WILLIAMSTOWN

Young musicians using altered instruments, video collages and spoken words will push the boundaries of contemporary sounds in a three-day festival of adventurous new music from around the globe, starting tonight at Williams College's ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance.

I/O Fest ‘13 will feature five concerts with several world premieres, the music of 20 composers, and performances by the I/O Ensemble and IOTA, and special guests Contemporaneous, Paul de Jong, and Melissa St. Pierre.

All events, organized by the Williams music department, are free and open to the public.

Neither tickets nor reservations are required.

Tonight, composer, cellist, and audio scavenger Paul de Jong will present a first peek into his forthcoming solo show "Mild Stimulants," featuring recent compositions and several premieres.

De Jong performs on cello and arpeggione, a six-string instrument that is bowed like a cello, but shares many characteristics with the guitar. He manipulates live loops, spoken word, and his signature samples and mixes this with video collages.

Melissa St. Pierre will bring a "prepared" piano -- one that has been physically altered to produce different sounds than the standard instrument. Her program ties recent centennial celebrations of the composer John Cage to the music and technology of today.

Friday features the I/O Ensemble presenting music by living composers and three world premieres that probe the far corners corners of contemporary music.

Saturday's program includes the annual "Out of the Box" concert in the glass dance studio of the ‘62 Center.

Members of the festival's resident ensembles perform small ensemble and solo works. Titled "Syntax of Snow," the works take advantage of the glass-walled performance space and its view of the wintry scene outside.

I/O Fest ‘13 will conclude with IOTA, a student-run group of Williams musicians, and special guests Contemporaneous, a New York-based new music ensemble.