Frequently Asked Questions
TOP FIVE QUESTIONS
1. When and where does the festival take place?
The festival takes place June 4th-18th in Saratoga Springs, New York on the campus of Skidmore College.
2. What are the deadlines?
Instrumentalists, Singers, and Conductors
Early Bird Deadline: February 1
Deadline: March 1
Late Deadline: March 15
Notification: April 1
Composers: Deadline was Jan 15th- notifications arriving February 1st!
3. How much is the tuition?
Tuition for instrumentalists and singers is $1,650. Tuition for composers and conductors is $2,495.
Early Application Fee is $65.00, regular fees $95.00 and late applications $125.00
4. Are there scholarships?
Scholarships, Work Study, and Resident Advisor (RA) positions are available.Those awarded a work study or RA position will be required to attend the festival a day early for orientation. All three options may be selected during the application process.
5. Are there one-on-one lessons?
- Instrumentalists and singers receive one 55 minute lesson per week with their respective instrumental faculty member. Studio class also TBD by your instructor at time of festival.
- Composition lessons are taught in pairs: two composers at a time receive a 55 minute lesson or meeting with each member of the Composition Faculty.
- Conductors receive a group seminar with each conductor.
Application, Acceptance and Tuition
What does tuition cover?
The tuition covers lessons/meetings, 3 rehearsals & dress, performances, readings, masterclasses, lectures, audio recordings and video links for composers and conductors. It does not include room and board, or your travel to and from Saratoga Springs, NY.
May I apply if I am under 18 years of age? Is there an age limit?
Mostly Modern Festival welcomes people in all stages of their careers, and over the age of 18. There is no upper age limit.
May I apply if I am not a U.S. citizen?
Yes. Applicants of all nationalities may apply.
What are the application deadlines and when will I be notified?
Deadlines for Instrumentalists, Singers, and Conductors
Early Bird Deadline: February 1
Deadline: March 1
Late Deadline: March 15
Notification: March 22
Letter of Agreement and Full Tuition Due: March 31
No Refunds After: April 15
Deadlines for Composers
Late Deadline: January 15
Notification: February 1
Letter of Agreement and Full Tuition Due: February 15
No Refunds After: March 15
Why are the application deadlines for composers earlier than for everyone else?
It is helpful for composers to have extra time to write music before the start of the festival. Giving the composers an extra two months helps ensure that they will have enough time. Composers can write a brand new work, or have works already written and performed/premiered at the festival.
As a side note, the reason we need pieces from composers by the deadlines is because we want to make sure all of the pieces work well together to create compelling, cohesive programs, and that our rehearsal schedules at the festival are as efficient as possible. This is all in addition to wanting to make sure the players have enough time to learn your music, so that the composers and ensembles are happy with the premieres and performances. Whether AME or guest ensembles, they are all professional musicians in numerous other ensembles, as well as playing in orchestras, touring, and teaching at various universities. Their time is limited before the festival, and they will also be teaching at the festival and performing in the orchestra. They will want as much time as possible to get a handle on everyone’s pieces, so they can focus on actually making music at the festival, and working with the composers on making music, and not just learning the notes. This is why we have these strict deadlines.
Who chooses who is accepted?
The applicants are chosen by their respective faculty in each program, with some input from the directors as needed. The instrumental faculty choose the instrumentalists, the choir conductors choose the vocalists, the conducting faculty choose the conductors, and the composition faculty choose the composers.
Is the application process anonymous?
The process is not anonymous.
Why do I need to submit a recommendation, and why do I need to waive my right to see it?
During the application process, we require a confidential recommendation from at least one teacher, colleague or mentor who knows you and your work well. A confidential recommendation helps ensure that the recommender is giving an honest assessment of the applicant.
Are scholarships and financial aid available?
Scholarships are available to composers, conductors, singers and instrumentalists. There will also be work study and RA positions available. Those awarded a work study or RA will be required to attend the festival a day early for orientation, and put in four hours a day on work study. Both options may be selected during the application process.
Is it possible to receive both a scholarship and a work study position?
It is unlikely, but possible, depending on enrollment and other factors.
If I am accepted one summer and attend, may I apply and attend the festival again?
If I am accepted and cannot attend, may I defer my acceptance until the following year?
No, you will have to apply again for the following season.
If I find out at the last minute I can't attend, may I get a refund?
No refunds will be given after April 15th. No refunds are made for participants arriving late, leaving early, or canceling. The application fee is non-refundable.
May I arrive late or depart early?
All MMF students must be in residence for the full duration of the festival. Students are required to be available for all rehearsals and performances.
Room & Board
How much is room and board?
Room and board is $1,175. This covers three meals a day in the Skidmore College Dining Hall, housing in either Wieking Hall or Kimball Hall, and your linens (sheets and towels).
Can I opt-out of room and board?
The campus is 1.5 miles from downtown Saratoga Springs. The schedule is quite full, so it is much easier to stay on campus for housing and meals. The Skidmore Dining center is right across the way from the Zankel Music Center. It caters to many dietary needs and has a myriad of world cuisine offerings. There is also a Starbucks on campus.
Is on-campus housing required for all participants?
On-campus housing is required for all 18-21 year old students. There are Resident Advisors (RA's) who will supervise at the dorms. On-campus housing is strongly recommended for all ages (faculty and students), because it is affordable and just a few minutes to walk to the Zankel Music Center. However, attendees over 21 may opt-out of on-campus housing. They are solely responsible for commuting to and from campus, and the cost of of their own housing.
When do I arrive and depart?
Check-in is Monday, June 4th: 12:00pm-5:00pm
Check-out is Monday, June 18th, by 11:00am, but participants may stay for lunch on the day of their departure.
There will be shuttles to and from the Amtrak Train station in Saratoga Springs, NY to Skidmore College on June 4th and June 18th.
There are no festival shuttles from the Albany Airport to the Skidmore College campus, but there are taxis and buses available. Click this link for more information.
What residence halls liks?
All residence halls have kitchens, shared bathrooms, and shared common spaces. Note that kitchens are not supplied with tableware (plates, cups, bowls, silverware, etc.). This can be supplied by the festival for $50 per summer, per townhouse.
Does everyone have single occupancy rooms or will I have a roommate?
Faculty have single occupancy rooms in the townhouses. Participants may opt for a single or double occupancy room. Both faculty and participants have shared kitchens, bathrooms and common spaces.
What are the rooms like?
The residence halls at Skidmore College are fantastic and all are in excellent condition. Click here for more information on the residence halls.
Are linens provided?
All participants receive a bottom and top sheet, 1 blanket, 1 pillow and 2 towels. We recommend that you bring a reading light, favourite pillow, towel, blanket or other things that you prefer.
What if I forget something?
There are supplies at the campus bookstore, plus there is a local Target and Walmart, as well as hundreds of other shops and stores in town.
Are meals provided? What is the food like on campus? Do they accommodate special dietary needs?
Three meals a day are also included for everyone. Skidmore College Dining Services have various stations that offer a variety of cuisines, everything from diner style meals and deli sandwiches to Asian and Italian cuisine, a pasta station, a salad bar, a pizza station, etc. The chefs in Dining Services are happy to accommodate those who are vegetarian or vegan, those with gluten sensitivities, and those who are lactose intolerant.
BREAKFAST hours: 7 AM-9:30 AM
LUNCH hours: 11:30-2:30 PM
DINNER hours: 5:00-7:00 PM
Click here to view the Dining Services Photo Gallery. Click here for Dining Services Frequently Asked Questions for answers to questions regarding meal cards.
Are meals spent all together? Performers, composers, faculty, and musicians all in one space?
All participants eat together in the dining hall. The dining hall is quite large, and there are no assigned tables or seats. Everyone is encouraged to eat together and mingle.
Is there a place close by to purchase coffee, tea, or other non-alcoholic beverages?
The Burgess Café on the Skidmore College campus serves STARBUCKS coffee and other drinks and pastries, and is open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm.
What should I bring?
Other than your equipment or supplies (scores for composers and/or a laptop, instruments for performers), you should bring clothes for two weeks, a comfortable pair of walking shoes, dress clothes, dress shoes and an umbrella and/or a rain jacket, toiletries and anything else you might need for your stay. The weather is typical New England summer weather. You will not need winter clothing, but bring a light jacket and/or a sweater, and any other clothing you'll feel comfortable wearing. There are washers and dryers on campus for residential use for a nominal fee.
Is there a bus?
Yes. There is a FREE bus from campus to downtown and other locations, that starts about 7:30 AM and goes until 10:30 PM. They arrive basically on the 1/2 hour or hour. This bus does not go to the Amtrak train station but you can connect and get there.
Is there parking?
Yes: there is free parking on the campus at Skidmore College. All participants with vehicles will be required to display a festival pass on their dashboard for the duration of the festival, and park in designated parking areas.
Are there bikes?
There is a FREE bike share program on campus, BikeMore. There is a registration process for people to sign up when they are on campus to use the program and then it is first-come, first-served and it is free.
Is smoking or drinking allowed on campus?
Smoking is not permitted in campus buildings. Drinking is not permitted on campus if you are under 21. All participants are required to abide by campus rules and all state and federal laws with regard to smoking, drinking and other recreational substances.
May I bring my family, and/or are children allowed?
MMF welcomes children and families on campus if occupancy costs are covered for the additional family members. Childcare will be provided at your own expense. If you are in need of childcare during the festival, please contact us to work out the details. Note that children under six years old may not be admitted to any of the performances.
May I bring my pet?
No pets are allowed in campus buildings.
I hear Saratoga Springs is really beautiful. Are there opportunities for outdoor activities?
There are many hiking and walking trails in the Saratoga Springs area, including the 250 acre North Woods, which is part of the Skidmore College campus.
Private Meetings and Masterclasses
How many meetings (or lessons) will instrumentalists, composers, and conductors receive?
- Composition lessons are taught in pairs: two composers at a time receive a 55 minute lesson or meeting with each member of the Composition Faculty.
- Conductors receive a group seminar with each conductor.
- Instrumentalists and singers receive one lesson per week with their respective instrumental faculty member. Studio classes TBA each summer.
I was accepted as an instrumentalist or member of the choir, but I'm also a composer. May I pay to take lessons with composition faculty members?
Unfortunately, we cannot allow performers to take lessons with composition faculty members. However, performer participants may attend any composition lectures, seminars, etc. if they are free, but not take compostion lessons.
I was accepted as a composer or conductor. May I perform in the chamber concerts or the orchestra?
Yes: you can sign up for the chamber concerts, and if you are a solid performer, we are happy to let you perform in the orchestra, if your schedule allows and there are open performer slots. This is at the discretion of each performer faculty member for each instrument.
Is it possible to apply in two or more different areas (composer and performer, performer and conductor, instrumentalist and singer, etc.)?
It's certainly possible, but if you are a composer, make sure to apply as a composer,, if you want a performance of your piece, video, audio, etc. For example, if you are a flutist (who composes) but you don't want a performance of a piece, then just apply as an instrumentalist.
I missed my appointed meeting time with a faculty member. Can I schedule a make-up?
Faculty are under no obligation to reschedule no-shows. It is up to them whether they choose to reschedule.
The faculty member missed our meeting. What do I do?
In the unlikely event this happens, it will be re-scheduled during the festival.
How much time will each composers' work receive?
Each performed work will receive three ca. 20-30 minute rehearsals (length depending on the difficulty of the piece) in addition to the dress rehearsal and performance. For readings, each work will receive ca. 20-30 minutes of recorded reading time, with at least one read-through. Please note that scheduling rehearsals and reading sessions is an imperfect science. MMF will do everything possible to make sure composers are provided with excellent recordings/videos of their pieces.
If my piece needs extra rehearsals, is that possible?
All rehearsals and rehearsal durations are set at 3 rehearsals and the dress, and at the discretion of the ensembles. All ensembles and/or conductors decide how much rehearsal time each piece receives.
Are there extra costs to obtain recordings?
The tuition covers ALL recording costs and editing for performances (i.e., post-production, crossfades, intro and outro fades, credits, logo, design). All participants will have access to audio WAV files online after the festival ends at no extra cost. Performers may request audio files of their chamber performances at no additional cost. Video recordings of works by composer fellows will be also available via links on YouTube. MMF reserves the right to post any and all video and audio footage of any works from the festival for promotional purposes.
May I post my audio recording on my website?
Yes, however you must credit MMF and the ensemble that played or read your work, and link back to the festival and respective ensemble.
If your work was read and not performed, we require that you state that it is a reading, not a performance.
May I link to MMF videos on YouTube, or embed the videos via the links provided on my site, if my work was performed or I was one of the performers?
May I sell MMF audio recordings?
No, MMF audio recordings are for archival and promotional use only.
May I use the audio recordings and online video links for applications, such as for colleges, academic positions and grants?
May I give my audio recording out freely to my friends, family and colleagues?
May I record the rehearsals, readings and performances?
No outside recording devices of any kind are allowed in rehearsals, readings, performances, masterclasses, lessons, or any other official MMF events. Participants breaking this rule will be expelled immediately with no refund, no performances or readings, and no MMF recordings.
Practicing & Building hours
What are hours for Zankel Music Center?
The music building is open from 7am - 11pm, seven days a week.
What are hours for the MMF Office?
The MMF Office is open from 9am - 5pm, Monday through Friday.
Are practice rooms provided?
Yes. There are over 10 practice rooms at the Arthur Zankel Music Center. They are available via sign up on the first day of the festival. Slots are in 1 or 2 hour increments. Participants may reserve no more than two consecutive hours per day. You can also practice in your room from 9am - 10pm.
Can I reserve a practice room?
Yes. Visit our Reserve Room Page, to reserve a practice room. Please make sure you read the rules and regulations before you book a room.
Are pianos provided?
Yes. All practice rooms have pianos. Pianos are fantastic at Skidmore College, and were hand-picked by Emmanuel Ax.
Do I have to bring my own music stand?
No, unless you want to practice in your room. We recommend bringing a folding stand, just in case.
Is there anything composition-related I should bring?
For your works being performed or read, please bring all parts printed and correctly bound, and at least three extra physical copies of your scores. We strongly recommend bringing a laptop and PDFs of your scores and parts, in the event that one of the parts is lost. We will also have your submitted PDFs on file, but it never hurts to be safe, just in case. For composition lessons, please bring two printed copies of any score you wish to review with the composition teachers. iPads or other tablet computers may also be used for one of the printed copies for lessons.
Will there be opportunities for composers and performers to meet and interact and share ideas?
Although there are no formally scheduled meetings outside of officially scheduled seminars and parties, there will be a few casual get-togethers in the evenings, meant for the participants to get to know each other.
Will there be opportunities for composers to present on their works?
Yes: there will be four composition student seminars for students to present their works. Each student is given up to 15 minutes each to present a short work or movement. 15 minute slots are on a first come, first served basis and will open up at the beginning of the festival. Composition student seminars are moderated by the composition faculty.
If my assigned ensemble is American Modern Ensemble, may I compose for a subset of the ensemble listed on the Composer's Corner page?
Absolutely. While all of the ensemble members are happy to perform, you don't need to compose for all of them. Note that we recommend not composing for subsets of guest ensembles, but if you really want to, just get in touch with us so we can discuss.
I changed my mind about which chamber ensemble I would like to write for after I submitted by signed letter of agreement. May I switch to a different ensemble?
Usually, that's not possible, unless by chance, another composer also wants to switch, but it's unlikely to happen. Two reasons we have multiple chamber ensembles at the festival are to give composers a variety of options, and also to make sure no one ensemble is overloaded with new works. Once composers are accepted, we go through their applications and try to give them their first choices, while at the same time making sure no one ensemble is taking on too much or too little. In the end, it benefits the composers to structure programming this way, and ensures that ensembles will have as much time as possible on each composer's piece.
What if my piece, either a chamber work or for the orchestral reading, is slightly over the specified duration?
If it's a few seconds or a minute over, that's fine. Anything beyond that will need to be approved by the Composition Faculty on a case-by-case basis.
If my piece for the orchestral readings has a solo part, such as a movement from a concerto, may I perform the solo part for the reading, or provide my own soloist?
Yes, that's perfectly fine.
When will composers find out which orchestal pieces that were read during the readings are selected for performance?
We won’t know which pieces are selected for performance until after the readings.
What should I expect for the orchestral readings?
The American Modern Orchestra orchestral readings are for conductors to recieve podium time with the orchestra, and for the composers to hear their pieces. Each conductor and composer will receive a certain amount of time per piece, probably ca. 20-30 minutes. We will confirm the exact amount of time very soon. The readings are not performances: there is no audience (other than the composers, and anyone else who is part of the festival and wants to listen), and they are not open to the public. However, the readings will be recorded, for archival use only. We suggest that conductors run their piece or pieces from beginning to end at least once, and touch on spots as needed.
How many pieces will I conduct on the readings?
Composers are allowed to submit pieces that are up to 8 minutes in length. Usualy conducting participants are assigned at least 2-3 pieces, dependings on the number of conducots each summer. Readings are limited to 20 composers per summer.
Will any of the pieces that are read be performed at the festival?
Two pieces will be chosen to be performed on one of the orchestral concerts by the faculty. We won’t know which ones until the week of the readings.
What should I expect for the AME concerts?
The pieces for American Modern Ensemble will be performed for an audience as part of our concert series. If you’re wondering where to place your emphasis, you would make sure you know the AME pieces well, since you will be conducting those for a performance. There will be three rehearsals and a dress for eace piece, but the conductors will consult with the members of AME to determine how much time each piece receives for rehearsals, since some are more difficult than others, and will need more time, some are easier, and will need less time. That will happen at the first AME rehearsal each week, which the conductors will be required to attend.
Are there any other chances to conduct?
On a case-by-case basis, the faculty connductors may ask the participant conductors to conduct orchestral rehearsals or parts of rehearsals. The two works from the orchestral reading sessions that are chosen for performance will be conducted by conductor participants, not faculty conductors. In addition, each season, there are chamber concerts at the festival. Occassionally, a work will need a conductor, but this is on a case-by-case basis.
Should I consult with the composers before the orchestal readings and AME performances?
Yes: we strongly recommend you reach out to any composers whose works you are conducting at the festival before the readings and first rehearsals occur. You may also reach out before the festival, if you have any questions for the composers. Each season, before the festival, we provide private access to a page with contact information for everyone at the festival for this very reason.
Will I receive video and audio of my conducting?
Yes, absolutely. We will be recording all AMO reading session and AME concerts, both video and audio.
What is the concert dress?
- Men should wear black pants, solid colored or black dress shirts and dress shoes.
- Women should wear black slacks or skirt, and a black or solid colored top, or a black dress.
- Casual attire for readings and other functions is perfectly fine.
May I attend someone else's rehearsals or readings?
Yes. All we ask is that you remain quiet and refrain from talking and making noise during rehearsals and readings.
Are composers and performers allowed to schedule extra performances and readings during the festival?
While MMF enthusiastically encourages composer/performer collaborations, for security, financial, logistical and insurance reasons, we cannot allow the facilities to be used for performances or readings other than officially-scheduled MMF events, and other than the scheduled Ad-Hoc concerts.
Am I required to attend all rehearsals and other events?
If you are a composer, you are required to attend all rehearsals (except the first rehearsal) and performances for any work you are having performed or read. Instrumentalists and singers are required to attend ALL rehearsals, dress rehearsals, readings, and concerts of the programs they are performing on. MMF strongly encourages everyone to attend all concerts, classes, and festival activities.
Do I need to submit and perform the same piece for the concerto competition that I would play if I won the competition?
Yes. The jury needs to hear the same piece you would perform if you won, and we need to see what it sounds like.
There is no piano reduction or recording without the solo part for the concerto I want to perform. Can I still audtion with that piece?
For the competition, you may perform the solo part with a piano reduction (we will provide the accompanist), or perform along with a recording, without the solo part. We really can't accept pieces for the competition that don't allow us to hear what the pieces sounds like, both the solo part and the orchestral part, either as a reduction, or as a recording.
Credit and Licensing Agency (ASCAP and BMI) Info.
For composers: how should I credit performances or readings when mentioning MMF on my bio, resume or site, or in my sheet music?
If your work is new and was premiered at MMF, you may say that your work was written for or is dedicated to MMF, and/or the ensemble that performed or read your work. You may not state that MMF or any of the ensembles commissioned your work.
I attended the festival but forgot to save programs, and I need them for my files and/or to submit them to ASCAP or BMI. How do I obtain them?
We will post all programs on the MMF website as downloadable PDFs after the festival ends. MMF also submits programs to both licensing agencies for every concert, but if you are a composer, you should submit them regardless. We do not make or submit programs for readings, which are private and not opened or advertised to the public.
WiFi and Cellular Access
Is there WiFi and cellular access on campus?
There is cellular access all over Skidmore College. There is guest WiFi access as well. Festival participants will be given a WiFi password for the duration of the festival.
Printing and Copying
May I use the MMF office printer?
The printer in the MMF office is for official MMF staff use only. There are copy machines and printers located on campus. On-campus copies are generally ca. 10-15¢ per copy.
Skidmore College has a Print Services, which you are welcome to use and pay for. For composers, we strongly recommend not waiting until you arrive at the festival to print your materials, since we can't guarantee how quickly the turn-around will be for your materials.
Information for Those with Special Needs/Non-Discrimination Policy
Are you able to accommodate those with disabilities?
Skidmore College is wheelchair accessible, and we welcome applicants who require the use of wheelchairs. However, we are unable to accommodate applicants with severe physical or mental disabilities. Acceptance of all applicants is at MMF's sole discretion, and those with extraordinary needs will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
MMF does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, physical disability, or veteran status.
MMF reserves the right to dismiss any applicant from the festival at any time, with no refund, for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to disorderly conduct, breaking MMF's rules, breaking local, state or federal laws, or for not adhering to Skidmore College's rules and regulations.