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Connecticut Summerfest 2020

Connecticut Summerfest is a contemporary music festival that brings together talented emerging composers and inventive chamber ensembles.


Connecticut Summerfest is an annual contemporary music festival that brings together talented emerging composers with some of the country’s most innovative chamber music ensembles. Taking place in the heart of Connecticut, nine festival composers are selected through a blind adjudication process to collaborate with resident ensembles and receive the guidance of distinguished composition teachers and lecturers, culminating in the premiere of new works during our free nightly concert series. Connecticut Summerfest is a unique and affordable educational opportunity for composition students and a way for the Greater Hartford area to experience contemporary classical music free of charge. Our 2020 festival will occur June 11–17, 2020 at The Hartt School in West Hartford, CT.

Every year, Connecticut Summerfest invites professional, actively-touring chamber ensembles to work collaboratively with festival composers to bring new works to life. We are thrilled to be featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) as our ensemble-in-residence for our 2020 season. Described as “the new gold standard for new-music” (The New Yorker), ICE is an innovative and dynamic ensemble at the forefront of the contemporary classical scene. In addition to curating three free concerts, ICE will work with our festival composers on pieces written specifically for the festival, to be premiered at our fourth and final concert, the Evening of Premieres.

The structure of Connecticut Summerfest was carefully crafted to provide emerging composers and ensembles a meaningful forum for artistic exchange and professional development, as well as to provide the community with free performances of high-caliber new music. The festival features seminars, lessons, and rehearsals during the day, followed by a series of three evening concerts and one Sunday matinee performance, all of which are presented free to the public, in addition to being live streamed in high definition. The first three concerts, which will occur at 8PM on June 12th and 13th, and at 4PM on June 14th in the Berkman Recital Hall at The Hartt School, will feature programs curated by ICE. The final concert on June 16th is our Evening of Premieres, during which brand-new works by festival composers are brought to life.

Our daytime activities offer festival composers educational and career advancement opportunities. In addition to rehearsing with ensembles throughout the morning and afternoon, participants attend interactive presentations by world-class guest lecturers, private hour-long lessons with each resident composition faculty member, and composition seminars that engage all participants in serious artistic discussions. This year’s composition faculty members are Phyllis Chen (Freelance composer and pianist in ICE), Nathan Davis (Adjunct Professor of Music Technology at Montclair State University and percussionist in ICE), Gilda Lyons (Assistant Professor of Composition at The Hartt School), and Matt Sargent (Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College) .

Start and End Dates



West Hartford, Connecticut

Project Created By

West Hartford, Connecticut
Connecticut Summerfest brings together talented emerging composers with some of the country’s most inventive chamber music ensembles for a week-long festival of artistic exchange culminating in nine world premieres. Since our inaugural season in 2015, we have premiered 35 new works, collaborated with 9 chamber ensembles, engaged 11 composition faculty members, and presented 9 lectures…

In Collaboration With

New York, New York
Composition Faculty
Composition Faculty
Buffalo, New York
Composition Faculty
New York, New York


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