Friday, September 13, 2013

'CutTime Wins Knight Arts Challenge Support!'; CutTime Simfonica Plays Works of Black American Composers Nov. 3 at National Gallery of Art

September 13, 2013 

Hello again!      

I've been closing a lot of circles since I resigned from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in January. I began with DSO as a substitute, became a member thru bizarre circumstances and now I'm closing that career as a sub again: full circle, matching bookends, whatever you wanna call it. Now I'm on the road half the year and staying with friends I haven't seen since high school, then those circles close too. 

The most important circle however began in 1994, when I learned of Magic of Music initiative by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It was an intensive investment to leverage change in American orchestras for engaging their wider communities to build new audiences. Recently, they have been able to open up such community-engagement investments to artistic enterprises such as CutTime®. And we are delighted, among 55 other entities, to have won $30,000 from the Knight Foundation for expanding the effective services which CutTime has developed. The big circle is closing.

The Knight Foundation grant and matching funding will produce a year of our Classical Revolution Detroit series (CRD), 3 times each month with paid musicians, marketing and other professional services. This will empower us to go much further into places where people discover other great music and demonstrate how classical mirrors us all. CutTime's 3 ensembles will be the house band for half of these open jam format events, often performing actual symphonic music.

This project can begin shortly after matching funds from local foundations, corporations and donors are deposited with the sponsoring non-profit fiscal agent, The Miami Foundation. The time to find matching funding now begins. On budget of $73,000, we will need $38,000 to begin services. We will set up a convenient online crowd-funding campaign this fall. But please contact me directly if you are interested to become a major sponsor or donor. Oh HAPPY day... when we have generous friends who want to help us change the world! (Press release)

In other exciting news, the string sextet CutTime Simfonica will have a debut in Washington DC November 6 noon at the National Gallery of Arts with a program of black American composers, including two of my own works. Other performances around that will have us at 2 churches, 2 schools and at least one club. Watch for details at the website, which will be upgraded at end of this month.

I've been chosen to speak at the 2nd SphinxCon on February 22nd, during the annual Sphinx Competition. SphinxCon is a new event for national discussion around issues of diversity in the arts. The title of my speech is Beyond Dumbing Down. Watch the calendar for the exact time. I also look forward to playing in the Sphinx Competition Orchestra.

I am still subbing a lot with Grand Rapids Symphony. The GR chapter of Classical Revolution we started last year continues to grow, as the public, GRS musicians, staffers and even its music director take notice and participate! Our hope is to find funding for more consistent events around more of this vibrant city (full of craft beer). Our next event is Sept. 25 (W) 7p at the Speak EZ Lounge.

Recent classical music festivals in Lake George and Rochester, NY were also very successful artistically. I led 6 Art Attack events in the Lake George tourist district and a Simfonica concert was broadcast from the deck bar thru the restaurant system and out to a beach with our own PA system. An Art Attack is like a flash mob or a Random Act of Music, but less stealthy. Classical works almost anywhere with the right context.

This summer's New Center Park series by Midtown Detroit was a mixed success. We had light turnouts for the 12 programmed, one-hour events. The weather was pleasant, but the winds and traffic noise were at times problematic despite excellent amplification! Fortunately the lessons learned here are fueling improvements for the immediate future.

We'll be finally launching a new website via Wordpress by the end of this month. It will feature a cleaner look, embedded videos and some very thought-provoking questions we've been trying to answer for specific stakeholders.

Many other concerts, tours, workshops and projects are in development. Watch this space in coming months as they become solid.

Life is short... make it count!



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