Thursday, January 3, 2013

NEA Grants for Orchestras Help Increase Access to Classical Music

Sphinx Laureate Elena Urioste will perform with the National Philharmonic Orchestra March 2, 2013

League of American Orchestras
New York, NY (January 3, 2012) – Recently announced National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works (Part One) and Challenge America grants totaling nearly $1.7 million focus on upcoming programs that orchestras have created to increase access for underserved populations and engage new audiences.

These orchestra programs vary widely, from educational or engagement initiatives for economically disadvantaged children, the disabled or the elderly; to the use of technology or culturally-aware programming in and out of the concert hall to reach a wider audience.

“NEA grants enable orchestras to better serve their communities with music,” said League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen, “both by supporting these innovative projects and by stimulating giving from other sources like private foundations, corporations, and individual contributors.”   

The full list of FY13 Art Works (Part One) and Challenge America grants, with project descriptions, can be found here. 

Orchestras of all budget sizes across the country were awarded the grants, which were in the amount of $10,000 to $100,000 (all Challenge America grants were in the amount of $10,000, while Art Works (Part One) grants varied in amount). Art Works (Part One) grants totaled $1,450,000 for 42 distinct orchestra projects while Challenge America grants totaled $240,000 for 24 orchestra projects. Future FY13 grants will be announced for Art Works (Part Two) in 2013.

A sampling of innovative orchestral programs funded by these NEA grants include:

  • The Texas premiere in November 2013 (date tba) of a new concerto for electric violin composed by Kenji Bunch and featuring Youth Orchestra of San Antonio and soloist Tracy Silverman. Both Bunch and Silverman will lead free workshops for economically disadvantaged youth in elementary, middle and high schools; young string players who participate in the Orchestra’s free, daily after-school music program and their families will also receive complimentary tickets to the concert.
  • A National Philharmonic Orchestra concert on March 2, 2013 featuring violinist Elena Urioste, who will also provide master classes for students at William E. Doar Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts, in Washington DC’s Ward Five.
  • Concerts for a variety of populations, including adults with disabilities and elementary students, by the Adrian Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), as well as a free rehearsal open to the public in advance of the orchestra’s all-Beethoven concert on April 20, 2013,
  • A series of performances by Great Falls Symphony and percussionist Evelyn Glennie, including a program for residents at the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, an open rehearsal for university and high school students, workshops at high schools, and a concert on April 27, 2013.
  • Multimedia effects such as visual projections and installations will be featured in concerts given by San Francisco Symphony (Beethoven’s Missa solemnis on May 10 and 11, 2013), Erie Philharmonic (a birthday tribute to Wagner on January 26, 2013, with images from Western Pennsylvania graphic novelists projected above the orchestra), and Mid Texas Symphony (a multimedia performance of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and Holst’s The Planets, including a slideshow of planet photography assembled by an astrophysicist – date tba).
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