a Can summer festival I experienced exciting, innovative music of the highest quality in a community whose boundlessness, joy, and sharing spirit I didn’t really know actually existed anywhere. I would have been heartbroken to leave Mass MoCA, but everything I learned there gave me tools to make this magical community a reality in my everyday life, and I feel I can continue to count all of the fellows and faculty as friends and inspiring collaborators.  

I’ve spent a ton of time reflecting on my personal ideas / feelings about music. It is powerful to witness the effects of a festival built on support, open-mindedness, and positivity. Watching the faculty perform countless times was inspiring, most so with the common approach of just going for it. Much of the ideas I’ll be incorporating into my teaching and performing.
Bang on a Can kicked my ass and it was amazing. I’m going to be processing this experience for a very long time.  


The Bang on a Can festival was a musically and personally enriching experience. The atmosphere that has been created there is not simply a result of hard work; it is a very special blend of the right people with the best of intentions for music and the world it inhabits. I feel privileged to have had this immersion in that energy and hope to take it with me wherever I go in the future. 

Bang on a Can has changed my life. I never thought it would be possible to find a community that is devoted to new music with such a high caliber of musicianship, such enthusiasm and mutual supportiveness, and such a sense of joy for everything we do. I know I'll be looking to recreate this feeling in my future collaborations, always.

I've never had such an eye-opening perspective on music as the one I had at Banglewood. This festival has changed the way I think of music, the way I listen to music and the way I make music. More importantly, I made some great friends from all over the world, learned the most I've ever learned and had the most fun I've ever had!

Completely renewed my ideas of what it means to be a composer who is active in their community. Also secured a lot of my beliefs on how that can be done. I don't remember the last time I had so many ideas that were actually GOOD. I have commissions now. I have pieces that I can't wait to write because I know they will be handled with care and shown respect. Being around that many good people who are that passionate about new music is enough to keep me going for quite a while. I'm going to start taking flute lessons so I can record my own stuff and hopefully come back as a performer sometime soon!

Prior to the festival, I was already planning to move to NYC this Fall to study contemporary music, hoping to find a way into the greater new music community in the city (as well as finding a way to make money at the same time). However, I wasn't entirely certain if this was what I really wanted to do, or if I was just doing something to kill time until I had a better idea. Since the festival, I am much more focused on this goal. I'm excited to be moving, excited to be trying to do what I'm trying to do, and I feel much more confident that I either have or can develop the skills to survive as a musical and professional human being in this environment.

Bang on a Can was by far the best summer festival I have ever experienced. I have attended several other festivals both in Europe and the U.S and have never been so impressed by the faculty, the students, the music, and the overall welcoming environment that I found at BoaC. I feel that I learned so much and this undoubtedly has influenced my understanding of and approach to music. I found the fellow participants to be so open, interested, and talented at playing new music. The faculty and participants together exuded a high level of excitement about new music, or rather, the future of new music, that was incredibly inspiring. This was truly a special experience, and I am so grateful to have had it.

I have been attending summer music festivals every summer since I was 12 years old. This is the only festival to which I will reapply. I felt blessed to be in such a supportive, stimulating, creative environment, surrounded by fantastic musicians. I didn't want it to end. Being at this festival this summer helped me answer a lot of questions about which path within the music world I want to pursue. Thanks a lot to everyone who made this festival happenóand for having the idea of a new music festival in the first place. This festival is doing wonders for creating a cohesive new music community for our generation.

The two weeks this summer were so fabulous. Not only were there so many incredible opportunities, but it was very inspiring. Often when I think about my prospects as a professional musician, I get depressed pretty quickly...But the summer institute made me re-think things, and I've got a much more positive outlook on things now. Most of all, it was a wonderful community. At last, I could be with my kind of people, you know? What a relief. The music-making, the discussions, and the late-night antics in the dorm all made me feel like a part of an incredible family. MASS MoCA was the perfect atmosphere - I was very inspired by my surroundings, and was thankful for the opportunity to be art for two weeks. So, anyway, three cheers for the summer festival! Hooray!

I had one of the most enjoyable musical experiences of recent memory; I left feeling energized, encouraged, and inspired. Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to do something we passionately love for almost 3 weeks straight.

The BoaC Summer Festival was a truly inspirational experience, and everyone involved with it was wonderful. From the MASS MoCA staff, to the faculty and fellows, it seemed that everyone was excited to be creating music together, and there was a very strong sense of family.