I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a composer at the 2019 Fresh Inc Festival in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was a whirlwind of two weeks, but I learned so much and had a blast in the process. In this post, I’ll be going over all of the experiences I had, everything I learned and what upcoming collaborations came out of it!

Photo by Fifth House Ensemble

The two-week festival, run by Fifth House Ensemble, was filled with helpful workshops and advising appointments. I got to learn more about marketing myself as a composer, the business side of being an artist, public speaking, and lots about composer-specific issues like self-publishing, ASCAP/BMI and dealing with imposter syndrome.

In addition, I had helpful advising appointments with Dan Visconti and Melissa Ngan. These gave me so much clarity in terms of the next steps I need to take as a composer and in my career as well as how to go about doing so. I also had group lessons with Julia Adolphe and Derek Bermel, who gave me lots of great feedback on my music and my aspirations as a composer.

Photo by Fifth House Ensemble

In preparation for the festival, each composer wrote a piece for a given instrumentation. Each ensemble comprised of a mix of participants and Fifth House Ensemble members. I spent most of March and April writing a piece for wind sextet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano) and conductor. Titled “Three Miniatures,” the work approaches the theme of identity in that it represents how different aspects of our personalities can come out in different situations.

The piece had its premiere this past Saturday night at Constellation in Chicago. Pictures and recording to come!

In addition, I had another performance of my flute duet, Epilogue for Two Flutes, last Monday on a private salon concert. Both of these performances required introducing each piece and putting those new public speaking skills to work. It was certainly an experience, but it made me MUCH more comfortable speaking in front of crowds at performances and talking about my music in general!

Photo by Fifth House Ensemble

Perhaps the most important part of the festival, however, was all of the connections I made. In addition to connecting with the faculty and the guest composers, I made great friends with many of the other participants. In fact, we already have a group chat with all of the composers from the festival as a way to stay in touch, which will be an awesome resource whenever I need any advice.

I also have some upcoming collaborations that have come from friendships I’ve made at the festival. I am starting work on a solo clarinet piece, after which I plan on writing a solo horn piece, a trio for clarinet, bass and piano, and possibly a brass quintet. I will certainly keep you updated on all of these collaborations and when they will be performed!

All in all, I had an amazing time at the festival the past two weeks, and I was sad to leave. However, I’m excited to start work on my new collaborations and all of the next steps I plan to take in my career!

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