Composing in the Wilderness 2018: Arctic Adventure

Get further out of your comfort zone!

The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is very excited to be offering this new, high-end, adventure trip in collaboration with Gates of the Arctic National Park, Federal Hall, and Arctic Wild.  Led by adventurer-composer Stephen Lias and designed for experienced acoustic or electroacoustic composers who want a more immersive backcountry experience, this field course will take seven participants above the Arctic Circle to paddle almost a hundred miles down the North Fork of the Koyukuk River to the remote town of Bettles, where everyone will spend a few days beginning the composing process.  Upon returning home, the participants will have a few more months to complete their pieces before the culminating concert takes place at Federal Hall Historic Site in New York City.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

Participants should be prepared to live in rustic conditions and be physically fit enough for strenuous mountain hikes, multiple days of paddling, and carrying boats and gear while in camp.  Participants must also be trained composers (professionals, university faculty members, or students currently enrolled in a university composition program) with experience preparing their own manuscripts and writing chamber or electroacoustic music for various instruments.  This is not a "class" or "workshop" in that there is no instruction included (although we all learn from each other). Instead, it is a guided adventure trip for composers. Those without sufficient background may be ineligible. If in doubt, EMAIL ME with questions.

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

Your registration fee of $4,500 covers everything except:

  • Airfare to and from Fairbanks.
  • Food while in Fairbanks and Bettles.
  • Clothing and gear you’ll need on the trip.  Depending on your level of preparedness, this may be less or more. There is a terrific gear list on the Arctic Wild website HERE, and we'll supply lots of instructions to selected composers.
  • If you choose to attend the premiere in New York City, then you will assume all costs associated with that trip.  Composers are, of course, encouraged to attend if possible, but it is not required.

Everything else is included. We provide all the transportation including shuttles, cars, boats, vans, bush planes, etc. once you arrive; lodging while in Fairbanks and Bettles; and all the food while in the backcountry.

What is the schedule?

Landscape-Gates-of-the-Arctic-National-Park-located-in-Central-Brooks-about-200-miles-northwest-of-Fairbanks-Alaska-Desktop-Wallpaper-HD-1920x1080-1680x1050.jpg
  • July 27 (Friday) - Arrive in Fairbanks and check into dorms at UAF
  • July 28 (Saturday) - Attend Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival concerts.  Meet performers.  Visit Museum of the North to experience John Luther Adams' iconic installation "The Place Where You Go to Listen".
  • July 29 (Sunday) - Attend Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival concerts.  Orientation at Arctic Wild.
  • July 30 (Monday) - Check out of dorms.  Fly from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, then fly to first camp location in Gates of the Arctic National Park.
  • July 31 (Tuesday) - Mountain hiking day near headwaters of the North Fork of the Koyukuk River.
  • August 1-5 - Paddle river. Camp on gravel bars.
  • August 6 (Monday) - Arrive (via river) in Bettles.  Move into National Park Service bunkhouse.
  • August 7-8 - Full days of composing.
  • August 9 - Composing and packing in the first half of the day.  Fly out of Bettles later in the day and depart (or extend trip as desired).
  • TBD - Compositions due.  Composers will have a couple months at least. 
  • TBD - Premiere performance.  We think the performance will happen sometime between October and April.  Hopefully we'll have more solid information on this soon.  Federal Hall has already agreed to work with us and the space is a wonderful concert venue.  See the video below for a performance we did there last year.

WHO ARE THE PERFORMERS?

Katie Cox: flute, Ken Thomson: clarinet, Mariel Roberts: cello, Andie Springer: violin, Conrad Winslow: piano, Owen Weaver: Vibraphone

The Festival's new music ensemble is called Corvus and it is made up of seasoned new music experts, many of whom are from New York City.  More information about Corvus on the ABOUT link above.

What will it be like?

We've never done this before... but Arctic Wild HAS!  So they have a terrific summary of the trip on their website HERE.  

WILL I BE SAFE?

Yes! (Bearing in mind that you are choosing to come to a wild place with wild animals, running water, and steep mountains and have an adventure.) At all stages of this trip, you'll be accompanied by guides, naturalists, and National Park employees whose job is to make sure you are safe. You'll be given some instruction on how to handle bear and moose encounters, and supplied with bear spray when appropriate. You wouldn't be interested if you didn't want an adventure, right? But we'll make sure this adventure isn't your last.


  THE FAIRBANKS SUMMER ARTS FESTIVAL 's mission is to provide highly qualified guest artists who offer multidisciplinary study and performance opportunities that increase both personal growth and arts appreciation to all participants. Our philosophy is to enrich the lives of all with whom we associate—through study and performances—by engaging their spirit, intellect and energy in an empowering way.

THE FAIRBANKS SUMMER ARTS FESTIVAL's mission is to provide highly qualified guest artists who offer multidisciplinary study and performance opportunities that increase both personal growth and arts appreciation to all participants. Our philosophy is to enrich the lives of all with whom we associate—through study and performances—by engaging their spirit, intellect and energy in an empowering way.

  GATES OF THE ARCTIC NATIONAL PARK  is the northernmost park in the United States and is second-largest in size.  It sees few visitors and is a sanctuary for many animals, including caribou, muskoxen, and more than 145 species of birds.  The park lies entirely above the Arctic Circle, straddling the Brooks Range, one of the world's northernmost mountain chains.  Grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, caribou, and foxes roam over the severe land in search of food.  

GATES OF THE ARCTIC NATIONAL PARK is the northernmost park in the United States and is second-largest in size.  It sees few visitors and is a sanctuary for many animals, including caribou, muskoxen, and more than 145 species of birds.  The park lies entirely above the Arctic Circle, straddling the Brooks Range, one of the world's northernmost mountain chains.  Grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, caribou, and foxes roam over the severe land in search of food.  

  BETTLES, ALASKA  (Kk’odlel T’odegheelenh Denh in Koyukon) is a city 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle.  The population was 12 at the 2010 census.  The city was founded in 1896 during the Alaska Gold Rush. The airstrip that serves the community was built in World War II and is now used for commercial air service into Alaska's northernmost parks and wildlife refuges.

BETTLES, ALASKA (Kk’odlel T’odegheelenh Denh in Koyukon) is a city 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle.  The population was 12 at the 2010 census.  The city was founded in 1896 during the Alaska Gold Rush. The airstrip that serves the community was built in World War II and is now used for commercial air service into Alaska's northernmost parks and wildlife refuges.


Applications will be accepted from October 1 through November 1.
We hope to announce the selected composers on November 15.