Audience members look on as members of Decoda perform in Memorial Chapel during the 2021 Decoda Chamber Music Festival.
Members of Decoda perform at Memorial Chapel during the 2021 Decoda Chamber Music Festival. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

The Decoda Chamber Music Festival, a two-week immersive music program for college-aged musicians from around the country, will return to Lawrence University in Appleton for a second year. The festival will include multiple public concerts in late July as well as collaborations with the Mile of Music festival in early August.

Now in its ninth year, the Decoda Chamber Music Festival relocated to Appleton from the East Coast a year ago. Presented by the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and the musical collective Decoda, it will run from July 24 to Aug. 5, with about 30 pre-professional artists receiving training and collaborating on a series of performances on and off the Lawrence campus.

Michael Mizrahi performs on the piano at Memorial Chapel during the 2021 festival.
Michael Mizrahi performs on piano with Decoda during the 2021 Mile of Music.

All of the concerts will be free and open to the public.

The festival will bring internationally known artists to Appleton to present master classes and provide other training for the participating students, helping to fulfill Decoda’s mission to “create a more compassionate and connected world through music.”

“The Decoda Chamber Music Festival is one of the premiere chamber music festivals in the country, and it is such a great testament to Lawrence and Appleton to have had Decoda choose to run its festival right here,” said Michael Mizrahi, the Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music in the Conservatory of Music and a founding member of Decoda. “Between Mile of Music and the Decoda Chamber Music Festival, Appleton is acting as a worldwide hub for musicians from diverse backgrounds.”

Eight of the 30 participating students attend Lawrence.


    This summer program will help advanced students grow their instrumental music skills.

    “Working with these young artists is a highlight of the year for me, as they represent such a bright future for the arts in this country,” Mizrahi said.

    Festival faculty include Catherine Gregory, flute; Alicia Lee, clarinet; Brad Balliett, bassoon; Clara Lyon, violin; Nate Schram, viola; Claire Bryant, cello; Kris Saebo, double bass; and Michael Mizrahi, piano.

    Public performances are set for:

    • 7 p.m. July 23: Decoda Pre-Festival Concert, Gibson Community Music Hall
    • 5:30 p.m. July 25: Decoda with special guest Becca Stevens, Riverview Gardens
    • 7-9 p.m. July 28: Decoda Masterclass, Memorial Chapel
    • 7 p.m. July 29: Decoda in Concert, Memorial Chapel
    • 7 p.m. July 30: Decoda Chamber Music Festival Young Artists, Memorial Chapel
    • 1 p.m. July 31: Decoda Chamber Music Festival Young Artists, Memorial Chapel
    Musicians perform on the Memorial Chapel stage during the 2021 festival.
    Decoda's faculty and students will again collaborate with Mile of Music for a series of public performances.

    Decoda is collaborating with Mile of Music during the second week, with the students designing their own 50-minute sets and working with Mile of Music artists in creating original arrangements and compositions, Mizrahi said. Mile of Music, an all-original music festival in its ninth year, runs from Aug. 4 to 7 in downtown Appleton.

    Decoda’s Mile of Music performances include:

    • 11 a.m. Aug. 4: Decoda in Concert, Memorial Chapel
    • 11 a.m. Aug. 5: Young Artists featuring B. Lilly, Hilton Paper Valley Hotel
    • 1 p.m. Aug. 5: Young Artists featuring Adriel Denae, Riverview Gardens
    • 3 p.m. Aug. 5: Young Artists featuring Wade Fernandez, Heid Music

    Decoda was founded in 2012 by musicians who first collaborated as members of Ensemble Connect, a two-year fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. You can find more information about the Decoda Chamber Music Festival at