The Albany Symphony Orchestra kicks off its annual, four-day American Music Festival today (Thursday, May 17), showcasing contemporary and new music by such acclaimed composers as Michael Daugherty, Aaron Jay Kernis, Missy Mazzoli and Joan Tower; with such renowned guest artists as violinist Cho-Liang Lin and soprano Talise Trevigne; and performances by such bands as Mazzoli’s post-rock group Victoire and the Albany Symphony’s own genre-busting new music ensemble, Dogs of Desire.
At 7:30pm tonight (Thursday, May 17), the all-star, all-female quintet Victoire performs at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. Founded by Albany Symphony composer-in-residence Missy Mazzoli, the fivesome blends dreamy post- rock, quirky minimalism and rich romanticism. Their debut album, “Cathedral City,” was named one of 2010’s best classical albums by The New York Times, The New Yorker and NPR. Tix are $15.
At 7:30pm on Friday (May 18), Dogs of Desire celebrate their 20th anniversary with a concert at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, featuring several world premieres, many of which include elements of dance and the visual arts. Founded by ASO’s David Alan Miller in 1992, the adventurous Dogs combine the virtuosity of a classical chamber ensemble with the power and punch of a rock band. Tix are $20.
At 7:30pm on Saturday (May 19), ASO presents its Festival Concert, the centerpiece of the American Music Festival. This concert showcases compositions by Michael Daugherty, Joan Tower and Aaron Jay Kernis, as well as the world premiere of Mizzy Mazzoli’s “Holy Roller.” Joining ASO in concert at EMPAC at RPI will be the sensational soprano Talise Trevigne and violinist Cho-Liang Lin. Tix are $19 & $32.
And wrapping up the four-day fest at 7:30pm on Sunday, (May 20), the American Music Festival shifts to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy for “If These Walls Could Sing: Celebrating the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.” The performance will feature eight newly commissioned works by young composers, all celebrating the grand legacy of one of the world’s great concert halls. The concert will feature solo, chamber and large ensemble works all played throughout the hall, including the balconies and the lobbies, as well as on the stage. The concert will include a “behind the scenes” tour of this architectural and cultural treasure. In addition, the concert will feature a world-premier performance by the Doyle Middle School Band and Chorus of a work co-composed with Missy Mazzoli. Tix are $20.
David Alan Miller and other AMF guest artists will also offer a free pre-performance talk at 12noon on Friday (May 18) at the Albany Public Library and again at 6:30pm on Saturday (May 19) at EMPAC at RPI in Troy.
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2012:
GottaGetGon @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa, 5/25-27/12
Mountain Jam @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, 5/31-6/1/12
Art on Lark @ Lark Street, Albany, 6/9/12, FREE
The Old Songs Festival @ Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, 6/22-24/12
Friehofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, 6/30-7/1/12
CountryFest @ the Times Union Center, Albany, 7/7/12
Scream It Like You Mean It @ Northern Lights, Clifton Park, 7/8/12
Shockwave Festival @ Northern Lights, Clifton Park, 7/20/12
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, 7/31/12
SAWFest Music Festival @ Salem Art Works, Salem, 8/18/12
FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/21-23/12