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Peter Askim

Raleigh, NC   

Active as a composer, conductor and bassist, Peter Askim is the Artistic Director of the Next Festival of Emerging Artists and the conductor of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, as well as Director of Orchestral Activities at North Carolina State University. He was previously Music Director and Composer-in-Residence of the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra. He has also been a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and served on the faculty of the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he directed the Contemporary Music Ensemble and taught theory and composition.

A dedicated champion of the music of our time, he has premiered numerous works, including works by composers Richard Danielpour, Nico Muhly, Aaron Jay Kernis and Christopher Theofanidis, and has collaborated with such artists as the Miró String Quartet, Matt Haimovitz, Vijay Iyer, Jeffrey Zeigler, Nadia Sirota, and Sō Percussion. As a composer, he has been called a “Modern Master” by The Strad and has had commissions and performances from such groups as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony, Cantus Ansambl Zagreb and the American Viola Society, as well as by performers such as ETHEL, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, flutist/conductor Ransom Wilson and violinist Timothy Fain.

Mr. Askim is the founder and Artistic Director of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, a summer festival dedicated to cultivating the next generation of performers and composers. Focusing on the music of living composers, the festival artists frequently perform World Premieres and collaborate closely with prominent composers on performances of their works. Led by Mr. Askim, The Next Festival has received numerous grants and awards for performances of American music, adventurous programming and educational outreach since its inception in 2013. In conjunction with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis and Tony-nominated choreographer Christopher D’Amboise, Mr. Askim founded the Next Festival Composer and Composer/Choreographer workshops, connecting early-career performers, composers and choreographers in an innovative and highly collaborative laboratory for the creation of new works.

Viola Concerto

Water is present in the fundamental DNA of the Viola Concerto –sunrise on a mirror-like lake, echoes of ripples in a pond, torrents of sound, streams of notes cascading downward, pounding of waves and the unsynchronized, far-off ringing of buoys and fog horns.

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Islands: Concerto for Bass and Strings

“Islands” is based on the four major islands of the Hawaiian chain: the jagged contours of Kaua’i’s Na Pali coast, the play and shimmer of Oahu’s surf, Maui’s majestic Haleakala sunrise and the bubbling and crackling of the Big Island’s lava fields.

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A Late Winter, An Early Spring

The music describes the fragile time before winter has finally yielded to spring. It begins and ends with coldness: stony, dark, shrouded and still. Grey yields to color, then overtakes it. Grey yields to color, then overtakes it. Shadows grow, lengthen and then withdraw. Prayer-like and whispering, spring waits, patiently.

The music is commissioned by the Cantus Ensemble and the Croatian Composers’ Society. It is dedicated to the Cantus musicians and to conductor Ivan Josep Skender.

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