FY17 Challenge America

Grants to Orchestras

Application Deadline of April 14, 2016
Award Announced December 13, 2016

Some details of the projects listed below are subject to change, contingent upon prior Endowment approval.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, $10,000

To support Mahler: Resurrection and associated outreach activities. Proposed guest artists soprano Kristin Lewis and mezzo soprano Christin Marie Hill will lead workshops for student musicians and community members, held at schools and community venues serving economically, ethnically, and geographically underserved groups. Lewis and Hill will also perform as soloists in a public performance of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 2, Resurrection" by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, $10,000

To support a performance and educational outreach by trumpeter Rex Richardson. Richardson will perform a selection of classic and contemporary works with the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. He will also visit as many as four local schools serving rural, low-income, and Native American students to provide outreach such as performances and workshops.

Erie Philharmonic, $10,000

To support the presentation of a new work created by composer Philip Glass for performance by pianist Simone Dinnerstein, and associated activities. Guest artists will include Glass and Dinnerstein, with outreach activities such as lectures and school presentations, master classes, and recitals serving students in economically disadvantaged Erie public schools.

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, $10,000

To support the residency and collaboration of pianist Simone Dinnerstein with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Interactive performances of J.S. Bach's "Inventions" will be held for up to five Title I elementary public schools to connect the music of Bach to jazz, rap, techno, and other contemporary music. A culminating event will include a rehearsal and performance of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 21 and 23, to contribute to the musical education of a diverse population of students and their families who reside in an economically underserved area.

Georgia Symphony Orchestra, $10,000

To support a sensory-friendly concert performance. Featuring violinist John Irrera, the concert will provide access to the symphony for families and members of the community with autism. The program will include selected music and a safe environment for audience members who are sensory-sensitive, with a quiet room and an introduction to the instruments before the concert to help audience members connect with the music. The concert will provide a non-restrictive environment for members of the audience to engage with the music.

Grand Rapids Symphony, $10,000

To support the annual Symphony with Soul concert and related activities. The event will seek to bridge cultures through music, inviting participation by the African-American and Hispanic communities, with concert proceeds going to support the Mosaic Scholarship Fund. These scholarships are awarded to African-American and Hispanic students to provide instrumental training and mentoring by symphony musicians. Other project activities will include a series of community workshops that will videotaped and incorporated as a visual component with the concert. Guest artists will include the Grand Rapids Community Chorus, the GRS Mosaic Scholars, and a proposed artist, the rhythm and blues performer Lalah Hathaway.

Kansas City Symphony, $10,000

To support Celebration at the Station, a free, patriotic outdoor symphony concert. The performance will be presented in front of Union Station, a historic landmark in Kansas City, and will be broadcast live on television. A guest vocalist, instrumentalist, or actor will be selected for participation. Admission will be free to the public, drawing a broad cross-section of the population.

Las Vegas Philharmonic, $10,000

To support the Las Vegas Philharmonic Ensemble Music Community Education. The initiative will bring chamber groups of Philharmonic musicians to perform for senior communities and engage in question-and-answer sessions. Up to six performances are being scheduled for the 2016-17 season. Each performance is intended to serve older adults and residents with disabilities.

Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, $10,000

To support a free music outreach program serving members of the immigrant and refugee community. Members of Family Literacy, an English Language Learning program serving members of the immigrant and refugee community in Lincoln, Nebraska, will receive free tickets to music performances, as well as transportation to the concert venues. Audiences will take part in pre-concert talks, with translators, about concert etiquette, classical music history, and the instruments used, and engage in family activities prior to the performance, such as face painting, an instrument petting zoo, musical games, photo booths, and arts and crafts projects.

Mankato Symphony Orchestra, $10,000

To support Sephardic Journeys, an orchestral concert of Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) music in collaboration with rising composter/violinist Ittai Shapira. Performed by the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and featuring Shapira and cellist Tony Ross as soloists, the concert is intended to serve a growing immigrant community in Mankato, Minnesota, and facilitate understanding between the rapidly diversifying population. Supplementary activities will include visits to local schools, a panel discussion on music and the immigrant experience, and outreach work by the guest artists and symphony staff and musicians to bring awareness of the performance to rural and nontraditional communities.

Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, $10,000

To support the annual Free Concerts for Seniors performance series featuring musical theater artists Wendy Lehr and Gary Briggle, with related outreach activities. Concerts serving low-income older adults will be held at different community venues throughout Minneapolis such as the historic Nicollet Island Pavilion, Elliot Park, and the Como Dockside Pavilion. Older adults will receive free transportation to all concerts.

Minnesota Sinfonia, $10,000

To support a performance by violinist Itamar Zorman. The performance will include the debut of a new work by a Minnesota-based composer. Additional activities will include a master class, public radio interview, and meet-and-greet sessions with audience members. The targeted audience will consist of a predominantly minority population that is not currently served by the region's other professional orchestras.

South Bend Symphony Orchestra, $10,000

To support the MLK Day Concert. The performance will include a full-orchestra concert that will be led by African-American conductors Dr. Marvin Curtis and Chelsea Tipton, and feature soloist Maria Sanderson – a Sphinx Competition-winning violinist - and the Olivet AME Church Choir. The concert will take place at South Bend's oldest African-American church. The program is designed to feature outstanding young Black or Latino musicians to promote diversity in symphony orchestras. The concert is the finale of the citywide celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

Utah Philharmonic Orchestra, $10,000

To support the Four String Festival, and associated outreach activities. Guest artists the Fry Street Quartet will conduct sectionals, group ensemble, master classes, and a side-by-side concert with festival participants, as well as perform with the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra. Outreach activities for underserved youth from small, low-income Utah communities will include a string clinic for school-age students.

Youth Orchestras of Fresno, $10,000

To support the commissioning of "Coming Home," a large-scale orchestral inspired by the work of Fresno native William Saroyan. Composers will incorporate audience members' stories of home into the final full-orchestra performance. Exploring the meaning of home pieces will be composed for breakout performances in nontraditional spaces, giving accessibility for different audiences to engage and interact. The culminating event will incorporate collected and recorded stories about home, including immigrant experiences gathered from the preceding breakout performances, which will be weaved into the final performance.

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, $10,000

To support Mozart at the Opera. Soprano Blake Hill and baritone Zachary Gordin will visit local high school choirs to work with student singers and invite them to the culminating concert, with a focus on underserved, economically disadvantaged schools in the San Antonio area. Additional project activities will include choir residencies at local high schools, reaching at-risk students. The final concert will feature the guest soloists with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio. Selections from "The Magic Flute," "The Marriage of Figaro," "Don Giovanni," and Cesar Franck's "Symphony in D minor" will be performed.

Related Challenge America Grants

Moab Music Festival, $10,000

To support the Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration concert during the 25th-annual Moab Music Festival, with related activities. Guest artists will include the Fort Lewis College Chamber Choir, with conductor Michael Barrett and narrator Jaimie Bernstein. As part of the festival's education and community outreach program, an adapted version of the program "Who Was Leonard Bernstein?" will be presented at up to two assemblies for more than 700 Grand County students, grades 7-12.

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, $10,000

To support the 2017 Madison Chamber Music Festival. The project will bring together proposed artists such as Atlanta Symphony members Christopher Rex (principal cello) and David Coucheron (concertmaster), the Turtle Island Quartet, and jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut. The performances are intended to serve a rural community and will occur at a variety of community venues such as the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center and Madison's Town Park.