Headed by artistic director Mario Davidovsky from 1968 to 2019, the Composers Conference has played a pioneering role in the performance of new works by emerging composers. Founded in 1945 by Alan Carter at Middlebury College as the Composers’ Conference and Chamber Music Center, the Conference has served nearly eight hundred composers and many more amateur chamber musicians. It is the oldest and most respected program of its kind. Kurt Rohde became the Conference Artistic Director in 2019.
The list of Composer Conference Composer Fellows and Guest Composers is a virtual “who’s who” of composition, including: Roger Sessions, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Yu-Hui Chang, Jacob Druckman, John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Tania Leon, Donald Martino, David Rakowski, Shulamit Ran, Gunther Schuller, Joan Tower, George Walker, Ollie Wilson, Charles Wuorinen, Chen Yi, Augusta Read Thomas, David Lang, Steve Mackey, Aaron Einbond, Marek Poliks, Jason Eckardt, Peter Fahey, Eric Nathan, Kate Soper, David Sanford, Eric Wubbels, Alex Mincek, and hundreds more.
The Composers Conference hosts Composer Fellows, the Conference Ensemble, the Chamber Music Workshop and the Contemporary Performance Institute. Conductor James Baker has been Music Director of the Composers Conference Ensemble since 2008. Jessica Tong became director of the Chamber Music Workshop in 2016. The Contemporary Performance Institute was inaugurated in 2016, with Fred Sherry as director. Beginning in 2019, Margaret Kampmeier became the Director of the Contemprary Performance Institute, and Kurt Rohde became the Composers Conference Artistic Director succeeding Mario Davidovsky.