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  • Writer's pictureQuinn Mason

A Brevard Diary, Part 2: This Was Brevard

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Just like that, my summer at the Brevard Music Center comes to a bittersweet close. In my last blog post, I reflected on the first part of my summer at the institute, in which I contemplated what would happen in the second half of my summer. Nothing could have prepared me for what was ahead. Somehow, I knew it was coming. But it was still unexpected.


First off, it rained a whole bunch. When I got to Brevard, the weather was primarily sunny. The first few days were nice; clear skies and comfortable temperatures were commonplace. Then all of a sudden, it rained. And the next day, it rained again. This cycle repeated for the rest of my time at Brevard. Sometimes, the it would rain without warning and I would be caught in it without my umbrella.

After the initial blog post, everybody at Brevard got busy. I imagine the orchestral players and the composers had it the worst; the orchestral players had a lot on their plates, including rehearsals, chamber music coachings, sectionals, concerts, composer readings and concerts, etc. The composers had several projects to complete, including large ensemble works, small ensemble works, etudes and art songs. It wasn't so bad at first with the art songs, and the first concert in which we could present old works. There were three of those concerts (called ITCH concerts) and they were in close proximity to each other so we had a limited amount of time to write the works then rehearse them. We can't say we weren't warned; sometime earlier in the festival, faculty Greg Simon said something to the effect of, "The point of Brevard is to write a TON of music in a short amount of time." He was not kidding.

It was the large ensemble works that took the most out of us. Some of my colleagues had started the work before the festival started and were still working on it by week 4. Others (myself included) wrote them quickly, and a majority of them pulled all nighters to write these things. We's spend all day in the composition studio located at stables, which was a block located near the center of campus. Our studio was a two room classroom type setting, including keyboards and a printer just for us. I can't say it was the most comfortable of settings, but it allowed us to get the job done.

a rare lively moment in the studio.

what happens during an all nighter

We essentially lived in this place for about 6 weeks. It became kind of like a pseudo dorm away from the actual dorms we were living in. Some people would even sleep in this place.

during one of the all nighters.

one of the composers made herself a bed out of 'local' resources.

Based on some of the items we found in the studio (including card games, office supplies, textbooks) we guessed that the studio functioned as a school building during the year. However, that didn't stop us from having a little fun with the items.


among the items we found: a singing bowl. Being composers, we experimented with it...a lot.