5Q to David Alan Miller (conductor, music director of the Albany Symphony)

Over the span of 5 days, the American Music Festival will present more than 35 new and recent works by 33 American composers, including world premieres commissioned by the Albany Symphony and GE Renewable Energy. David Alan Miller,  the conductor and music director of the Albany Symphony, kindly answered our 5 questions about the Festival.

The festival has already started! How is the audience’s response so far? What are you personally excited about?

I’m particularly excited about our Songs of the Earth concert featuring works by 13 young composers from the Yale Composition Program. It’s wonderful to use this festival as an opportunity to discover new voices in the new music world.

Open rehearsals, 18 world premieres, talks, etc. the American Music Festival is a truly immersive experience. Is it a way to bring audience members and musicians together?

Absolutely! That’s the beauty of how we’ve designed this festival! All the composers and performers are hanging out here in Troy, NY. Every way you turn there is a composer! It’s 4 days of solid interaction between musicians, composers, performers, and the public.


EMPAC – Photo credit: Albany Symphony

What could you say about EMPAC for those who don’t know the space?

EMPAC is like being on your own musical rocket ship! It’s a concert hall capsule encased in a gorgeous lobby, with 3 additional theaters. It’s an inspiring place for us to live in for 4 days.

Featuring hikes in a music festival is rather unusual. What is the idea, here?

This festival has the title ‘Songs of the Rolling Earth’ and celebrates the humanities role in the natural world. Many of the program works have a nature or conservation theme. Culminating in a nature walk is a perfect metaphor for the theme of the festival.

Dogs of Desire, featured during the American Music Festival

Dogs of Desire, featured during the American Music Festival

What is NextGen?

NextGen is our community of young professional patrons who have a shared passion for arts and music. They host pre and post concert social events to build social interaction and networking into our concert-going experience. Since launching NextGen 2 years ago, we’ve seen a big increase in attendance, interest and support from our younger demographic. We even have NextGen members on our Board of Directors!

For more information, visit: http://www.albanysymphony.com/americanmusicfestival.