Summer 2019 | July 21st - August 4th 2019 | Averill Park, NY

The two-week Creative Music Intensive, held from July 21st – August 4th at Arts Letters & Numbers in upstate NY, will be directed by Michael Harrison and Sophia Vastek. Participants will be immersed in the creative process of making music, exploring new approaches and developing individual and collaborative works as creative artists. This intensive is open to both amateur and professional musicians in any genre (the ability to read music is not required). The directors will customize the intensive on an ongoing basis to address the needs and wishes of each participant. Time will be divided between individual and group activities. During the intensive, participants and faculty will present two public performances: one at ALN during the culminating festival, and one in downtown Troy, NY at The Arts Center as part of Troy Night Out, a large-scale, monthly event taking place throughout the city.  These concerts are opportunities to explore new performance practices and material in a safe and welcoming public environment.

Faculty and visiting artists include composer Reiko Fueting, composer/pianist Michael Harrison, pianist Sophia Vastek, electroacoustic composer/saxophonist Sam Torres, composer/percussionist Payton MacDonald and cellist Ashley Bathgate. Visiting artists are available to coach and perform participant’s works, as well as facilitating potential collaborations with a wide range of artists from the concurrent Summer Residency program and the Thesis at ALN under the direction of ALN Founder David Gersten.

Music making activities that we will explore include:

  • Collaborating on the creation and performance of a house concert at ALN and in Troy, NY

  • The art and techniques of musical composition

  • Improvisation (group and solo)

  • Indian classical singing (ragas)

  • Indian rhythmic cycles, polyrhythms and minimalist music techniques

  • Just Intonation (theory and practice)

  • Creating electronic and electroacoustic music

  • Chamber ensemble and solo performance

  • Exercises and presentations from ALN’s interdisciplinary parallel running programs

  • Developing interdisciplinary collaborations and performances with a diverse group of artists

  • Tuition includes a private lesson for each participant (if requested)

Summer at ALN

Summer at ALN offers three programs: The Creative Music Intensive will coexist with the Summer Residency program as well as the Thesis at ALN. These programs will be run in parallel and close proximity, each with its own autonomy and schedule, but with lots of opportunities for collaboration. Throughout the Summer at ALN there will be times for programmatic overlaps where artists from the three programs will come together for collective sharing and learning.

Summer at ALN will culminate in a two-day celebration. Concerts, performances, exhibitions, presentations, culinary explorations and all forms of expression that have emerged will be shared with an audience.


Arts Letters & Numbers facilities are a collection of buildings once part of the former textile complex Faith Mills along Burden Lake Road in Averill Park, NY: The House on the Hill, The Twins, The Barn, The Studios and The Grounds. A variety of differently sized shared studio spaces, a wooden barn and the outdoor grounds welcome artists to design their site of exploration.

An assortment of power and hand tools, digital media equipment, and musical instruments including a 9’ concert grand piano and two upright pianos, will be available for artists to use.

A communal live-work environment is an integral part of the ALN experience: the practice of living reflects an approach to the work and the potential for interactions across disciplines. Shared accommodations will be provided in the House on the Hill and in the Twin Houses. Single futon beds on low raised platforms, are arranged in double, triple, and quad sleeping quarters.


Arts Letters & Numbers is constructed not only by those who are directly involved in its day to day operation - fellows, residents, participants, visiting artists and local community members - it also continues to be built by everyone who walks through the door. This aspect of Arts Letters & Numbers is fundamental.

When people are free to act, interact, and support one another, new works and ideas emerge.

Everyone staying at Arts Letters & Numbers is expected to treat the facilities with care and consideration, as well as to be mindful of one another’s space. Whether it’s in a living or working situation, everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves, and to lend a helping hand when needed. Arts Letters & Numbers is based on the value and reward derived from communal efforts.

One of the communal efforts will be to help out with the daily dinners. With the guidance of ALN’s associate director Frida Foberg, everyone will find themselves in the kitchen at some point during the program, and do the important work of bringing everyone together by the end of the day.

Program Fee

The fee covers the following:

  • Accommodation in shared room

  • Daily communal dinners

  • Communal studio space, individual and group instructions, critiques and visits from guest speakers and artists

  • Transportation for group excursions and also including pick-up and drop-off to/from bus (Greyhound or Megabus), train (Amtrak) or airport (Albany Int’l Airport) as well as grocery trips

  • Material, tools and equipment connected to the group works for the intensive is covered. Participants are responsible for personal materials used in their creative work

  • Equipment: We will have a limited selection of instruments available for shared use. Please contact us for more detailed information

  • Final show/performance/concert


The Workshop fees:   

Creative Music Intensive

July 21st - August 4th ……………............... $ 1,400

The participants are responsible for their own:

  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch, snacks, beverages, specific dietary supplements

  • Bedlinen, towels, essential hygiene and toiletry items

  • Transportation: Travel expenses and personal excursions

  • Admission fees during excursions

  • Equipment and Material

  • Travel insurance

Registration for CMI is now closed.

Please see other summer programs for open registrations.