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

May 23-30, 2021​*

*In the case of numerous qualified applicants, the festival may also run two weeks later, from June 6-13. Applicants will be asked about their availability and preference for both sets of dates in the application.

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 May 23-30, join Nick Photinos and special guest faculty Vicky Chow, Jennifer Higdon, and Yvonne Lam 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 sixth 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 Vicky Chow, Jennifer Higdon, and Yvonne Lam
  • 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-winner Nick Photinos is one of the most innovative and multifaceted cellists and educators of our time. An ardent advocate for new music, Nick has collaborated, toured, and recorded with a vast array of artists including 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, and performed across the globe including the Sydney Opera House, the Barbican in London, KBC Hall in Seoul, and in the US from Disney Hall to Carnegie Hall Carnegie Hall in New York City. Nick formerly served as the founding cellist and Artistic Director of Eighth Blackbird and currently serves as Artist-Teacher of Cello at Longy School of Music in Boston. (Photo credit: Joe Mazza)

Chinese- Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times) and “one of our era’s most brilliant pianists” (Pitchfork) She is currently the pianist for Bang on a Can All-Stars. The New Yorker wrote [on her recording of Michael Gordon’s SONATRA], “’Sonatra’ is a milestone of composition, and Vicky Chow’s recording of it is a milestone of pianism.” Her album “Surface Image” composed by Tristan Perich was among the top 10 Avant Music albums in “The Rolling Stone” magazine.  As an artist frequently broadcasted on WNYC radio, her recorded work can be found on the ‘Nonesuch’, ‘New Amsterdam’, ‘Tzadik’, and ‘Cantaloupe’, labels. Interviews and articles featuring Ms. Chow was published in the Huffington Post, Gramophone, The New York Times,  and others. As an educator, she has given masterclasses, seminars and workshops at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, New York University, Beijing Conservatory, Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Bard College, Sydney Conservatorium of Music and many others. Ms. Chow is on faculty at the Bang on a Can summer festival held at Mass Moca in North Adams, Massachusetts and has also been on faculty at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.  She is on the Board of Advisors for Composers Now, and is a mentor for the Juilliard School mentoring program.  Ms. Chow is a Yamaha Artist.

Jennifer Higdon is one of America’s most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She has is a major figure in contemporary Classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto and a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto, and a 2020 Grammy for her Harp Concerto. Most recently, Higdon received the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, given to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Higdon enjoys several hundred performances a year of her works, and blue cathedral is today’s most performed contemporary orchestral works, with more than 650 performances worldwide. Her works have been recorded on more than sixty CDs, and her Percussion Concerto recording was recently inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. Higdon’s first opera, Cold Mountain, won the prestigious International Opera Award for Best World Premiere. Dr. Higdon holds the Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Grammy Award-winning violinist Yvonne Lam has appeared as soloist with such renowned orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Auckland Philharmonia, and the American Youth Symphony. She was the violinist/violist and Co-Artistic Director of contemporary super-ensemble Eighth Blackbird for eight years, and commissioned and premiered major works by composers such as David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, and Bryce Dessner. In addition to winning top prizes at international competitions including the Michael Hill World Violin Competition, the Liana Issakadze Violin Competition, and the Holland-America Music Society Competition, Ms. Lam served three seasons as Assistant Concertmaster of the Washington National Opera Orchestra. Ms. Lam is now an Assistant Professor of Violin and Coordinator of Chamber Music at Michigan State University. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music and her Master of Music from the Juilliard School.


(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 April 16: applications due
  • Saturday April 17 – Sunday April 18: final composer/performer duos decided on, acceptance notifications sent, composers begin writing and are to be in touch with performers throughout process
  • Sunday April 18: full tuition due (within 24 hours of notice of acceptance
  • Monday April 19 – Sunday May 16: composer and performers work together to craft a new solo work
  • Sunday May 16: new composer pieces due to players
  • Sunday May 23 – Friday May 28: daily schedule followed: one lesson with coaches between 10am-2pm CDT, then 3pm-6pm CDT with everyone together
  • Saturday May 29: free day to make final presentation videos
  • Sunday May 30: Final webcast performance!


  • Submit your free application via the link below by Friday April 16, 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 Sunday April 18. 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 can apply and will be equally considered. It’s a great opportunity to build new repertoire for your instrument! 

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

Notifications will go out by April 18 and pieces will be due on May 16, so you will have roughly four weeks 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 right equipment. In the application both performers and composers will be asked their preferences for this. 

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. 

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?


I have another question, where can I ask it?

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


I began 1:2:1 in the summer of 2020 during the coronavirus global pandemic. My summers had traditionally been busy with festivals I had appeared at for many years, most notably the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, though 2020 added two other festivals, making it my busiest to date. Of course, all that went away, and what hit me (and many) hardest was the loss of community during that time: meeting new people, making music with them, sharing ideas, and expanding myself. I began to think of what COULD be done, and 1:2:1 is my answer: while it’s hard to make chamber music during this 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, 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.

53 composers and performers have participated in 1:2:1 since July 2020, and you can see their work here to get an idea of just how creative people can be during this time. Guest faculty have changed for every iteration of 1:2:1 starting with the third, and so far have included:

Marcos Balter, composer

Molly Barth, flute

Du Yun, composer

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Stacy Garrop, composer

Dana Jessen, bassoonist

Jennifer Koh, violin

Doug Perkins, percussion

Todd Reynolds, violin

Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe

Ken Thomson, clarinet

Nina C. Young, composer