ANNOUNCING: Apples & Olives Festival in Zurich

New Amsterdam Presents is pleased to announce the Apples & Olives Festival, taking place in Zurich fromMay 21-24. The festival, which debuts this year, is presented in partnership with Moods and Exil, two Zurich clubs at the vanguard of post-genre programming, and classYcal, the premiere Swiss presenter of broad-minded musical concerts with a grounding in the classical tradition. The festival is curated by Judd Greenstein(New Amsterdam), Etienne Abelin (classYcal), and Nik Bärtsch (Exil), each representing their respective organizations.

This pioneering event is the result of three years of conversations across the Atlantic Ocean between the curators, a period in which interest in a post-genre approach to curation grew in both Europe and North America. “We’ve worked hard at New Amsterdam to develop new audiences for contemporary music in the United States, and to create the expectation that many different kinds of music belong at the same table together,” says Greenstein. “At the same time, Etienne and Nik are part of a similar movement across Europe. Apples and Olives is our first effort to bring these communities together, to take a step back and view the exciting developments in both parts of the world as part of a broader cultural shift.

Each evening will feature composers and performers from both North America and Switzerland, representing an incredible breadth of musical styles and sounds. Sprinkled throughout the week will be performances and reinterpretations of works by older classical composers, such as Schubert, Chopin, and Beethoven, casting the new music in another light, while Saturday evening will pay special attention to visuals, with each set containing a multimedia component including visual artists from both continents. 

The festival begins on Wednesday, May 21, with a double bill at Exil featuring the American trio Dawn of Midi, whose debut album has been praised by critics from the BBC to the New Yorker to NPR Music, along with Swiss-based UFO, a collaborative project between composers Lukas Huber and Michael Anklin, with special guests on each concert.

On Thursday, May 22, the festival continues with a “Ynight” event entitled “99 Circular Grooves,” beginning with a special chamber ensemble set by My Brightest Diamond, led by the Shara Worden, and joined by an ensemble featuring members of Mobile, the Swiss Yband, and New Amsterdam’s own NOW Ensemble. The evening’s second half presents a part of Schubert’s String Quintet leading into Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile EXTENDED, a project that constructs a ritual framework for Bärtsch’s acoustic Mobile ensemble that includes a string quintet for the first time. 

On Friday, May 23, Apples & Olives moves to Moods, presenting the Swiss debut of Sarah Kirkland Snider’smodern classic, Penelope, again featuring Worden as the vocalist, with an ensemble comprised of artists from across the festival and conducted by Etienne Abelin. Also on Friday’s concert: pianist Michael Mizrahi (NOW Ensemble) performing a set of recent commissions juxtaposed with classical masterworks; a set of new music by violinist/composer Michi Wiancko (Kono Michi, Bright Wave) along with keyboardist/composer Judd Greenstein; and a performance by the Nexus Reed Quintet of a work by Swiss rising star composer, Jannik Giger.

On Saturday, May 24, the festival concludes with a wide-ranging selection of events at Moods, starting with apanel discussion about post-genre music with festival curators Abelin, Bärtsch, and Greenstein, joined by NewAm co-director Sarah Kirkland Snider, UK composer/DJ Gabriel Prokofiev (co-founder of Nonclassical), and Swiss composer Dieter Ammann. The evening continues with a series of short sets juxtaposing musicians from the two continents and highlighting a variety of compelling multimedia projects. The music will include the European debut of NOW Ensemble (featuring a live performance of Joshua Frankel and Judd Greenstein’sPlan of the City) and sets by Sarah Neufeld, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Yband, appearances by Elia Rediger andNicolas Stocker, world premieres of pieces by Jannik Giger and Nik Bärtsch and music by Patrick Burke, Mark Dancigers, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Sarah Kirkland Snider and more. Visuals will include the work of Joshua Frankel, Jannik Giger, Björk ­Visualizer Stephen Malinowski, and Aaawesome Colors Basel. The evening will end with a late-night party celebrating the festival and featuring more special performances, such as Cello Multitracks by Gabriel Prokofiev, performed by Solme Hong.

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Apples and Olives Lineup:

Wednesday May 21

8 PM, Exil

Dawn of Midi, UFO


Thursday May 22

8 PM, Exil

Ynight “99 Circular Grooves”

My Brightest Diamond (with chamber ensemble), Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile Extended (with Yband)


Friday May 23

8:30 PM, Moods

Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope, Michael Mizrahi, Michi Wiancko and Judd Greenstein, Nexus Reed Quintet


Saturday May 24

6:00 PM, Moods

Panel Discussion: “Indie Classical: a new synthesis between classical avant-garde and pop-appeal?”

8:30 PM, Moods

Sarah Neufeld, NOW Ensemble, Elia Rediger/Nicolas Stocker, Nik Bärtsch/Jannik Giger, Yband

11 PM, Moods

Gabriel Prokofiev, DJ (with special guests)