Contemporary Classics at Sac State

Photo from Festival of New American Music website.
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Festival of New American Music

Bach, Beethoven, Brahms—without question those dudes knew how to write good music. But what have they done for us lately? It’s a reach to think there are as-yet-undiscovered manuscripts from those and other long-dead masters.

For fresh classical material, happily, we have something close at hand: the 44th annual (and second-straight virtual) Festival of New American Music at Sacramento State. This year’s celebration of modern compositions and performances starts at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, with pieces by Shawn Okpebholo and concludes exactly one week later when Sacramento State’s choirs take the stage.

All the festival’s performances, which run every day (PDF) but Thursday, Nov. 11, are presented on Facebook and free for any and all viewers.

“Through public concerts, educational events and outreach,” according to a CSUS webpage that includes a link to the Facebook presentations, “the festival serves three principal communities: those of the Sacramento State School of Music; the California State University, Sacramento; and the greater Sacramento region.”

The “gala” concert that launches the festival features Imani Winds, Matthew Even Taylor and Citywater performing Okpebholo’s works.

The festival’s other highlights include composer/improviser and saxophonist Matthew Evan Taylor, who has worked with many award-winning artists, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9; the Grammy-nominated winds quartet Imani Winds, known for its “dynamic playing, adventurous programming, imaginative collaborations and outreach endeavors,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10; and CSUS alumnus Faythe Vollrath, who with other musicians will present works for two, three and even four harpsichords, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.

New—there’s nothing like it, thanks to this gem of a festival. Enjoy!