The Cumnock Tryst, which will make its inaugural appearance in October next year, is the brainchild of composer James MacMillan, who will be its artistic director, and its patron is violinist Nicola Benedetti.
MacMillan hails from the town and Benedetti comes from nearby West Kilbride.
It is partly styled on St Magnus, which was created in the 1970s on Orkney by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Yesterday's launch at Cumnock's Dumfries Arms Hotel revealed few details of who will be performing, but over 100 internationally-renowned artists will visit the town between October 2 and 5, 2014, and the full programme will be unveiled in the spring.
With local council leaders and representatives from the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments in attendance, the event emphasised the involvement of the community in the new festival, with Benedetti joining pupils from Greenmill Primary School as featured soloist in the musical performance that launched the festival.
"British composers are distinguished by their commitment to music in the community," said MacMillan. "I want this to be a mark of the Cumnock Tryst too."
Speaking at the opening of conference, Chamber Music Matters, at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in June 2012, MacMillan recounted how exposure to chamber music through the recitals arranged by Cumnock Music Club had formed a crucial part of his early musical education.
He and his wife Lynne have been working to create the new event, which will aim to use music to promote the regeneration the area.
The first year's programme, in what is intended to become an annual event, will focus on choral music and writing for brass and silver bands, both of which are part of the heritage of the Ayrshire town.
"Things change, but the embers are waiting to be fanned to life," said MacMillan. "If this works, I will devote my life to it."
MacMillan will write "at least one new piece" for the first Tryst, and there will be commissions from other composers. The festival will use five venues, including Cumnock Academy, whose jazz orchestra welcomed people to yesterday's event, and the function room where the launch was held, which was the venue for Cumnock Music Club recitals.
Local churches St John the Evangelist and Cumnock Old will host concerts, and there will be chamber music in nearby Dumfries House.