An online new music intensive for composers and performers
led by Grammy Award-winning cellist and educator Nick Photinos

August 15-22, 2021​

Are you a:

  • Performer hungry for new music, eager to expand your solo repertoire and your community by premiering a new piece written just for you, all while in a collaborative environment led by world-class faculty?
  • Composer excited to work closely with talented players, developing a new work quickly from conception through performance, all while building your community and coaching with esteemed composers and performers?

This August 15-22, join Nick Photinos and special guest faculty Kamala Sankaram, Nathalie Joachim, and Matt Albert for 1:2:1:

  • 1-to-1 pairing of composers and performers
  • 1 month for composers to write 1 new piece for solo player (5-10 minutes in length)
  • 1 week for solo players to learn 1 new piece
  • 1-to-1 coaching and masterclasses with esteemed faculty
  • 1 week to put 1 premiere concert together on FaceBook Live and other social media

Now in its seventh iteration, 1:2:1 is a one-week online intensive pairing composers and solo performers on any instrument or voice to create new work and new communities. Limited to a maximum of just 16 people (eight pairs of composers and performers), this close-knit group will have: 

  • Guest lectures and coachings by Kamala Sankaram, Nathalie Joachim, and Matt Albert
  • Daily coachings: performers and composers will both coach daily with faculty in preparation for the world premiere of the new solo work on the final webcast concert. Composers will have the opportunity to coach with faculty on their piece and make minor revisions to the work leading up to the end-of-week premiere. Performers will also have the opportunity to coach on a short (up to 10 minute) contemporary solo piece of their choice, also to be performed on the final online concert.
  • Daily presentations and seminars: all attendees (composers and performers) will have daily opportunities to engage each other and faculty in discussion around music and beyond, such as career advice, business-focused topics, music tech, and the current political, societal, and artistic environment within which we all create. Attendees will also have the chance to present their work to other attendees in 30-minute slots each day, and also enjoy unstructured time to just hang out.
  • A premiere performance webcast: the new works, as well as contemporary solo works by each performer, will be prerecorded for presentation in a culminating webcast featuring short introductions with the composers and performers.


“Great way to connect and build sense of community.”

“We covered so much, I couldn’t have asked for more besides more time to talk!”

“I was amazed at how much I learned in such a short period of time everyday.”

“This was by far the most gratifying musical experience of recent memory! Thank you so, so much for making this happen. I would love to be a part of another session of this in the near future!!!”

“It’s very rare to find a space where it feels safe to explore new things, and it was just that. Very grateful to walk away with the personal connections I’ve forged.”

“Our Zoom campus was creative, encouraging, accepting, and exciting. You selected musicians who were equally beautiful, creative, and supportive. I cannot express how lucky I feel to have been part of this experience and to meet all these wonderful souls. This has been a challenging year and the intensive has provided a massive highlight for me.”


Four-time Grammy Award-winning cellist Nick Photinos is one of the most innovative and multifaceted cellists of our time. Described as a “commanding soloist” (ClevelandClassical.com) whose “virtuoso cello playing is scintillating” (Chicago Classical Review) and “outstanding for his exquisite precision” (SFCV.org), Photinos has collaborated and toured with an astounding array of artists including rock/pop artists Björk, Wilco, Bryce Dessner, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, film composer Gustavo Santaolalla, classical artists Dawn Upshaw, Philip Glass, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and jazz artists including Sheila Jordan, Laurence Hobgood, Zach Brock, and Matt Ulery. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras including the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Toronto, Utah, and Atlanta Symphonies, the last with whom he recorded Jennifer Higdon’s On a Wire. He has performed across the globe including the Sydney Opera House, the Barbican in London, KBC Hall in Seoul, Carnegie Hall in New York City, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver. In 2019 he reached millions of listeners on “Live from Here” with Chris Thile and on Netflix’s original movie The Two Popes. For 24 years he served as the founding cellist of Eighth Blackbird. Photinos’ numerous recordings span the Cedille, Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Greenleaf, and Naxos labels. He recorded for Wilco on their Grammy-nominated album The Whole Love, and with Autumn Defense on their album Once Around. His debut solo album, Petits Artéfacts, “a bold solo debut from one of the most notable artists in contemporary music today” (PopMatters), was released on the New Amsterdam label in 2017. Nick is currently on the faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Chosen Vale International Cello Seminar, and performs in the Grossman Ensemble at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition. For more information, go to nickphotinos.com. www.nickphotinos.com (Photo credit: Joe Mazza)

Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times) and “new voice from whom we will surely be hearing more” (LA Times), Kamala Sankaram writes highly theatrical music that defies categorization. Recent commissions include the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Creative Time, among others. Awards, grants and residencies include: Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, NY IT Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical, the Civilians, HERE, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center. Known for her work with emerging technologies, her recent genre-defying hit Looking at You (with collaborators Rob Handel and Kristin Marting) featured live data mining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers. Sankaram, Handel, and Marting also created all decicions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom and featured on NBC and the BBC3, and Only You Will Recognize the Signal, a psychedelic space opera created for remote performance. With librettist Jerre Dye and Opera on Tap, she created The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera (Samsung VR, Jaunt VR, Kennedy Center Reach Festival, “Best Virtual Reality Video” NY Independent Film Festival, Future of Storytelling, Salem Horror Festival and the Topanga Film Festival.) Also a performer, notable appearances include the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, and the PROTOTYPE Festival, among others. Kamala is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble (recipient of two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards). Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase. website www.kamalasankaram.com

Nathalie Joachim is a Grammy nominated flutist, composer, and vocalist. The Haitian- American artist is hailed for being “a fresh and invigorating cross-cultural voice”. (The Nation). She is co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix. Upcoming world premieres include Joachim’s first ever symphonic and choral work commissioned by St. Louis Symphony and the In Unison Chorus; new chamber works for Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, Imani Winds, and Lorelei Ensemble; and a micro-chamber opera commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera. Joachim’s debut solo album, Fanm d’Ayiti with Spektral Quartet, available on New Amsterdam Records, received a Grammy nomination for Best World Music Album, and 2020 saw the release of Transformation, a collaboration with students at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School. An avid educator, Joachim holds faculty positions at the University of Hartford, Princeton University, and Bang On a Can Summer Festival. Joachim is a United States Artist Fellow, and an artistic partner with the Oregon Symphony. website (photo credit: Josué Azor)

Called “preposterously talented” by Time Out Chicago, violinist and violist Matt Albert is the Chair of Chamber Music at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. He previously served as the Director of Chamber Music and SYZYGY at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, and he was a founding member of Eighth Blackbird, with whom he received numerous awards, including first prizes at the Naumburg, Concert Artists Guild, Coleman, and Fischoff Competitions, and three Grammy awards for their recordings on Cedille Records. He has collaborated with Alarm Will Sound, Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble, Seraphic Fire, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Wilco, and his orchestral playing has included work with the Shreveport Symphony (as Concertmaster), the Baltimore Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and a tenured position as Principal Second Violin of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. Other leadership roles include three years as the Artistic Director of the M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition and three years as the Artistic Director of the Music in the Mountains Conservatory in Durango, Colorado. Matt holds degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Northwestern University School of Music. website (photo credit: r.r. jones)


(Central Time Zone, subject to change)

  • 10am – 2pm: 30 min daily private coachings with each pair of performers/composers
  • 3pm – 4pm presentation by performers and composers. Each attendee will perform or present once for 30 min during the intensive, either performing or presenting a short work (composers), with discussion to follow.
  • 4 – 5pm faculty presentations and discussions
  • 5 – 6pm open discussion time


  • professional or pre-professional performer or composer
  • at least 21 years of age
  • reliable internet connection
  • devices that support both video chat via Zoom and recording your instrument with a microphone and camera


  • Friday July 2: applications due
  • Saturday July 3 – Tuesday July 6: final composer/performer duos decided on, acceptance notifications sent
  • Wednesday July 7: full tuition due
  • Thursday July 8 – Sunday August 8: composers begin writing and are to be in touch with performers throughout process, working together to craft a new solo work
  • Sunday August 8: new composer pieces due to players
  • Sunday August 15 – Friday August 20: daily schedule followed: one lesson with coaches between 10am-2pm CDT, then 3pm-6pm CDT with everyone together
  • Saturday August 21: free day to make final presentation videos
  • Sunday August 22: Final webcast performance!


  • Submit your free application via the link below by Friday July 2, 6pm Central Time.
  • You will be asked to submit 2-3 recent, sub-10 minute videos of your performing or compositions as well as a short (three minute or less) video about why you want to attend the program and what topics you would most like to cover.
  • Once accepted, a link will be emailed where payment via Venmo or Chase Quickpay may be made. To secure a spot in the course, payment must be made in full by Wednesday July 7. Payment is non-transferable and non-refundable except in cases of emergency as determined by Nick Photinos.
  • Tuition: $499


I play contrabass daxophone/nyckelharpa/pyrophone, can I still apply?

Yes! Because of the nature of this intensive with composers writing new solo pieces, performers on ANY instrument or voice can apply and will be equally considered. It’s a great opportunity to build new repertoire for your instrument! 

I’m a composer and performer, can I apply as both/either?

Yes! In 1:2:1, depending on the applicants and how people are paired for the intensive, you may be considered as a composer, performer, or both (if there is another composer/performer to pair with you). If you are paired with another composer/performer, you will each write and play a work of each other’s, and will not perform an existing solo work. Be advised that during coachings, in particular guest faculty coachings, your time may be split between the two works. On the application, you may indicate that you do both and also indicate your wishes to be considered as both or either for this intensive.

I’m a composer. How long will I have to write the piece? 

Notifications will go out by July 8 and pieces will be due on August 8, so you will have exactly one month to compose a 5-10 minute work for solo performer with or without electronics (see below). 

I’m a composer, can I write a piece for solo instrument and backing track and/or electronics?

Absolutely, and is even encouraged, so long as the performer you are writing for is willing and has the proper equipment. In the application both performers and composers will be asked their preference to write or perform a work with backing media and/or electronics. 

I’m a performer, how many pieces will I be playing as part of this intensive?

Two: you’ll be learning a brand new piece written by a composer paired with you, as well as getting coached on an existing piece of recent (from the last 25 years) repertoire for your instrument, with or without electronics (see below). Both works will be videotaped and shown as part of the final concert. If you need advice on a solo piece, you may indicate that on the application.

I’m a performer, can I learn a solo piece during the intensive that has backing track and/or electronics?

Yes! This intensive is a GREAT way to dive into a piece like this, even if you have never done so. Please indicate the piece and what is required to perform it on the application form, and we will discuss the best way to make a stellar performance happen!

I have attended or applied before, can I do so again?

Yes! We have had people attend up to three times (and counting!), and since each iteration of 1:2:1 has different guest faculty, the experience is different each time. If you have attended previously, you will not be required to submit samples or a video statement about why you’d like to come, but you will still need to fill out the rest of the application so we have the most up-to-date contact information.

I have another question, where can I ask it?

Email us at the “contact” link on the upper right hand side!


1:2:1 began in the summer of 2020 during the height of the global coronavirus pandemic, and for many musicians one of the hardest parts of that time was the loss of community: meeting new people, making music with them, sharing ideas, and expanding who you are. 1:2:1 is one answer to that: while it was hard to make chamber music during that time, we CAN come together one-on-one, composer-to-performer, even at a great distance (we’ve had participants and faculty in Japan, Germany, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Canada, and throughout the US), to create new music, to meet new people, and to share ideas, jokes, memes, beers: all the things that make summer festivals so magical. 1:2:1 continues post-pandemic as a way to continue this growth while remaining affordable, fun, and with completely different guest faculty each time.

69 composers and performers have participated in 1:2:1 since it began in July 2020, creating 38 new works over seven festivals and performances, and you can see their work here to get an idea of just how creative they are. Guest faculty so far have included:

Marcos Balter, composer

Molly Barth, flute

Vicky Chow, piano

Du Yun, composer

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Stacy Garrop, composer

Jennifer Higdon, composer

Dana Jessen, bassoonist

Jennifer Koh, violin

Yvonne Lam, violin

Doug Perkins, percussion

Todd Reynolds, violin

Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe

Ken Thomson, clarinet

Nina C. Young, composer