New Music Festival

New Music Festival

New Music Festival 2024 (March 4–5, 2024)

This year's featured composer/performer is Matt Sargent.

This year's guest composer is Jeff Herriott.

The festival directors are Hong-Da Chin and James Romig.

Featured Composer/Performer -- Matt Sargent


Matt Sargent (b. 1984) is a composer, guitarist, recording engineer, and music technologist based in upstate New York, where he is an assistant professor of music at Bard College.. His music grows from interests in resonance, the making/breaking of patterns, and computer models of musical thought. Over the last decade, his work has focused extensively on musical algorithms and real-time notation systems, which can be heard in his compositions and technical collaborations with other artists. His compositions have been described as "bringing a sharpened sense of the transcendental into the 21st century." (Paul Muller, Sequenza21) On his 2018 release, Ghost Music, Bill Meyer writes, "this music isn't about following in anyone's footsteps; it uses bare resources to establish a bounded and essential place." (The Wire Magazine)

His albums include Tide (A Wave Press), Separation Songs (Cold Blue Music), Tide (for ten basses) (Marginal Frequency), and Ghost Music (Weighter Recordings). Bend, with Dani Dobkin, will be released on Waveform Alphabet in December 2023. Illuminations will be released on Sawyer Editions in January 2024.

He is currently engaged with expanding available repertoire for the pedal steel. In 2022, Matt commissioned new works for solo pedal steel from Michael Pisaro-Liu, Carl Stone, and Nomi Epstein. His performance of Trails (2019-2022), a new concert-length work for pedal steel by Kevin Good, was released by Sawyer Editions in April 2023. He recently recorded and premiered James Romig's new concert-length work for electric guitar, The Fragility of Time. In December 2022, he premiered Splectar, a new work by Robert Carl for retuned electric guitar and live electronics.

In demand as an audio engineer for contemporary music, Matt's recent production credits include Alvin Lucier's One Arm Bandits (Important Records), Musica Elettronica Viva's Symphony No. 107 - The Bard (Black Truffle), Alvin Lucier's Ricochet Lady (Black Truffle), Sarah Hennies's Spectral Malsconcities (New World Records), Kyle Gann's Whispers, and Ensemble Signal / David Felder's Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux (Coviello Contemporary), among many others.

As a technical producer and software designer, Matt developed a networked music notation program for the Swiss-based Ever Present Orchestra, which facilitated performance of numerous large ensemble works composed by Alvin Lucier. In 2021, he co-composed A Murmur in the Trees, for twenty-four basses, with Eve Beglarian and bassist Robert Black. Along with Chris Cerrone, he is currently reconstructing the electronics of the late composer Ingram Marshall. Praising his work on Robert Carl's album, Splectra (Cold Blue Music), Fanfare Magazine writes, "he could find no better collaborator than composer and sound designer Matt Sargent."


Guest Composer: Jeff Herriott


Jeff Herriott is a composer whose music gently shifts and bends at the edges of perception. He creates unhurried music, using slow-moving shapes and a free sense of time. His works often explore repetition with subtle variations in gestural pace, instrumental character, and tuning. Jeff employs electronics extensively in his work, as technology makes it possible to alter instrumental timbres and shift tunings by tiny amounts – changes that listeners may not actively perceive but which can foster a sense of uncertainty and wonder.

Jeff's music, which often includes live interaction between performers and electronic sounds, has been described as “colorful…darkly atmospheric” (New York Times) and “incredibly soft, beautiful, and delicate” (Computer Music Journal) and has been supported by grants from the McKnight Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and the MATA Festival. In addition to his concert music, Jeff has composed score and soundtrack music for the films, Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99, and Dragged Across Concrete, the latter two of which both premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. He is also active as a collaborator in a range of musical styles, including with the sleepy rock/ ambient project Bell Monks; with the heavy metal band Realmbuilder; with the noise duo Mindscrubber; with synth duo Binary Reptile; and as a laptop composer/ improviser with Skewed and Such and Sonict. Jeff is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, where he teaches as part of the Music, Electronic Media, Film Studies, and Media Arts & Game Development programs.


Schedule of Events

Monday, March 4, 2024

9:00 am

COFAC Recital Hall

Presentation by Matt Sargent


COFAC Recital Hall

Presentation by Matt Sargent


Browne 205

Roundtable Discussion


COFAC Recital Hall

Concert 1: Matt Sargent, guitar

Tuesday, March 5, 2024


COFAC Recital Hall

Concert 2: Music by WIU Student Composers


COFAC Recital Hall

Concert 3: Matt Sargent, guitar


COFAC Recital Hall
School of Music
College of Fine Arts and Communications
Macomb, IL 61455-1390

Direction, Campus Map and Parking Information


WIU Comp Logo

New Music Festival is made possible by support from

the WIU Performing Arts Society and the WIU School of Music.