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The Next Festival Of Emerging Artists Announces Its 2021 Virtual Festival

Additional masterclasses, workshops, and virtual collaborations with guest artists are open to festival fellows.

The Next Festival Of Emerging Artists Announces Its 2021 Virtual Festival

The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, founded in 2013 by Artistic Director Peter Askim, announces the schedule of events and guest artist lineup for its 2021 Virtual Festival, taking place June 8 - July 1, 2021.

This four-week festival of masterclasses, workshops, and virtual collaborations, featuring esteemed guest artists, will take place online. 25 festival fellows - young musicians, composers, and choreographers, ages 20-30 - will attend the full festival, and select events will be free for the general public to attend (see schedule below). Continuing the Festival's initiative providing free programs in response to the pandemic's devastation of the music world, tuition for this year's virtual festival has been waived for fellows. May 25, 2021 is the deadline for fellow applications, which are available at

Festival events will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays each week from June 8 to July 1, and the festival schedule will be organized into the following themes: Business & Entrepreneurship (June 8-10), Social Justice & Activism (June 15-17), Artistry & Musicality (June 22-24), and Multidisciplinary Collaboration (June 29-July 1).

The 2021 guest artists include cellist Seth Parker Woods (University of Chicago); composer Gabriela Lena Frank (Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Arts Academy); violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins (Music Kitchen); composer/violist Jessica Meyer; violist Ashleigh Gordon (Castle of Our Skins); Aizuri Quartet; double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku (Chineke!); violinist David Radzynski (Concertmaster, Israel Philharmonic); hornist/composer Jeff Scott (Imani Winds, Oberlin Conservatory); electroacoustic violist/composer Trevor New; pianist Donna Weng Friedman (Heritage And Harmony); conductor Lina Gonzalez-Granados (Unitas Ensemble); composer Derek Bermel (American Composers Orchestra); choreographer S. Ama Wray (UC Irvine), Jonathan Alsberry (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago); choreographer/filmmaker Darshan Singh Bhuller; director/designer Karin Fong (Imaginary Forces); arts attorney Brian Goldstein; Rebecca Bray, Steve Lambert (the Center for Artistic Activism); social media/marketing consultant Jamie Benson; conductor/composer Peter Askim (Next Festival's Artistic Director); and more. Additional artists offering mentorship and project guidance include percussionist Ross Karre (Artistic Director, International Contemporary Ensemble) and Elaine Grogan Luttrull (founder, Minerva Financial Arts).

Of the four 2021 Next Festival themes, social justice and activism is a key focal point of this year's festival, building upon the Festival's 2020 virtual festival, which responded to the incidents of violence and racism that caused pain and division across the country. The 2020 Festival presented a multiplicity of voices throughout its events, including artists whose activism is an integral part of their artistic identities. Some of the 2020 Next Festival alumni have gone on to found projects in these areas and are coming back to present a panel about them this year, including Sam Zagnit of Bass Players for Black Composers; Ana Luna Uribe of Performers for Change; and Jay Julio of Sound Off: Music for Bail. The panel will be moderated by Seth Parker Woods on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:30pm.

Throughout the Festival, events on Tuesdays and Thursdays include guest artists leading workshops, masterclasses, and virtual collaborations, while Wednesdays are devoted to the Composer/Choreographer Workshop, with faculty composer Derek Bermel and choreographer S. Ama Wray. In this laboratory approach, composers, choreographers, dancers and musicians collaborate to develop a common language and create collaboratively in real time, particularly to leverage technology and digital platforms.

While many panels and performances will be available to the public, the Next Festival offers exclusive opportunities to fellows, with the intention of translating an in-person festival to a virtual platform. Mentorship "office hours" maximize fellows' access to guest artists and create a space for organic conversations and networking, while late night "open mic" sessions provide opportunities for fellows to share works in progress and ideas they are developing.

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