Department of Music

Music Festivals at CNU

The Department of Music offers exciting music festivals throughout the year, bringing to campus hundreds of talented high school students and their directors to work with the world’s leading composers, conductors, ensembles, performers and scholars. These festivals are listed below in order of their appearance on the academic calendar.

Band Day (October)
The Marching Captains invite one to three outstanding high school marching bands to campus to join us in POMOCO Stadium, present their field show and perform in the stands.

Piano Day (November)
An outstanding opportunity for high school pianists to hear recitals from Christopher Newport faculty and guest artists, engage in masterclasses with world-renowned pianists, and compete for inclusion in the grand finale recital.

Honors Wind Ensemble (January)
Each year, high school band directors from around Virginia nominate their 10 most outstanding musicians to participate in this highly select honor band. Unlike other honor bands, the Honors Wind Ensemble features a professional wind band conductor from Europe presenting new and challenging works by European composers.

Choral Invitational (February)
In collaboration with the Ferguson Center for the Arts, two to three outstanding high school choirs spend a day at Christopher Newport, including performing in a masterclass with the director of a world-renowned choral ensemble, dining that evening at CNU and attending the evening concert by that ensemble.

Woodwind Day (February)
An all-day event including concerts, recitals and masterclasses for flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone and horn. Features CNU woodwind faculty and guest artists.

Contemporary Music Festival (March)
This festival is a three-day event, including a concert by the featured guest composer, a concert featuring outstanding works for faculty soloists and ensembles, a concert of works by Christopher Newport student composers, and lectures and individual composition lessons by the guest composer. A special feature of the festival is a competition for high school student composers, including a performance of the winning work.

Young Composer Competition (March)
The Young Composer Competition is a prestigious contest for outstanding high school composers. The winning composition is performed as part of the Christopher Newport Contemporary Music Festival.

Guitar Festival (March)
The Christopher Newport University and Newport News Public Schools Guitar Festival is a unique performance and educational opportunity for high school guitar students to work with world-renowned guitarists and composers of guitar music. The event features clinical feedback from guest clinicians, masterclass opportunities, collaborative performance experiences, and the opportunity to see performances from other high school guitar ensembles and master guitarists. The event has become an annual tradition, demonstrating the University’s commitment to the musical arts and the community.

Torggler Summer Vocal Institute (July)
The nationally renowned Torggler Summer Vocal Institute (TSVI) features the country’s most outstanding high school vocal talent (rising juniors and seniors). Limited to 35 participants, TSVI presents world-renowned artists, ensembles, and pedagogues in the areas of classical voice and music theater. Riverside Performing Arts Medicine, an active partner with TSVI, provides medical experts in the areas of vocal physiology, vocal health, and performance anxiety in addition to workshops and lectures by Christopher Newport faculty in the areas of dance, acting, yoga and audition strategies.

For more information regarding the events listed above, please contact Elise Rose, music program coordinator, by email at or by phone at (757) 594-8785.

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