Founded in 2011 by Artistic Director Hugh Levick and Timothy Loo of the Lyris Quartet, the HEAR NOW Festival began by presenting two concerts, and since then each festival has grown. The festival answers a two-fold need; for LA composers to be featured in a professional setting with superb performances; and for the audience to begin to know what LA composers are writing.

Since 2011, HEAR NOW has introduced nearly 150 new and recent works by 113 individual Los Angeles-based composers. Over its 8-year history, it has expanded from two chamber music concerts to a 4-concert festival, and repeats a selection of festival works at locations encompassing downtown, the south bay, and Orange County. Over the years, HEAR NOW has developed continuing collaborations with People Inside Electronics (PIE), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), Pacific Serenades, and most recently, the Harmony Project and the UCLA Philharmonia orchestra.

The Festival is held in Venice, UCLA-Westwood (every other year), and Pasadena. The support and encouragement of Hear Now’s Honorary Artistic Advisor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, has validated the premise of HEAR NOW among the public. Numerous composers — emerging and mid-career — have been brought to both critical and public attention, and HEAR NOW has served as an incubator for the discovery of new talent.

This year, we have initiated an open call in order to receive more works from women and more diverse composers. In 2018/2019 the open call for submissions to composers was promoted via eblasts to a 10,000-address list, the HEAR NOW website, social media, notices to all local composer organizations and new music organizations.

About the Artistic Personnel

Artistic Director Hugh Levick is an alumnus of Yale, Juilliard, and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. As saxophonist-composer Levick studied and played with Anthony Braxton, John Cage, Steve Lacy and the Chicago Art Ensemble. Noted for innovative multi-media works, his KID COPY was produced by EDAC in France and staged at LA Co. Museum of Art. He composed, directed and performed music for over two-dozen stage productions, including two operas. His work has received NEA and NYSCA grants, and in 2014 was recorded by Radio France Musique’s Signature Records. He is also the first artistic director of the Mona Bismarck American Center Festival of American Music in Paris, France.

Associate Artistic Director Gernot Wolfgang is a GRAMMY nominated composer who has been described as a “master composer with important things to communicate to his listeners” (Fanfare Magazine). He has so far received more than 40 commissions from organizations and individuals such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and several Los Angeles Philharmonic principals. He has won many awards and also works as an orchestrator of film and TV scores.

Co-associate Artistic Director Sarah Gibson is a composer and pianist whose works have been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, members of eighth blackbird, What’s Next?, L.A. Signal Lab, and others. Her music has received numerous honors. She is a founding member of the new music piano duo HOCKET, has degrees in Composition and Piano from Indiana University, and a Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition from USC where she is on the faculty. She is a Lead Teaching Artist for the esteemed Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program.

The Artistic Review Committee consists of the Festival ensemble-in-residence, the Lyris Quartet: Artistic Director Hugh Levick; composers William Kraft, Sarah Gibson, Vera Ivanova, William Roper, Isaac Schankler, Colin Horrocks; flutist Sara Andon; and classical KUSC radio host Brian Lauritzen.