The Institute for New Music functions as the nerve center of all contemporary music activities at the Bienen School of Music.

Founded in 2012, the Institute presents numerous events over the course of the academic year – from residencies of visiting ensembles and composers to workshops, lectures, and masterclasses, to the biennial Conference/Festival NUNC! Additionally, the Institute provides a platform for new music activities for all areas of the Bienen School.

NUNC! 4: April 24-26, 2020

Several critical assets make Northwestern a logical site for a major new music initiative. These include a corps of talented performance students interested in new music; a strong composition program; the biennial Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, which regularly brings world-renowned composers to campus; the Northwestern Music Library, which contains an unparalleled and internationally renowned archive of printed music composed since 1945; and proximity to Chicago’s vibrant new music scene.

2019-2020 Institute for New Music Events

Contemporary Music Ensemble: Works by Timo Andres, Missy Mazzoli and Felipe Lara
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Galvin Recital Hall
More Information

Bienen Contemporary/Earl Vocal Ensemble Evensong
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, 5 p.m.
Alice Millar Chapel
More Information

“Dog Days” opera (Chicago Premiere) 
Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 21-23, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 24, 3 p.m.
Ryan Opera Theater
The production, which marks the first collaboration between the Bienen School’s opera program and Institute for New Music, will be directed by Joachim Schamberger and conducted by Alan Pierson, conductor of the “Dog Days” world premiere in 2012. Composer David T. Little will be in residence at the Institute for New Music November 19-22 leading up to the Chicago premiere of his work.
More Information

Contemporary Music Ensemble presents Hans Abrahamsen’s “Schnee”
Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
More Information

New Music Showcase
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Galvin Recital Hall
More Information

HPSCHD@50: A Colloquium of the Northwestern University Music Library
Friday, February 28, 2020
Deering Library
To mark the 50th anniversary of John Cage's landmark happening HPSCHD, the Northwestern University Music Library presents HPSCHD@50, a day-long colloquium of speakers and panel discussions for Cage scholars.
More Information

An Evening of Electroacoustic Music
Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
The composition and music technology program presents a concert showcasing new electroacoustic music.
More Information

Oscar Bettison Residency
Wednesday-Friday, March 4-6, 2020
British-American composer Oscar Bettison will attend rehearsals with the Contemporary Music Ensemble, led a composition masterclass, and present a colloquium during his March residency. CME will present a concert on Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ryan Opera Theater.
More Information

Ensemble Dal Niente Residency
Monday-Wednesday, March 9-11, 2020
The Chicago-based contemporary classical music ensemble will coach the Contemporary Music Ensemble and work with composition students before presenting a concert of student works Wednesday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Galvin Recital Hall. 
More Information

NUNC! 4 – Conference/Festival
April 24-26, 2020

One of the leading conferences for new music in the world, NUNC! brings together composers, performing musicians, scholars and other new music advocates for a weekend of workshops, panel discussions and concerts. NUNC! 4 participating artists include the internationally acclaimed Arditti Quartet, Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Bienen School alumna Jennifer Walshe, a leading voice of the aesthetic field merging music composition and performance art.

Learn more about NUNC! 4

Jennifer Higdon Residency
Monday-Thursday, April 27-30, 2020
Jennifer Higdon returns to campus for her second residency as winner of the Bienen School’s 2018 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. The Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra will perform a series of Higdon concertos featuring faculty soloists on Thursday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. 

Contemporary Music Ensemble
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Works by Burhans and Zivkovic

Mabel Kwan Residency
Friday-Sunday, May 15-17, 2020
Mabel Kwan, Chicago based pianist and member of Ensemble Dal Niente, will visit campus to work with composition students.

New Music Ensembles

Bienen Contemporary/ Early Vocal Ensemble

This 24-voice ensemble concentrates on music of the 21st century, drawing relationships to its polyphonic roots in early music.

Contemporary Music Ensemble

A one-on-a-part ensemble of approximately 20 players, CME presents exciting concerts of wide-ranging contemporary works.

Expanding educational offerings in modern music

The Institute for New Music organizes an array of major cultural and educational events, including symposia, festivals, workshops and residencies. Each of these activities provides students with opportunities to interact with and learn from prominent figures in the new music world.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Music Library

The Northwestern University Music Library is internationally renowned for its extensive collection of contemporary scores composed since 1945 as well as its original manuscripts, including the notable John Cage collection.

Explore the Collection


The Crossing and BCE

Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble

Alex Mincek - Chamber Concerto

Contemporary Music Ensemble

Steve Reich: Nemmers Prize Residency

Steve Reich and Alan Pierson

Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians

Contemporary Music Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble

Marcos Balter - Pan

Claire Chase

Webern, Burhans, and Reich

Contemporary Music Ensemble