To enrich the musical experience of our students and audiences, and inspire younger musicians, our faculty members create programs bringing together ensembles from the Department as well as artists, teachers and students from around the region and the country. Many of these have of course been affected by the pandemic, causing cancellations during 2020-21.
Multiband Pops | Bach Festival & Symposium | Choral Festival | CLARIconNEcT! Clarinet Day | Conducting Institute | Flute Festival | High School Band Day | High School Jazz Festival | Honor Band Festival | Saxophone Festival & Competition | String Day | Voice Area Open House | Other Past Events
Multiband Pops Concert
Now in its 49th year, Multiband Pops is a fast-paced showcase of many of our ensembles, produced by Jeffrey Holmes. Taking place around Homecoming in the fall, it features the Minuteman Marching Band, and includes our jazz, wind, choral and percussion ensembles, orchestra, as well as UMass Dancers and studio ensembles such as Saxophone Quartet, Trombone Choir, Horn and Trumpet Ensembles. Multibands attracts a large audience each year that includes students, parents, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community members from around New England and the U.S. This year: Friday, November 3, 2023.
Bach Festival & Symposium
Every two years (so far 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023) in the spring, the Department presents a series of concerts and scholarly presentations around the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The concerts are organized by Elizabeth Chang, William Hite and Amanda Stenroos, and the Symposium by Erinn Knyt and Ernest May. The Festival includes a large-scale work of Bach, such as the Mass in B minor or the St. Matthew or St. John Passion, plus other concerts including instrumental and vocal (cantata) works. Bach scholars from around the world present their research and insights in a full-day Symposium, plus panel discussion. Website >>
High School & Collegiate Choral Festival
This event, formerly known as Choral Spectrum, takes place on the last Saturday in October, under the direction of the Choral faculty, Lindsay Pope and Stephen Paparo. Top singers, selected by their teachers, participate in workshops and rehearsals, culminating in a concert in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. High School teachers attend professional development activities, workshops and reading sessions led by UMass Amherst choral faculty. The festival attracts students from CT, MA, NH, ME and VT; UMass Amherst choral ensembles also participate. Campus ensembles often include the Chamber Choir, Chorale, Madrigal Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Women's Choir and Men's Choir.
CLARIconNEcT! Clarinet Day
A new tradition in 2020, created and hosted by clarinet professor Romie de Guise-Langlois, featuring performances and masterclasses by faculty & guest artists, plus Clarinet Choir and chamber music for participants. The first annual CLARIconNEcT! featured guest artist Jose Franch-Ballester and UMass Professor Emeritus Michael Sussman. Last year: Sunday, February 13, 2022.
Summer Wind Conducting Institute
Led by Director of Wind Studies Matthew Westgate, this 4-day summer workshop is focused on helping musicians become better conductors, teachers, and listeners. Activities include conducting the UMass Summer Wind Ensemble and clinics/sessions that directly relate to participants as conductors, teachers, and artists: literature selection, score study, rehearsal strategies, creativity, conducting technique, and leadership skills. Cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Western Massachusetts Flute Festival
Hosted and organized by flute professor Cobus du Toit, the Flute Festival offers fun and inspiring classes with guest artists as well as vendors, flute ensemble readings and a guest artist concert. The Festival in Nov. 2019 featured guest artist Nancy Stagnitta of Interlochen Arts Academy, plus a faculty concert by Prof. du Toit the prior evening.
High School Band Day
High School Band Day, led by Timothy T. Anderson, is an annual event where over 3,000 high school band students rehearse and perform at a massed half-time show at a UMass Amherst football game, experiencing life as a UMass Marching Band member. See the Marching Band website or email Mr. Anderson. This year, Band Day is being held on October 7, 2023.
High School Jazz Festival
The Festival takes place in the Spring semester, coordinated by Jeffrey W. Holmes. Jazz ensembles from around New England participate in non-competitive performances; clinics and masterclasses with UMass faculty, outside music educators and a guest artist (courtesy of the Fine Arts Center). One high school ensemble is chosen to open for the evening performance by the guest artist, whose concert is part of the Fine Arts Center's jazz series. Outstanding performance citations and scholarships for the UMass Jazz In July Summer Workshops are awarded to individual students. This year: April 1, 2023; email Jeffrey W. Holmes for more info.
Honor Band Festival
High School Honor Band, presented annually for 32 years on a Saturday in February, is directed by Prof. Matthew Westgate. It provides hundreds of New England's finest wind and percussion students the opportunity to perform wind band literature of the highest caliber, making music and learning with Professors Westgate, Timothy T. Anderson, other Department faculty, and a special guest conductor or composer of national renown. Students are divided into two or three concert bands; they rehearse the repertoire all day and perform a concert of that music at 7pm in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. See the UMass Wind Studies website.
New England Saxophone Festival & Competition
This gathering of saxophonists at UMass Amherst has taken place in March/April for the past 35 years. Founded and coordinated in past years by Lynn Klock, and currently by Profs. Jonathan Hulting-Cohen and Felipe Salles, its goal is to expose saxophonists and enthusiasts of all ages and levels of proficiency - elementary school through graduate school and beyond, as well as active professionals - to internationally renowned classical and jazz saxophonists. Attendees from the Pioneer Valley, New York, New Jersey and all six New England states play in a community ensemble, ask the experts questions at an open forum and attend recitals by guest artists, faculty, and saxophone quartets. This year: Saturday, April 15, 2023.
Conceived by the String Faculty in 2005, String Day has become an joyous annual event involving faculty, students, players of all ages, parents and teachers. Under the direction of string faculty Elizabeth Chang (violin) and Edward Arron (cello), it enables pre-college string students to experience music at the college level, and for college students to teach younger players. Activities may include a faculty concert, masterclass, mini-lecture, sight reading, an informal orchestra rehearsal and a mini-concert.
Voice Open House and Audition Seminar
The Voice Open House gives pre-college students, their parents and teachers an opportunity to experience what the Voice Area has to offer and focuses on the audition process. A panel discussion includes Audition Repertoire, What to Expect at an Audition, and Audition Etiquette, Dress & Preparation, and leaves ample time for questions. At a masterclass for singers who have been through a screening process, high school students work with the Voice Faculty in a mock audition setting. Current students may perform a concert of art songs, chamber music, and operatic arias and scenes, and answer questions from prospective students. There is no charge. For more info, email Professors Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Marjorie Melnick or William Hite. This fall: Saturday, October 14, 2023.
Other Past Events:
Double Reed Day
The UMass Double Reed Day, hosted by Oboe Professor Fredric T. Cohen, is a gathering for high school and college oboe and bassoon players, teachers, and adults. The Day features guest artist performances, reed workshops with master reedmakers, opportunities to try new instruments, and a Double Reed Band jam at the end of the day. The last Double Reed Day featured guest artists Pedro Diaz, English Horn, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Richard Svoboda, Principal Bassoon, Boston Symphony Orchestra.
A day of activities for junior & senior high school pianists, college pianists, and their parents and teachers. Attendees learn about college auditions and hear UMass faculty, students & alumni perform. The day includes a masterclass for selected high school student pianists and a discussion/Q & A session with Piano Faculty: college auditions, preparation, repertoire & what to expect.
Trumpet Day, coordinated by Professor Eric Berlin, is geared to high school and college students, educators and parents. First presented in October 2011, it has included concerts, clinics, and exhibits, and featured performances by Professors Eric Berlin and Jeffrey W. Holmes, the UMass Trumpet studio, and guest soloist/educator Vince DiMartino.