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Hoff-Barthelson's Annual Music Festival Features Two World Premieres

Steven Snowden, a renowned composer, premieres “Light List,” during the Contemporary Festival at Hoff-Barthelson.
Steven Snowden, a renowned composer, premieres “Light List,” during the Contemporary Festival at Hoff-Barthelson. Photo Credit: Contributed

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Students at Hoff-Barthelson Music School are getting ready for the 28th annual Festival of Contemporary Music, which will begin on Monday, May 15 in Scarsdale. In addition to a week of musical activities, The Festival will include two world premieres commissioned by the School to be performed by student ensembles.

"Bringing contemporary music to our students is so relevant and important to present day culture," said Peter Seidenberg, Artistic Director of the Festival. "One of the great things about the festival is that all areas of the school participate, from individual students and small ensembles all the way up to the Festival Orchestra."

The world premiere of Adam Birnbaum’s “Sailing” will be performed by one of the School’s advanced jazz ensembles during the “Jazz A to Z” concert on Monday, May 15 at the School beginning at 8:00 pm. A student string quintet will premiere Steven Snowden’s “Light List,” at the Festival’s culminating event on Sunday, May 21, at 7:00 pm at the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation in White Plains.

“The School’s relationship with Steven Snowden is made possible by Copland House, with which Hoff-Barthelson has had a long and mutually beneficial relationship,” says Seidenberg. “Both organizations are devoted to introducing students and audiences to contemporary music and to the nurturing and development of emerging composers.”

A key component of the Contemporary Festival is the HB Compose Yourself! Project, a rare opportunity for students to interact with and receive feedback on compositions that they wrote at a master class with renowned, award-winning composers. The 2017 guest composers are Louise Beach and Gregg Kallor. Works created for this project will be performed on the HB Compose Yourself! Project Recital, on Saturday, May 20 at 6:00 pm. A second event, Younger Composers’ Workshop Recital, presents works by the School’s very youngest composers and takes place on Monday, May 15 at 6:15 pm. Both performances are held at the School.

"Most students work on music that is 100 or 200 years old. The Contemporary Music Festival, enables students to experience the immediacy of music being composed today,” said Seidenberg.

In addition to the premiere of Steven Snowden’s string quintet, the Festival’s culminating concert will include performances by the School’s Chamber Choir, Cello Faculty and Festival Orchestra. Admission is a suggested donation of $15 and free of charge for students. All events held at the School are free of charge.

“The Contemporary Festival is one of the most exciting, creative events of the school year here at Hoff-Barthelson,” said Executive Director Ken Cole. “We welcome everyone to join us for this dynamic celebration of new music!”

For more information about the Festival of Contemporary Music, visit the HBMS website.