The Look + Listen Festival is an annual event dedicated to presenting contemporary music in contemporary art galleries. The Festival seeks to expand and engage audiences of 20th and 21st music by providing a unique opportunity to simultaneously experience a stimulating visual environment for new music and a vibrant aural context for contemporary visual art. Both artists and audiences enjoy performances by musicians of the highest caliber, who present a range of new music in New York City’s most prestigious art galleries. We are excited to continue to promote and encourage the appreciation of contemporary concert music created by emerging composers.
The Look + Listen Festival has received praise by important media, such as WNYC’s John Schaefer, who said, “The Look + Listen Festival stands out, even in a very crowded field, as a genuinely innovative series.” Time Out New York recently declared, “among the most appealing choices season after season is the short, but eventful Look + Listen Festival. . . a diverse range of new works are served up in the intimate settings of local modern art galleries.” The Festival has also been applauded in The New Yorker, Sequenza 21, and Seen and Heard International and has been mentioned numerous times by Alex Ross on his blog, The Rest Is Noise.
Three other elements of the festival are critical to its success:
Hearing composers and visual artists speak about their work is integral to the design of the Festival. Creative artists enjoy the opportunity to share a dialogue, and audience members gain an insider’s view into the creative processes in the visual and musical arts.
Pre-concert presentations of ‘ambient compositions’ – pre-taped works for electronics written by emerging composers from the Look + Listen Festival Composers Collective are premiered in the half-hour prior to each evening’s full-length concert. Audience members are free to listen, browse the gallery, talk amongst themselves, and absorb the the visual art during this time.
Each year, Look + Listen sponsors a composition prize, receiving entries from young and emerging composers from all over the world. Winning composers receive a cash award as well as a performance of their piece on one of the Festival concerts.