Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival is an exciting new concept for bringing talented up-and-coming performers specializing in new music, to new audiences.

These are the main visions for the festival:

1) Find new ways to promote the artistry of contemporary classical music, including the composers who create it and the performers who perform it.

2) Cultivate a deeper appreciation for this incredible art form.

3) Help faciltate up-and-coming artists and ensembles to reach new audiences.

4) Allow for multiple performances of well-rehearsed works – in contrast to the one-and-done reading/performance which is, unfortunately, typically the norm.

The artists select their own repertoire from living composers, both well-known and lesser-known, as well as some works by recently deceased 20th century composers.

Seven artists are featured on the festival, and they each give a full concert recital. Each artist performs in 10 different cities. If you live in one of the host cities, the festival consists of 7 concerts over the course of 2 weeks.

2018 is the first attempt of the festival. If successful, it will take place each year on the west coast, and it may expand to other regions.


As much as possible, the festival rents spaces from non-profits (community centers, arts centers, dance and play theatres, libraries, school district auditoriums, churches, etc.) so that we are indirectly supporting the communities in which the festival takes place. The festival tries to expand its reach by booking in a variety of locations in each community, outside of the academic structure where this music is often heard. We believe this music should be made as accessible as possible.


As a touring music series, we are not officially a part of the music scene in any of the communities. Unfortunately, there may be times when a festival concert takes place at the same time as an event presented by a local organization. As much as possible we will try to avoid this type of conflict, but due to the nature of scheduling a tour, this is often impossible to avoid.

As much as possible, the festival intends to partner with local presenting organizations with the common goal of creating more of an audience for contemporary classical music. If you are a presenting organization in any of the festival cities, please get in touch! We hope the festival will reach a new audience that will want to hear more live performances of contemporary classical music throughout the year. And we want to let them know about your organizations’ upcoming concerts!


SCNMF was founded by composer Scott Anthony Shell, who’s passion for this art form inspires its creation.