With the creation of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, Askim founded a festival dedicated to the next generation of performers, composers and choreographers. Founded in 2013, the Festival encourages young artists, ages 20-30, to focus on artistic development, entrepreneurial career strategies and the music of living composers. The Next Festival Composer and Composer/Choreographer workshops connect early-career performers, composers and choreographers in innovative and highly collaborative laboratory for the creation of new works. The Festival has been awarded grants by the Amphion, ASCAP and BMI foundations, and the Copland Fund for Music. Immediately recognizing the devastation of the COVID pandemic on young artists, he began providing free workshops, masterclasses and resources to support young artists through challenging times beginning in March of 2020. Through the Festival, he has presented over 75 Guest Artists, including Pulitzer, Grammy, and MacArthur award winners.
With the Raleigh Civic Orchestras, Askim has pioneered collaborative, multimedia concert events focused on social and environmental justice and has programmed a newly-commissioned world premiere on each concert for the last seven seasons. Themes have included Martin Luther King, Jr.’s North Carolina “I Have A Dream” speech and a work for Virtual Reality and orchestra highlighting the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Voting Rights Act. During the pandemic, Askim premiered nine new works by composers harnessing latency and technology in innovative approaches to distance collaboration. Under his direction, the orchestras have received multiple grants recognizing diversity in programming, including from New Music USA and the Women’s Philharmonic Association.