Composing in the Wilderness 2019: Denali Adventure

July 9-23

JOIN THE ADVENTURE!

The eighth annual offering of this unusual and life-changing field course will take place once again in Denali National Park and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. For the first time, we're offering an optional half-day flight excursion to Coldfoot and Wiseman (above the Arctic Circle).

Led by adventurer-composer Stephen Lias, nine participants travel into the wilderness of Alaska accompanied by scientists and guides; gather ideas, experiences, and inspiration; and then quickly write chamber pieces that are premiered by top players at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

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Participants should be prepared to live in rustic conditions and be physically fit enough for strenuous mountain hikes, stream crossings, etc. 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 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. 

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

 Your registration fee of $1,550 includes everything except:

  • Airfare to and from Fairbanks.

  • Food on travel days and while in Fairbanks.

  • Clothing and gear you’ll need on the trip. Depending on your level of preparedness, this may be less or more. To help with this, I’ve made THIS VIDEO.

  • Optional half-day excursion to Coldfoot and Wiseman. (Approx. $490. Description of the trip HERE)

Everything else is included. We provide all the transportation and lodging, as well as all food while in Denali.  

WHERE WILL WE BE?

  • July 9 (Tuesday) - Participants meet at the airport at 9:00 AM and are transported by van down to Denali. After lunch and a group meeting at the Murie Science and Learning Center, we'll head back to our field camp on the Teklanika River.

  • July 10-13 - Four full days of activity in the park. We'll be taking strenuous day hikes through many different terrains and ecosystems from boreal forests to alpine tundra. This part of the trip is "unplugged" (no tech devices other than cameras and audio recorders).

  • July 14 (Sunday) - We'll leave camp early, and have a cafeteria breakfast with one of Denali National Park's administrators, return to Fairbanks, and then drive to Twin Bears Camp where there is electricity and showers.

  • July 15-17 - Three full days of focused composing time at Twin Bears Camp.

  • July 18 (Thursday) - Depart camp early in the morning. Those who wish to may choose to go on a half-day flight-seeing tour to Coldfoot and Wiseman (above the Arctic Circle). Others will have additional free time in Fairbanks. In the afternoon, everyone will check in to the dorms at the University of Alaska. Composers will meet the performers and have first rehearsals in the evening.

  • July 19 (Friday) - Rehearsals all day.

  • July 20-21 - Possible rehearsals and various activities in Fairbanks, including a visit to the Museum of the North to see John Luther Adams' iconic installation "The Place Where You Go to Listen".

  • July 22 (Monday) - Travel back down to Denali. Final rehearsals all afternoon, and then evening premiere performance of all nine new pieces in the auditorium of the Denali Visitors Center.

  • July 23 (Tuesday) - Second performance of composers' pieces in Fairbanks in the evening.

  • July 24 (Wednesday) - Participants depart. Those who wish to extend their stay may do so at their own expense.

WHO ARE THE PERFORMERS?

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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. Part of the fun is that we don't tell each participant which instruments they're writing for (usually trios and quartets) until the first day. More information about Corvus on the ABOUT link above.

What will it be Like?

The best way to get a sense of this trip is to use the PREVIOUS YEARS link above and look at all the pictures.

Will I be safe?

Yes! (Bearing in mind that you are choosing to come to a wild place with wild animals and steep mountains and have an adventure.) At all stages of this trip, you'll be accompanied by guides, leaders, scientists, 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.

Can I use electronics in my piece?

Sorry! Our performances for this trip will be entirely acoustic. 


 Containing over 12,000 square miles (8,687 km2) and the highest peak in North American,  DENALI NATIONAL PARK  is the third largest park in the USA. It is home to a host of unusual plants and wildlife, and it's vast interior remains completely wild. There is only one road into the park and private vehicles are not permitted past mile 15.

Containing over 12,000 square miles (8,687 km2) and the highest peak in North American, DENALI NATIONAL PARK is the third largest park in the USA. It is home to a host of unusual plants and wildlife, and it's vast interior remains completely wild. There is only one road into the park and private vehicles are not permitted past mile 15.

  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.


Applications will be accepted through October 15, 2018.
Selected composers will be notified by November 1 at the lastest.