About the Festival

Since 2012, Fresh Inc has helped performers, composers, and pre-formed ensembles to envision and launch their own authentic careers in music, rooted in adventurous genre-defying collaboration, entrepreneurial thinking, and meaningful partnerships with audiences and community.

We know we’ve all been dealt a lot in the past few weeks, and that all of us in the arts are figuring out what our new normal looks like. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 15-year history here at Fifth House Ensemble, it’s that our strength as artists is the way we engage our creativity and flexibility in times like these.

In that spirit, we’re re-imagining our format for Fresh Inc 2020. Here’s what’s new:

We’re moving online!  Our 2020 festival will be pivoting to a digitally-connected experience, creating robust opportunities for participants to interact with each other, our fantastic roster of guest presenters and composition faculty, the members of 5HE, and a wide-reaching digital audience through a variety of livestreaming and conferencing platforms.

Every year, participants:

  • Receive a comprehensive curriculum of 25+ workshops that foster experimental thinking and provide you with the entrepreneurial skills to sustain a fulfilling life in the arts
  • Add photos and performance videos to their artistic portfolio
  • Premiere 24 new works of chamber music developed during the festival alongside established repertoire
  • Composers write a piece for assigned instrumentation that will be premiered at the festival – performers are a mix of students and 5HE artists or a pre-formed ensemble
  • Design and present performance experiences for audiences of all types side-by-side with Fifth House Ensemble
  • Receive one-on-one mentorship and instruction with instrumental and composition faculty. Composers will receive one private lesson and one coaching with Dan Visconti and one additional private lesson with a guest composer
  • Become a part of Fresh Inc’s creative community, sustaining relationships with an active and evolving network of cultural change makers whose work continuously reinvents the role of the musician to bring about a connected world

So what’s new? This year’s festival includes:

  • Digital premieres – Artists nationwide are looking for ways to continue to collaborate, create, and share music even in a time of social distancing. This year, we’re asking our festival composers to write new works that can be presented in a livestream premiere format this June. We’re amazed with the ideas we’ve received so far, ranging from works that can be pre-recorded separately in parts to experimental pieces that take advantage of networks, latency, and digital platforms in their construction. All works will be premiered on the final days of the festival.
  • Livestreamed performances – Each year, we reach audiences of every age through performances in spaces both traditional and unexpected. Livestreamed events will range from digital showcases, to informal salons and educational events. Stay tuned for more details!
  • New content – Artists across the country are challenged to bring their work to audiences in new ways via digital platforms. We’re going to bring you tools for taking your work online through recording, streaming, and virtual collaboration.
  • Extended timelines – We’ll be supporting participants and their work over a longer span of time. We’ve started with an early roll-out of session material, lessons, and workshops before the festival, and we’ll create more opportunities to stay connected over the next year.
  • The Digital Edition – Missed the boat on applying this year? It’s not too late to learn with us this summer. For the first time, participate via our Digital Edition, which includes access to all of our workshops and content online for a full year.

Join us this summer!

For the first time, we’re offering the option to audit all of the festival’s workshops and content online. ​
"Fresh Inc is an invigoratingly unique take on training musicians to not only function in a world of uncertainties, but to thrive. The faculty is knowledgeable, welcoming, and immensely talented, as are the group of attendees they attract. The information and opportunities I have acquired through being in contact with such highly skilled and motivated individuals have proven invaluable, while the friendships I have forged I am forever thankful for. I cannot wait for next year."
Alex Cooke.,
Cleveland Institute of Music
"I have never been to a festival as innovative, organized, and practical as fresh inc. Every day was packed with activities, pertinent information, advice, and experimental space for crafting one’s art. The faculty members’ mentorship is invaluable in my development as a composer, pianist, and most importantly, an artist. In addition, I learned so much about entrepreneurship I have not learned anywhere before in my higher education programs."
Grace Xu Schott.,
University of Southern California
"I loved meeting and working with Fifth House Ensemble! They are incredible performers and lots of fun to hang out with, and they really cared about giving my piece a great performance. Their music business advice was great, and they’ve been so approachable and helpful to me in my career, even after the festival was over. Their enthusiasm and support of other musicians is contagious – it was great to be able to spend that time with them."
LJ White
"Fresh Inc has given me the impulse to push hard for my vaudeville saxophone sextet, The Moanin’ Frogs, to have a big year. Nonprofit status, CD recording, crowdsourcing, social media, commissioning and contracts: it’s all happening. Tours, too, are in the works, including visits with Fresh Incers. I’ve become braver, understanding that what I want to do is, indeed, feasible. I can better identify which of my projects are of value to society and which perhaps are not, and I’m able to redirect my energies toward the ones that matter."
Jonathan Hulting-Cohen,
Professor, U Mass Amherst

Huge thanks to SHURE for making it possible for us to send microphones to our participants this year!

Fresh Inc is supported by grants from the Steven R. Gerber Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kenosha Community Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Amphion Foundation, and Shure.