For the past five years, the Nief-Norf Summer Festival has featured an academic conference within the larger 14-day festival. As part of the festival, dozens of performers, composers, festival faculty, and participating scholars attend these research gatherings. Conference topics have included the music of John Cage (2012), Music and Technology (2013), Music and/as Process (2014), Music as Theater (2015), Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical Music (2016), and the Sixth International Conference on Music and Minimalism (2017). 

For the 2018 Nief-Norf Summer Festival the topic is New Asia: an exploration of the geographic, cultural and musical situation of Asia in the global community of contemporary music. The conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 15-16, 2018 and will feature a keynote presentation and three concerts by the festival performers featuring works by composers including Sidney Marquez Boquiren, Carolyn Chen, and Christopher Adler, as well as winning selections from the Call for Scores. The Call for Papers invites submissions from scholars, composers and performers.