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.

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.

To meet this moment, our 2021 festival will continue as a digitally-connected experience. Building on our 2020 Digital Edition last June, we have reimagined the festival from the ground up to incorporate teaching culled from a season’s worth of creative projects, including adventurous digital collaborations with emerging composers nationwide, audience-interactive video game presentations,  and mindfulness practices that bring embodied, human connection to online interaction.

During a time when emerging artists need more support than ever before, Fresh Inc provides the tools to create, collaborate, and present in a digital space. 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, composer/improvisers, auditors, and via our Fresh Voices scholarship program, our aim is to build to 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.

We’ll remotely rehearse and premiere 24 new works of chamber music and hone our skills through over 35 workshops, 10 digital performances, private lessons, and individual advising sessions. We will learn from the top experts and leaders in our community, including panel discussions on anti-racist practices and gender diversity so we can build a more just future together.

On top of that, Fresh Inc is 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.

Contact us anytime with questions – we’re here to help.

Every year, participants:

  • Receive 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
  • Add photos and performance videos to their artistic portfolio
  • Premiere 24 new works of chamber music developed during the festival alongside established repertoire
  • Composers are commissioned by the Steven R. Gerber Trust to write new works 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 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

The Digital Edition includes:

  • Digital premieres – Our work with composers over the past several months have resulted in some of the most collaborative and imaginative projects in our history. This summer, we’re commissioning festival composers to write new works that can be presented in a livestream premiere format this June. Commissioned by the Steven R. Gerber Trust, last year’s works ranged from pieces that can be pre-recorded separately in parts to experimental works that take advantage of networks, latency, and digital platforms in their construction. All new commissions will be premiered on the final days of the festival.
  • Live streamed performances – Each year, we reach audiences of every age through performances in spaces both traditional and unexpected. Live streamed events range from digital showcases to informal salons and interactive educational events. Stay tuned for more details!
  • New content – Artists across the country are called on 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 – including learnings from our partnerships with San Francisco State University and Dolby Laboratories (Dolby) this Spring, which explores new compositional processes that take advantage of spatial sound created through Dolby Atmos.
  • 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 – Audit the festival via our Digital Edition, which includes access to all of our workshops and content online for a full year.

June 7-20, 2021

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 got really excited about creating educational events in schools, how to approach social justice and engage in communities, non-traditional venues for performances, opera opportunities, and dealing with technology in this pandemic world.

Digital Edition 2020
We learned how to communicate musical ideas to create the best socially distanced performance and how to schedule our recordings to divide the task and hit deadlines. I also learned how to be more efficient with recording and editing due to quick deadlines throughout the festival.
Alexis Letourneau,
Digital Ediiton 2020
I started from rock bottom in terms of tech/recording in my own home. This really helped me understand how to start doing virtual music.

Elizabeth Easley,
French Horn
Digital Edition 2020
Learning about the collaborative platforms that exist was so useful. I have so many ideas going into the school year, I'm even thinking about starting a whole virtual chamber music program for my conservatory.

Jade Garcia,
Digital Edition 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Tuition has been reduced to $1,200 for the 2021 festival; we’re passing room/board/facilities savings on to you.

A non-refundable deposit of $300 is due by March 1, 2021, 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, 2021, 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. 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.

For the first time this season, 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 Lisa Bielawa’s Broadcast from Home project for several weeks.

This year, we’re asking composers to create works that can be either recorded in parts or performed live on digital platforms.

Performers will experience a mix of both: projects that involve recording each part separately, and those that are designed to be performed live in digital spaces.

Absolutely! Many of our participants are starting from zero in terms of recording, rehearsing, and using Digital Audio Workstations. We will give you all of the tools and help you every step of the way.

Yes! We will make sure you have what you need. Last year, we partnered with SHURE Inc. to provide microphones to participants who needed them (see below)!

The 2.0 track is Fresh Inc alums who return for the second time to launch specific projects – check out the tab above!

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.

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

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

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 Aaron Copland Fund, the Amphion Foundation, and Shure.