ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester is the recipient of a $31,000 grant from The New York State Music Fund for its Women in Music Festival 2007, an annual celebration of women involved in all aspects of music including composition, performance, teaching, scholarship and administration. The 2007 festival, set for March 26 – 30, is marking its third year and will for the first time feature a composer-in-residence. The festival offers performances of high artistic quality-all free and open to the public-for the benefit of students of several area colleges and universities and high schools and community members of all ages and arts interests.
The New York State Music Fund was created when the New York State Attorney General’s Office resolved investigations against major record companies that had violated state and federal laws prohibiting “pay for play” (also called “payola”).
The settlement agreement stipulated that funds paid by music businesses would support music education and appreciation for the benefit of New York State residents. The Attorney General’s Office enlisted the services of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, one of the nation’s largest and most experienced philanthropy services, to develop and manage the grant program.
“The Women in Music Festival integrates music written by women into the mainstream of music and into the consciousness of the general public,” says Sylvie Beaudette, Eastman School of Music Assistant Professor of Chamber Music and Accompanying, and Women in Music Festival Director.
A special evening event set for March 26 featuring the Rochester premiere of Atwood Songs, will launch this year’s festival. This song cycle for soprano and piano is written by Cuban-American composer and the festival’s first composer-in-residence, Tania León, and set to the poetry of Margaret Atwood. León’s new work, written specifically for this occasion, was co-commissioned by Eastman’s Hanson Institute for American Music and Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. As part of her residency, Ms. León will conduct master classes and lectures and attend rehearsals with Eastman, Rochester Institute of Technology and Syracuse University students including an evening master class facilitated by video-conference technology between Eastman and Syracuse students. She will also make a presentation to high school students from the Rochester City School District.
“This grant will make Atwood’s and León’s creative process accessible to many and give a more diverse audience a deeper appreciation for these living artists’ craft through use of technology of the day,” adds Beaudette.
The New York State Music Fund published guidelines and criteria and accepted grant applications in a number of categories, including music education and public performances of music by artists working in hip hop, reggae, fusion, jazz, classical and folk music of all cultures. Applications related to recording, distribution, or broadcast through traditional or new media were also eligible. Special emphasis was placed on reaching underserved populations and broadening awareness of artists, genres or styles with limited access to commercial broadcast or other mass distribution vehicles.
An Advisory Panel comprised of recognized leaders from a cross-section of the music world evaluated and recommended applications based on criteria focusing on artistic merit and community impact, and recommended 218 of 402 applications the Fund received for its second cycle.
Awards to the 218 grantees represent every region of New York State and range from $10,000 to $500,000. Diverse forms of popular or experimental music, including indie rock, salsa, electronic, fusion and reggae account for almost 37 percent of grants and more than 15 percent celebrate a spectrum of jazz; nearly 25 percent include new classical music. The state’s ethnic or racial minority communities are served by close to a third of all programs, while 28 percent specifically target rural communities. The Fund’s size and emphasis on music of our time in all its forms set it apart from other arts grant programs.
The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester educates talented musicians from around the world who become leaders and innovators in all fields of music. Established in 1921 by Eastman Kodak Company founder and visionary George Eastman, the School has achieved international prominence through its commitment to the highest standards of artistry, scholarship, and leadership.
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More information about the Women in Music Festival can be found at www.esm.rochester.edu/wmf.
Other Eastman School of Music Related NYSMF Grants Include:
Alarm Will Sound (Rochester) $21,000
To support the In Your Ear 2007 festival, presenting new compositions, techno remixes, improvisation and arrangements of pieces from a variety of styles and genres such as electronica, chamber music and fusion. Alarm Will Sound began as an Eastman student run ensemble, has enjoyed success as a professional group and has received rave reviews from such publications as the New York Times.
Hochstein School of Music & Dance (Rochester) $100,000
For Project 20/21, a program celebrating contemporary music designed to increase community outreach through collaborative programming and a series of contemporary music workshops, master classes and public performances, in collaboration with the Eastman School of Music, WXXI and WGMC.
Binghamton Philharmonic (Binghamton) $61,000
To commission and perform a new work by composer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Eastman Associate Professor of Composition, who will also serve as composer-in-residence for the 2007-08 season, focused on exploring classical music from Latin America.
Riverside Symphony (New York) $100,000
To support the commissioning, rehearsal, performance, recording and dissemination through radio and the Internet of Eastman Associate Professor of Composition Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon’s Silueta como sirena featuring Mexican pop vocalist Alfredo Sánchez and The Tarab Cello Ensemble; and Anthony Korf’s Symphony No. 3.