Open Space Festival of New Music

March 2-4, 2016

The Open Space Festival of New Music is an annual event sponsored by the composition section of the UNC School of Music and the Office of the Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts. Past featured composers include Christian Wolff, Alvin Lucier, Gabriela Ortiz, Jean-Claude Risset, Kyle Gann, and Paul Rudy. Interpreters have included the Callithumpian Consort, the Jake Schepps Quintet featuring mandolinist Matt Flinner, pianist Stephen Drury, French electric guitarist Jean-Marc Montera and French saxophonist Raphael Imbert. Open Space 2016 features guest composer Sean Friar, Rome Prize Fellow for 2011-12.

2016 Guest Artists

Sean Friar

Sean Friar

Composer and pianist, Sean Friar (b. 1985) thrives on composing for ensembles both within and out of the realm of traditional concert music; his recent commissions run the gamut from works for orchestra and string quartet to a junk car percussion concerto and music for laptop orchestra. His music has been performed throughout the world by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble (Germany), the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Argento Ensemble, So Percussion, Crash Ensemble (Ireland), Ensemble Klang (Netherlands), New York Youth Symphony, Alter Ego (Italy), Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands), Psappha (UK), Darmstadt Staatsorchester (Germany), ensemble Interface (Germany), Newspeak, Janus, Line C3 Percussion, Quintet of the Americas, Formalist Quartet, Matmos, members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and 4-time Grammy-winning percussionist, Glen Velez.

Festivals featuring his music include Aspen, Bang on a Can, Bowdoin, Cabrillo, Carlsbad, Cresc. Biennal für Moderne Musike, GAUDEAMUS Muziekweek, International Young Composers Meeting, Klangspuren International Ensemble Modern Academy, La Pietra Forum for New Music, Norfolk, Nuova Consonanza, Nuovi Spazi Musicali, RadialSystem, SONiC, and the Venice Biennale.

The youngest winner of the Rome Prize in over 25 years, Friar’s honors include the Aaron Copland Award; a Fromm Foundation Commission; Charles Ives Scholarship; a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant; four ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards; Lee Ettelson Award; First Music Award from the New York Youth Symphony; a CAP Grant and a MetLife Creative Connections Grant from New Music USA; Renee B. Fisher Award; as well as awards from eighth blackbird, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, SCI/ASCAP, and the Hawaii Institute of Contemporary Music.

Recordings of his music can be found on New Amsterdam Records (NOW Ensemble, Awake), Innova Recordings (Mariel Roberts, non-extraneous sounds), Darling Records (Darmstadt Staatsorchester, Soli fan tutti), TRANSIT’s self-released TRANSIT EP, and Crescent Phase Records (Madera Quintet, Five at Play.) Friar is adjunct assistant professor of Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, and Lecturer in Composition at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Sharon Harms

Sharon Harms

Praised as "superb", "luscious-toned", "extraordinarily precise and expressive", and "dramatically committed and not averse to risk" by the New York Times, young American soprano Sharon Harms is known for fearless performances and passionate interpretations of works new and old for the recital, concert, and operatic stage. Sharon has premiered the music of some of today's leading and up-and-coming composers and her repertoire spans a versatile spectrum of periods and styles. A wide array of collaborations have put Ms. Harms in venues around the world. She is a member of the Argento Ensemble and has sung with Alter Ego Ensemble, Baroque Band of Chicago, Center for Contemporary Opera, Da Capo Chamber Players, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Mise-en, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Signal, MET Opera Chamber Orchestra, New Chamber Ballet, New Dramatists, New Fromm Players, Notre Dame Sacred Music Orchestra, Orchestra of the League of Composers, Pacifica Quartet, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Slee Sinfonietta, Southwest Chamber Ensemble, and Third Coast Percussion.

Ms. Harms has appeared as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and as a guest artist at June in Buffalo, Los Angeles International New Music Festival, Radcliffe Institute, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Wellesley Composer's Conference & Chamber Music Workshops, American Academy in Rome, and Resonant Bodies Festival.

Recording projects include a 2013 Latin Grammy nomination for Gabriela Ortiz' Aroma Foliado with Southwest Chamber Ensemble, and a CD of new vocal works by Louis Karchin with Da Capo Chamber Players on Bridge Records. She will also be featured on various forthcoming recordings of new pieces by William Bolcom, John Eaton, Jesse Jones, Lowell Liebermann, and Charles Wuorninen.

Recent highlights include the premiere of John Eaton's The End of It with Eighth Blackbird and the Pacifica Quartet, Mendelssohn's Elijah with baritone Nathan Gunn and the Notre Dame Sacred Music program, and Sharon's Carnegie Hall debut in Charles Wuorinen's cantata It Happens Like This with the MET Chamber Ensemble under James Levine.

Ms. Harms studied at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music with Carol Vaness. During her time there she was the inaugural recipient of the Georgina Joshi Graduate Fellowship made possible by the generous gifts of the Georgina Joshi Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Indiana University.

Call for Scores

A hallmark event of the Festival is our annual call for scores. This call goes out in the fall and results in the participation of composers from all over the nation—applicants may range from high school age composers to professionals. Last year our guests were Timothy Harenda, William Roper, Kyle Jones, Robert Fleisher‬. While at UNC the composers are asked to present a discussion for the composition section. Pictured below is the session from Open Space 2015.

Open Space 2015

Left to right:‬ Timothy Harenda, William Roper, Kyle Jones, Robert Fleisher‬‬‬‬

2016 Schedule

All events are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
8 pm: Concert with Sharon Harms featuring works by Charles Wuorinen and Sean Friar, among others
Milne Auditorium, Kepner Hall

Thursday, March 3, 2016
4:40 pm: Master class with Sean Friar
Location TBA

7 pm: Pre-concert talk by the composer

7:30 p.m. Concert of works by Sean Friar including a performance of the UNC Symphony Orchestra, Russell Guyver, conductor
Foundation Hall, 1516 8th Ave

Friday, March 4, 2016
2 pm: Discussion with the selected composers of the Open Space Call for Scores

5 pm: Concert of the winners of the Call for Scores
Milne Auditorium, Kepner Hall

Founding Director

Paul Elwood


Eric Alexander
Juanita Ulloa

Event Location

Milne Auditorium in Kepner Hall, UNC Campus