NOW Festival | Capital University, Columbus Ohio


  • About Capital

    NOW Fest 2023

  • NOW Music Festival 2023

    The 2023 NOW MUSIC Festival will feature composer Alex Shapiro. Her residency at Capital University, Feb. 21-26, 2023 will include a keynote address, a series of concerts of the band, jazz, chamber, and solo repertoire, performed by the faculty, students, and other local musicians and ensembles, and a masterclass with students-composers.

    Composer Alex Shapiro aligns note after note with the hope that at least a few of them will actually sound good next to each other. Her persistence at this activity, as well as non-fiction music writing, arts advocacy, public speaking, wildlife photography, and the shameless instigation of insufferable puns on Facebook, has led to a happy life. Ever-boastful of her terminal degree of a high school diploma (an impressive feat having failed 8th grade algebra), Alex lives in the middle of nowhere on a small rock between the coasts of Washington State and British Columbia, and draws from a broad musical palette that giddily ignores genre.

    Her acoustic and electroacoustic works are published by her company Activist Music LLC, have won almost no awards, are performed and broadcast daily, have rarely been reviewed, and can be found on over thirty commercial releases from record labels around the world. No musician or audience member has yet to contact Alex to request their money back. Emphasis on yet.

    The Festival's concerts will also include music by Capital faculty and other local composers, Capital’s student-composers, and an evening of chamber music in the Schumacher Gallery.


    What is NOW Music Festival?

    NOW MUSIC Festival @ Capital University is a celebration of contemporary music, including art music and progressive jazz and popular music written in the late 20th-21st centuries. The festival has one simple, yet very important mission: to expose the Central Ohio community to international, national, and regional living composers and their music. This annual festival is one of the most comprehensive and diversified celebrations of contemporary music in the Midwest.

    NOW MUSIC Festival has been founded in 1987 by Professor Emeritus Dr. Rocky J. Reuter, and for the past 35 years, it has featured international, national, and regional composers, conductors, and performers.

    Through many diverse festival activities — concerts, lectures, workshops, multi-media events, and informal gatherings throughout the campus — the role of music in contemporary society is exposed, explored and negotiated. The concert series is eclectic in nature, covering a diverse range of compositional and performance styles. The result is exposure, participation, and education for the entire community.


    The Big Band and Lab Band will present a special performance of The Whispering Gallery, composed by Interim Big Band Director and Capital Alum Zakk Jones.

    “The Whispering Gallery '' is a suite of original music written by Professor Zakk Jones that is inspired directly from poems written by his late great-grandfather, Alphonse Boone. Alphonse Boone was a poet of African-American and Cuban descent who lived from 1894 until 1978. His life was proof of overcoming adversity when the odds were stacked against him. Despite facing the inescapable racial prejudice of the early twentieth century, Boone served in the Navy, survived the Pearl Harbor attack, and became a decorated veteran. Following his time in the military, he went on to work as a laboratory assistant at UC Davis and lead a quiet, stable, family life in Dixon, California. Throughout all this time, he was writing poems as a way to tell truths in a world that paid him no mind due to the color of his skin. He kept his poetry to himself until he was nearly in his sixties, when finally at the urging of close friends and family his writing emerged under the pen name “Rex Sebastan”. Eventually becoming known as the “Bard of Dixon”, he won many awards and distinctions for his published writing.

    While Zakk never met Rex, he was deeply moved by his poetry and felt there was a direct connection between their respective artistic aesthetics. In February of 2020, Zakk was chosen to be an “Escape2Create” Artist-in-Residence, spending the entire month in Seaside, Florida where he began composing “The Whispering Gallery”. This multi-movement suite is inspired directly from the many poems in Rex’s oeuvre—from Vietnam protest anthems and introspective soliloquies to cimmerian memories and the power of love. Both Zakk and Rex use their writing as an outlet to explore the many colors of their lives and experiences. The music you’ll hear will often pivot between seemingly disparate styles–neosoul, jazz, folk, blues, avant-garde, and atonal–often melting into one another to deconstruct the barriers of genre and idiom. They are simply parts that combine into a whole; a kaleidoscope that slowly rotates and shows you the amaranthine complexities of the human soul as you peer into it.

    The theme of this music lies within the title of the work itself. A whispering gallery is an auditory effect occurring in domed circular rooms that allow one to clearly hear a whisper spoken by another from across the room at any other point along the wall. Could time and space be a whispering gallery, folding in on itself allowing Rex Sebastian to communicate with his great-grandson through words and vice versa through music?

    On February 24th at 7pm in Huntington Recital Hall you are invited to find your own answer to this question, along with the help of over forty musicians from across the Conservatory of Music. 



    NOW Festival Schedule

    Tuesday, February 21

    Julie Licata, percussion,
    Stan Smith, guitar
    7:00 PM
    Huntington Recital Hall

    Wednesday, February 22

    Featuring conservatory student & faculty performances & light refreshments
    7:00 PM
    The Schumacher Gallery

    Thursday, February 23

    Conservatory student & faculty performances of Alex Shapiro's work
    Mees Hall
    6:30 PM

    Friday, February 24

    Featuring new compositions and arrangements by Conservatory faculty
    Huntington Recital Hall
    7:00 PM

    Saturday, February 25

    Wind Symphony & Symphonic Winds
    Featuring compositions by Alex Shapiro
    Mees Hall
    3:00 PM