About the Festival

From 2012 to 2021, 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.

Fresh Inc provided the tools for emerging artists to create, collaborate, and present their own unique vision. We believe that empowering artists to meet the challenges of our field’s changing landscape is the best way to prepare for the future. 

With specialized tracks for pre-formed ensembles, composers, auditors, and via our Fresh Voices scholarship program, our aim was to build the coolest, kindest, most courageously imaginative festival anywhere around by seeking out those who are trailblazing their own paths as the next generation of impact-makers.

On top of that, Fresh Inc was above all a social experience – a gathering place for unconventional and responsive thinkers, a laboratory for experimentation, and a place to form lifelong connections and birth new collaborations over s’mores.

Every year, participants:

  • Received a comprehensive curriculum of 35+ workshops that foster experimental thinking and provide you with the entrepreneurial skills to sustain a fulfilling life in the arts
  • Added photos and performance videos to their artistic portfolio
  • Premiered 24 new works of chamber music developed during the festival alongside established repertoire
  • Composers were commissioned by the Steven R. Gerber Trust to write new works that were premiered at the festival – performers being a mix of students and 5HE artists or a pre-formed ensemble
  • Designed and presented 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 receive two private lessons with composition faculty.
  • 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

Festival Tracks

Join us this summer!

For the first time, we’re offering the option to audit all of the festival’s workshops and content online. ​
I learned SO much! I don't think I could summarize it all in a succinct way except to underscore the importance of being true to your own artistic voice and thinking critically and creatively to use your skills to their best advantage.
Grace Gelpi, Saxophone
Digital Edition 2021
I learned a lot about how to network and how to best reach people. The workshops on educational programs were also really insightful, particularly how to connect music with the curriculum at the school.

Digital Ediiton 2021
I was able to witness a professional-level experience of digital creation, not only in the final project in the step by step, nuts and bolts of how that happens - which so often isn't covered in classwork or the academic experience.
Leaha Villareal, Composer
Digital Edition 2021
I learned that understanding your audience is essential to great programming and that collaboration and teamwork stem from having good relationships with others.

Trey Flores, Composer
Digital Edition 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Tuition is $2,000 for the 2022 festival.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due by March 1, 2022, and can be submitted via Paypal here. This secures your place at the festival, and allows us to assign instrumentation to composers for works to be created for this summer’s performances.

Tuition balances are due on May 1, 2022, after which date all payments are non-refundable except in the case of a documented medical emergency.


All applicants are considered for merit-based scholarships as part of the application process. With the support of our sponsors below, we were able to award over $80,000 in scholarships last season. Last year, 100% of participants received support in the form of scholarships and/or commissions.

This year, our Fresh Voices program offers dedicated scholarship support to participants who are female, artists of color, and/or LGBTQ-identified, to build leadership capacity, career advancement, and entrepreneurial skills among artists underrepresented in our field.

Six composers of color will be selected to attend tuition-free as Fromm Foundation Fellows.

Click here for more information.

There are three concerts of world premieres, plus various salon night concerts and showcase performances. Last year, we had three salon nights and four showcases for a total of 10 live streamed shows! We also produced two Colortunes events (interactive graphic score and storytelling programs for children and families) and participated in a live performance experience with Lisa Bielawa and the Broadcast from Here radio station.

Great question! We encourage you to apply as a composer/performer – all applications will be considered for the joint track, as well as for composer and performer tracks separately, offering the most flexibility.

Participants of the 2022 festival are required to show proof of complete vaccination in order to attend. We will also require a negative test within 48 hours of arrival on the UW Parkside campus. Masks will be worn indoors at all times, with the exception of wind players and vocalists in the rehearsal space, where social distancing in larger rehearsal rooms will be enforced. COVID-19 rapid testing will be readily available on campus. As in previous years, we will continue to provide isolation rooms for any participants showing signs of illness. Festival workshops will be recorded and readily available on the Digital Edition for up to a year, so participants will be able to access any content that they may have missed in-person, for any reason.

Yes! All festival workshops will be recorded and archived on the Digital Edition platform. Fresh Inc participants will have access to the Digital Edition for a full year following the festival. We will also continue to hang out on the Fresh Inc Discord for all kinds of virtual shenanigans, both during the festival (and beyond!)

Um….YES OF COURSE! And there will be a s’mores making contest. And everyone wins because they get to eat s’mores.

I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, powered by American Composers Forum, is the exclusive media partner of Fifth House Ensemble’s Fresh Inc Festival.

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