2012 fresh inc festival Closing Concert Recordings
Ravinia, Bennett Gordon Hall
Saturday, June 16, 2012


Stacy Garrop – Silver Dagger
for violin, cello, and piano


Eugene Astapov – The Sound for an Empty Manuscript
for flute,oboe,clarinet,french horn,bassoon,violin,viola,cello, double bass,and piano


Jason Charney – Ocean Body
for violin, viola, cello, and bass


Max Pankau – Expanse Trio
for flute, french horn, and piano


Viola Yip – Inescapable Resonance
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano


Justino Perez – Trio
for clarinet, violin, and piano


David Rakowski – When the Bow Breaks
for violin


Chelsea Reisner – Driving in the Air
for trumpet, tenor saxophone, and bassoon


Alex Temple – Thick Line
for three or more wind/brass instruments


Sydney Kjerstad – Carried Away
for flute, oboe, and piano


Jesse Limbacher – Dig
for clarinet, violin, cello, alto saxophone, percussion, and piano


Haley Shaw – Bluepiece
for baritone saxophone, percussion, and piano


Andrew Watts – Quatrains
for tenor saxophone, drum kit, and piano

Today we begin with a Skype session with artist manager James Egelhofer, formerly of IMG Artists and currently embarking on a  new adventure with his latest project, First Chair Promotion. He shares with us his perspective from the manager’s chair about how the world of artists and management is shifting, and highlights some examples of artists taking risks on out-of-the-box projects that wouldn’t fit the traditional management mold. Through a creative mix of project management and PR, James’s new venture brings these projects to light, crafting a strategy for funding and promotion that puts them on a path to success.

After lunch, a few of us head off to the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha, where we perform 5HE’s signature show, Music Can Tell a Story. We were delighted by so many smiling faces and raised hands as we guided the kids through a musical poetry reading, instrumental character drawing exercises, and a culminating choose-your-own-adventure storytelling activity in which they craft their own tale based on Brahms’s Hungarian Dance.

Just before dinner, we are joined by visiting composer Augusta Read Thomas, who shared her wisdom, recordings, and scores with us. And, she arrived just in time for Uncle Davy’s birthday! Millie was completely star-struck in her presence!
After another fabulous salon night, it’s off to bed. Intense day of dress rehearsals to prep for the weekend’s performances tomorrow!


fresh inc at rush hour!

Today, we had the distinct pleasure of performing at the amazing Rush Hour Concerts at St. James Cathedral in downtown Chicago. Even Millie couldn’t believe the splendor of the picturesque St. James Cathedral. She couldn’t help herself – she got all lit up!

Before the show, we had a special session with Rush Hour visionary, Deborah Sobol. She contextualized for us the importance of keeping music in our daily lives, and encouraged us all to continue to look around us at the cultural landscape that exists outside of our musical circle for ideas and inspiration. Hearing the way she and her team of indefatigable geniuses created a series that on every level is centered around the needs of a culturally curious, fresh audience to classical music.

As if a live audience of hundreds wasn’t enough, we were also broadcast live on WFMT with host Dennis Moore. Here’s Melissa in the “booth” prepping for the big moment!

As part of the fresh inc application process, one piece was selected for a special prize: a performance at Rush Hour with live broadcast. The winner of this year’s contest was Alex Temple, for the newly composed work Party at the Last Resort.

Also on the program was Paquito d’Rivera’s Aires Tropicales, and a special 8-minute version of Terry Riley’s In C, featuring all fresh inc composers and instrumentalists. What an amazing way to showcase the talent present here tonight!



One of the sessions we looked forward to most happened on day 6 of fresh inc, in which we were joined by graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels, one of 5HE’s favorite collaborators and the mastermind behind our landmark Black Violet series. Millie loves Ezra!

(oh, and hey – if you want to check out Black Violet on your iPad, click here, or check out our album on iTunes!)

Ezra started by showing the complex process behind creating Black Violet, from narrowing down repertoire selection with members of 5HE, to marking emotional cues in the music, and finally laying down narrative and art slides that are triggered in real time.

Then, he challenged us to listen to a short segment of a Mendelssohn piano trio and come up with our own stories, realized either through short theatrical skits, drawn slides, or any other medium we wanted to choose.

The results were hilarious! We had stories of ill-fated lovers, an epic stick-figure chase, a rowdy classroom of first-graders, and more. It was amazing to see how the same piece of music could inspire such different tales, and be heard differently through these multiple lenses.


The afternoon was filled with rehearsals, as always with mixed ensembles containing festival participants and members of 5HE.

Simultaneously, we hold composers’ forums, in which our fresh inc composers present their work and hilarity ensues!

Later that evening, we convened for a rehearsal and informal performance of Terry Riley’s landmark work, In C.

Millie joined us to try out every musical instrument she could get her tentacles on, finishing with her final pose as a sexy lounge singer on the toy piano.

After a quick talk-through and rehearsal, we launch into an hour-long version of Riley’s work, a condensed version of which we’ll perform at Rush Hour Concerts at St. James next week.

It’s day 5, and we start with the usual marathon of rehearsals. Over these two weeks, we rehearse all 24 new works that have been written for the festival, along with many established pieces both new and old. Festival participants join members of 5HE in mixed ensembles for rehearsals and performance, which is our favorite way to make music and learn.

Today’s workshop is on marketing and psychographics, exploring what happens when artists put their audience at the center of their programming. We look at ways to truly understand an audience through survey questions that get at the root of their preferences, buying habits, behaviors, interests, and more. Trying to program for a public that you haven’t reached yet? Create an ideal audience member, give them a name, and create a collage that puts into images their unique interests and personality. Here’s a way in which Honda does that in their recent Civic commercials:


We used Black Violet as a case study for how a psychographic understanding of one’s audience can impact your choices with regards to collaborators, programming, sponsorships, venue selection, and more, all with the idea of creating cohesive experience design.

We then challenge everyone to create their own collages using a(n amazingly heavy) arsenal of magazines and glue sticks.

Next, we’re on to our second salon night, in which we were delighted by solo and chamber works, including works of Philip Glass and fresh inc’s own David Rakowski. What a great way to end the night!

P.S. – who knew you could play a clarinet like this?!?