Advocacy and Government

Senate Committee Passes Education Bill

May 1, 2015

At the end of April, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions passed the Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177), a bipartisan bill which would reauthorize the nation’s federal education law for the first time since 2001.  Three key policy changes requested in more than 400 communications to the Senate from orchestras were addressed during full Committee consideration.  A definition of core academic subjects was added to the bill, including “arts” and “music.”  The bill also supports the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, and provides an authorization for activities currently funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program.  The next step is for this bill to go to the Senate floor. Despite the Committee’s unanimous approval of the bill, full consideration by the Senate will involve debate over many amendments. 

In the meantime, there has been no movement on the House’s version of the education bill, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) since February, when a scheduled vote failed to take place due to sufficient support of the bill. New amendments may be offered, which could revive consideration of the House bill.

House to Debate this Week! Tell Your U.S. Rep to Support NEA in FY16

June 24, 2015

NEA Funding Bill Up for House Debate

For the first time since 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider the Interior funding bill this Thursday, which includes the budget allocation for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The bill before the House, H.R. 2822, currently includes level funding for the NEA at $146 million. The House will debate any amendments to the bill on Thursday, but will delay votes until after the July 4 recess. The broader bill is subject to spending caps that make many programs vulnerable to cuts, and a variety of amendments are possible during the debate. The NEA is still recovering from budget cuts in prior years, is well below the 1992 peak funding level, and is an essential investment in our nation’s artistic and creative capacity. Now is a critical opportunity for all advocates to speak up!
Please take a moment to visit our streamlined advocacy center on NEA funding, and personalize an email to your Representative by providing a few key details about the impact of NEA funding on your community’s access to live performances, arts education, and cultural vibrancy. Emphasize that the agency needs the full funding recommended by the House Appropriations Committee this year and remind your Representative how essential the arts are to the health of your district!
ACT TODAY: Urge your Representative to Support and Protect the NEA’s FY16 Budget

Your U.S. Rep. is Key to Next Step in FY16 NEA Funding Process

June 11, 2015

Special Alert!  Your U.S. Rep. is Key to Next Step in FY16 NEA Funding Process

On Tuesday, June 16, the House Appropriations Committee will debate a bill that includes the FY16 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This step follows the House Interior Subcommittee's recommendation on June 10 of $146 million for the NEA. Your member of Congress serves on the House Appropriations Committee and will play a key role in determining this year's NEA funding level.

The total pool of funds available for the committee to allocate to various accounts is subject to budget caps that make all non-defense spending vulnerable to reductions. Orchestras and the broader arts community are requesting an FY16 budget of $155 million for the NEA.

The League advocates on behalf of orchestras in support of NEA funding throughout the year. In March, we joined with Opera America to bring Melia Tourangeau, President & CEO of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera to testify before the House Interior Subcommittee, and the next month, the League submitted its annual written testimony to the Senate, highlighting the work of orchestra grantees throughout the country. Throughout the year, we encourage orchestra advocates to tell their members of Congress how the NEA provides critical funding for projects that increase access to music in communities nationwide.

There is a small window of time for Congress to pass its funding bills, and the House Subcommittee deliberation is the first opportunity to weigh in directly with the influential members who will set the tone for the NEA's FY16 budget allocation. Please use the League's online Advocacy Center to tell your Representative how important NEA funding is to your community and to the nation. Your voice matters!

Click Here to Contact Your Member of Congress Today!

Latest NEA Grants Support Orchestra Educational Programming, Community Engagement and More

May 18, 2015

2nd Round FY15 NEA Grants Support Orchestra Educational Programming, Community Engagement, and More

Communities throughout the nation will be engaging with orchestral music, supported by Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA’s second round of FY15 Art Works support includes 43 direct grants to orchestras totaling $1,062,500, as well as numerous grants for related projects. Grantees will offer training programs for student musicians and school teachers, free concerts, family programming, artist residencies, new commissions, premieres, national and regional tours, broadcasts and digital archiving, and collaborations with local organizations. In addition to providing direct funding, NEA awards, which require a minimum one-to-one match of federal funds, stimulate on average a return of at least nine dollars to one from other state, local, and private sources.

The League submits written testimony to Congress in support of NEA funding every year, provides orchestras with customized tips for applying for an NEA grant, and complies the project descriptions for grants awarded to orchestras and projects related to the orchestra field. Complete lists of grant amounts and project descriptions for awards in all disciplines may be found on the NEA website in a state-by-state listing or a discipline/field listing. In addition, the NEA maintains an online grant search system which allows members of the public to search all of the NEA's grants since 2000 using a variety of attributes to customize search results.

View Orchestra Project Descriptions

FY16 NEA Grant Application Deadline

The NEA’s next application deadline is July 23, 2015 for Art Works, Part 2 (FY16 support). Members attending the League’s national Conference this May have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an NEA music specialist to discuss the grant process. Appointments have already been filled at this point, but Conference attendees can check at the League’s Registration area for last minute availability due to possible on-site cancelations. Prospective applicants are always welcome to consult one-on-one with music specialists throughout the year.

Read the League’s Tips for Orchestras Preparing an FY16 Application

Share Your Story: Help the NEA Celebrate 50 Years of the Arts!

This year is the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. To mark the occasion, the NEA is welcoming stories from all corners of the country that tell how the arts have influenced your life or have inspired you in some way. Beginning September 29, the NEA will begin posting stories on its website. The NEA is currently accepting submissions of narratives, video, and/or audio.

Submit Your Arts Story Today

FY15 Art Works (Part 2)

Grants to Orchestras

Application Deadline of July 24, 2014
Awards Announced May 6, 2015

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

Alabama Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support a statewide tour. Project plans will include performances, school programs, instrument petting zoos, and distribution of teacher guides. Repertoire for the concerts may include excerpts from Stravinsky's "The Firebird" or Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. The selection of tour venues will focus on underserved communities that do not have direct access to a professional orchestra.

American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, $15,000
To support the Chamber Ensemble Program. The project will comprise a residency with the Ensemble da Camera of Washington, D.C., which will lead coaching sessions, conduct free public master classes, and present concerts. Chamber ensembles will be formed with students from the orchestra's most advanced youth ensembles. The student ensembles will receive ongoing coaching, master class critiques, and will perform with the musicians of Ensemble da Camera.

Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, $15,000
To support Young People's Concerts. In an effort to inspire participation in school instrumental music programs, concerts will take place for elementary school students. Working in collaboration with Anchorage School District music educators, the orchestra will create study materials for classroom instructors. Teacher workshops also will be offered to prepare students for the concert experience.

Apollo's Fire, $35,000
To support a national tour of concerts and educational activities. Titled The Power of Love, the program will feature dramatic and rarely performed opera arias by Handel and Vivaldi as well as concertos performed on period instruments. In addition to performances in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, tour venues may include university settings in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Educational activities may comprise master classes, a children's concert, and a university educational residency.

Austin Symphony Orchestra, $25,000
To support the Connecting with Music: Austin Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative. The project will focus on the theme Romeo and Juliet: The Nature of Conflict. Project plans will include training for teachers and musician teaching artists, in-school workshops by teaching artists, and high school concerts. Repertoire may feature Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy" and selections from Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet Suite Nos. 1 and 2" and Bernstein's "West Side Story."

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, $50,000
To support OrchKids: Planting Seeds for a Bright Future program. A free choral and instrumental instruction program in Baltimore City Public Schools, the project will serve as a national model for El Sistema in the United States. Professional musicians will provide year-round, in-school, and after-school music training to prekindergarten through high school students in Title I schools in Baltimore. Program components will include early childhood music classes, a Bucket Band, choir classes, Jazz Band, chamber music ensembles, and field trips for students and their families to attend professional concerts. A summer session will provide music instruction and academic tutoring each July.

Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, $15,000
To support the Music in the Schools initiative. Project plans will include classroom visits by musicians, curriculum guides for teachers, school concerts with students rehearsing and performing side-by-side with orchestra musicians, and Family Concerts. The orchestra staff will work in collaboration with Berkeley Unified School District music teachers and staff to plan overall themes, select repertoire, and ensure the initiative aligns with state and national educational standards.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, $60,000 (media arts grant)
To support CSO Sounds and Stories. The initiative is a media portal through which audiences can listen to concerts, podcasts, commentary, and radio broadcasts. Specific content includes livestreaming of concerts and "Beyond the Score," an educational program with the intent of demystifying classical music. CSO Sounds and Stories also comprises radio broadcasts, artist interviews, and program notes about the season's concerts, festivals, and themes. In addition to the website (www.cso.org), portal content is available through social media and mobile applications, and streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, $15,000
To support the Music Pathways In-School Residency Program. The project is a professional development program serving elementary Chicago Public Schools. Classroom teachers, teacher artists, and administrators will meet in the summer to create lesson plans developed for the specific needs of each school. Professional development, classroom residencies and concerts, and assessment will take place during the school year. The orchestra developed the Music Pathways In-School Residency Program using the Orff Schulwerk teaching model that builds musicianship through singing, playing instruments, speech, and movement. The project will identify schools in low-income neighborhoods that are interested in partnering.

Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, $10,000
To support Adventures in Music education concerts including a new commission by composer David Ott. The new work will be scored for nine instruments with a narrator. Adventures in Music is a new initiative intended to reach students aged five through eight, an age group not currently served by the orchestra's educational and outreach programs. The work will be performed in conjunction with a hands-on, meet-and-greet session with the musicians. Teacher materials will be developed such as lesson plans, suggested classroom activities, and recordings.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, $20,000
To support a touring program. Concerts and educational programs will take place in rural communities in Texas such as Aledo, Brownwood, Glen Rose, Graham, Killeen, Mansfield, Mesquite, Southlake, Stephenville, and Waxahachie, all within a 150-mile radius of Fort Worth. In preparation for the educational concerts, teachers will receive curriculum materials. The tour of performances of standard orchestral repertoire will be conducted by Assistant Conductor Daniel Black.

Gateway Chamber Orchestra, $10,000
To support a family and children's concert series. Programs will be based on George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and Alberto Ginastera's "Variaciones Concertantes." Pianist Jeffrey Biegel will be the featured soloist in "Rhapsody in Blue." Artists Kell Black and Barry Jones will create animated children's drawings, original animation, and live video. The family concerts will be preceded by children's activities including guided craft projects related to the concert music and an instrument petting zoo.

Grant Park Music Festival, $30,000
To support the Grant Park Music Festival. The free summer festival will take place in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and at venues throughout Chicago. Performances will feature the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus as well as guest artists. Educational activities will consist of open rehearsals, pre-concert lectures, mentorship opportunities for pre-professional musicians, and a Young Artists Showcase by student ensembles. Programming will include the world premiere of a newly commissioned work for orchestra and chorus by composer Kenji Bunch, accompanied by a weeklong residency; a residency with composer Douglas Cuomo, featuring a concert of his vocal works; Elgar's "The Kingdom;" and the Festival premiere of James MacMillan's "Quickening."

Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, $15,000
To support family concerts. Project plans will include full orchestral concerts with related educational and outreach activities such as complimentary tickets for at-risk students and families, transportation to concerts, and preparatory educational materials for teachers. Other activities will comprise OrKIDStra community concerts for at-risk preschoolers at venues such as the Greensboro Science Center, the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, and the International Civil Rights Center.

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, $30,000
To support the 317 Series of concerts and educational activities by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Named for central Indiana's area code, the series will present full orchestra concerts in outlying, underserved communities along with related educational events and neighborhood activities. Performance opportunities will be developed for orchestra musicians such as performing as guest soloists with school orchestras. Educational activities will include master classes, sectional rehearsals with orchestra musicians, audition workshops, and preconcert Behind the Music discussion sessions.

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, $15,000  
To support the Artists-in-Residence program. The music education program for pre-kindergarten through high school students will provide in-school and after-school learning experiences. Project activities will include inschool residencies with professional orchestra musicians at partner public schools, youth concert performances in the schools, "Musical Storybooks" performances in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Public Library, and a chamber music family concert series. The project also will feature private instruction for advanced music students as well as music coaching and career guidance for the students of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra.

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support Sound Discovery, a community engagement program. The project involves open rehearsals, Music Discovery Performances for high school students, and an instrument lending program. Other project activities will include a library pass program offering free concert tickets for families, instrument petting zoos for elementary school students, master classes for students in high schools and universities, and a student concerto competition.

Madison Symphony Orchestra, $20,000
To support HeartStrings, a community outreach project. With the training and participation of certified therapists, the orchestra's Rhapsodie String Quartet will offer residency programs and perform interactive recitals for underserved and special-needs communities. Locations will include healthcare facilities, retirement communities, and state-run institutions throughout Dane County, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, $20,000
To support a string training and orchestral program for underserved youth. The Progressions program will provide free music education, private lessons, and performance opportunities for children from underserved communities who live in or attend school in the City of Milwaukee. The project will include jazz improvisation and a three-day intensive summer music camp. One of the program's primary goals is acceptance into the audition-based ensembles of the orchestra as students graduate from the program.

The Minnesota Orchestra, $50,000
To support a community engagement project. The initiative, Common Chords Detroit Lakes, is a partnership with the community of Detroit Lakes, located approximately 205 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Through a weeklong residency, the orchestra will perform free concerts and participate in engagement activities ranging from outreach performances by the orchestra's chamber music ensembles to educational workshops. Activities will take place at venues such as the Historic Holmes Theatre, Detroit Lakes Middle School, the Little Detroit Lake Pavilion, Holy Rosary Church, the Detroit Lakes Public Library, as well as the Ecumen Detroit Lakes Nursing Home and the Lodge on Detroit Lakes.

Muncie Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support Together in Music, a community engagement project. The orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor Douglas Droste, will perform free full orchestra and chamber concerts with related educational programs in underserved communities. Programming will include a Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Concert and a concert for toddlers and their families. Activities will include open rehearsals, interactive workshops, and residencies in venues such as schools, libraries, community centers, stores, daycare centers, and health centers.

New World Symphony, $50,000 (media arts grant)
To support the online classical music portal MUSAIC. Curated content on MUSAIC will feature video recordings of master classes, orchestral excerpts, how-to lessons, and performances. As an interactive music education platform, MUSAIC users will be able to initiate conversations with select teachers and students who are featured on the website.

New York Philharmonic, $40,000
To support the New York Philharmonic's School Partnership Program, a standards-based music education program in New York City public schools. The program will engage elementary students at partner schools through year-long, in-school residencies with Philharmonic teaching artists. Students will get the chance to attend a New York Philharmonic School Day concert in Avery Fisher Hall and in-school chamber music concerts. The program also will offer a variety of opportunities for student performance and composition as well as extensive professional development and curriculum resource materials for classroom teachers and school administrators.

New York Philharmonic, $75,000 (media arts grant)
To support "The New York Philharmonic This Week." Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the New York Philharmonic weekly broadcasts will feature performances, behind-the-scenes segments, and interviews with Maestro Alan Gilbert, guest soloists and conductors, Philharmonic musicians, and others who can give the listening audience background and context for the musical program. Previous broadcasts have included the work of Mahler, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Bartok, and Ellington. Guest artists have included Joshua Bell, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Debora Voight.

Omaha Symphony, $20,000
To support an educational outreach program throughout Omaha. Titled Omaha Symphony Community Engagement Initiatives, the project will comprise numerous educational activities and events through partnerships with the Omaha Conservatory of Music (OCM), Omaha Public Schools, and Salvation Army Kroc Center. The orchestra will be a key partner in the OCM's Violin Sprouts program for pre-school children and will work closely with instructors and musicians involved in free orchestral concerts at the Kroc Center and Omaha Public Schools.

Orchestra 2001, $10,000
To support a performance touring project. The orchestra will perform a program titled America's Folk Music Transformed: George Crumb's "American Songbook" at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other concert venues in states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The concerts will feature artists such as soprano Ann Crumb (the composer's daughter) and baritone Randall Scarlata performing Songbook #6 "Voices from the Morning of the Earth," a nine-movement work based on American folk music ranging from the African-American spiritual and Ozark folk tunes to popular folk music by Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. The project will reach out to traditional and non-traditional audiences, including rural community centers.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, $50,000
To support a performance touring project. The chamber orchestra will present diverse programming during a national tour and will be joined by guest artists such as pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, violinist Augustin Hadelich, cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang, and violinist, violist, conductor, and pedagogue Pinchas Zukerman. Orchestra musicians will conduct in-school classroom visits with partner public schools throughout the tour. The project will engage audiences through live performances in states such as California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Orchestra, $70,000
To support Free Neighborhood Concerts and PlayINs. The orchestra will perform free concerts and conduct ancillary activities in several Philadelphia locations, such as the Great Plaza on Penn's Landing, reaching underserved audiences. Programming will be conducted by Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Associate Conductor Cristian Macelaru. In addition, an interactive initiative called PlayINs for musicians of all ages and all skill levels will be offered for specific instruments. Piloted in 2012, the first PlayIN engaged 200 community cello players at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Since the inaugural event, the orchestra has conducted PlayINs for violin, woodwinds, harp, brass, and double bass.

Philharmonic Society, $10,000
To support the Discovery Series. The series of artist residencies will feature performances and educational activities by chamber ensembles and emerging musicians. The residencies will feature artists such as eighth blackbird, the Meccorre String Quartet, cellist Julie Albers, pianist Orion Weiss, instrumentalist, composer, and conductor Jordi Savall, and harpist Andrew Lawrence-King. Activities will include master classes, a composer symposium, workshops, clinics, classroom visits, and performances in diverse venues.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, $20,000 (media arts grant)
To support a digital archive portal. The portal includes a fully searchable performance history directory with hundreds of digitally preserved performance recordings, numerous oral history interviews, and records from the Pittsburgh Symphony's 118-year history. Content and project developments related to the Archives Portal will be featured on Pittsburgh Symphony Radio. The project will also incorporate educational activities through established Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra programs.

Plano Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support an educational outreach program. The orchestra's School Concert Education Program will engage and educate students throughout the region through concerts and a classroom presentation toolkit with music audio clips. Orchestra musicians also will visit students prior to performances and distribute concert programs. Students will experience live performances by the orchestra with Music Director Hector Guzman at the Charles W. Eisemann Performing Arts Center in Richardson, Texas.

Post-Classical Ensemble, $30,000
To support the orchestra's American Music Residency at the National Gallery of Art. The multifaceted project will include performances, films, a recording, and educational events, conducted by Music Director Angel Gil-Ordonez and directed by Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz, as part of a season-long American Music Festival. Residency activities will include concerts of works by American composers such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Lou Harrison, Bernard Herrmann, Thelonious Monk, and Daniel Schnyder, as well as screenings of films scored by Herrmann such as "Citizen Kane," "Vertigo," "The Trouble with Harry," "Obsession," and "Psycho." The orchestra will perform the world premiere of a new concerto for pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-fen by composer-in-residence and saxophonist Schnyder (a co-commission with Pacific Symphony) and will record Harrison's works for percussion on the Naxos label.

San Diego Youth Symphony, $30,000
To support an effort to expand access to music education for Chula Vista students. A communitywide initiative of the San Diego Youth Symphony's Community Opus Project, an El Sistema-inspired program, the project will develop long-term sustainability for in-school music instruction by hiring a school district instrument specialist, providing musical instruments, linking in-school and after-school music programs, and documentation of best practices. With project partners Chula Vista Elementary School District and the VH-1 Save the Music Foundation, the symphony has created an opportunity to bolster public school music education in the district.

San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, $10,000
To support an educational community engagement project. Very First Concerts will be presented for toddlers and very young audiences and their families. Family Concerts will include the Side-by-Side program, in which young pre-professional musicians participate in master classes and perform with the orchestra musicians in concert. Performances, under the direction of Music Director Benjamin Simon, will be offered free-of-charge at the Crowden Music Center and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sarasota Orchestra, $15,000
To support the Sarasota Music Festival. The residential training festival for college music students will be presented by the Sarasota Orchestra. Plans for the festival include individual and ensemble training, coaching, and mentoring from the faculty of instructors, scholars, and orchestra musicians. Performance opportunities will consist of weekly orchestra concerts, student chamber recitals, and chamber concerts featuring faculty alone as well as together with students.

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, $20,000
To support SYSO in the Schools. The program provides instrumental music instruction to elementary and middle school students in Seattle area schools, as well as mentoring services for middle and high school band and orchestra directors. Through the Endangered Instrument Program, students will participate in individual and small group lessons on instruments such as oboe, bassoon, viola, double bass, and French horn. Through the Southwest String Project, students will receive free instrumental music coaching from teaching artists. Seattle-area school instrumental music directors will receive professional development from SYSO coaches through the Secondary Orchestra Mentoring Program. All program components will enhance and expand the existing public school instrumental music programs.

Sphinx Organization, $60,000
To support a national tour and community engagement project featuring the Sphinx Virtuosi and the Catalyst Quartet. In partnership with the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Inc. (New York), a group of approximately 25 emerging young string players, laureates, and alumni of the national Sphinx Competition (with a focus on African-American and Latino musicians) will tour and perform diverse repertoire by composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, George Walker, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and Gabriela Lena Frank. The concerts and community outreach activities with children and youth will be presented across the United States.

Stockton Symphony, $10,000
To support the expansion of Harmony Stockton. A free, daily, after-school music program for elementary students, participants will attend string sectional, string orchestra, and musicianship classes. The program provides instrumental and choral music performance opportunities for students and free tickets to students and families to attend Stockton Symphony Concerts. Select students will participate in a Create Your Own Opera curriculum program, with the opportunity to perform in the youth chorus of a professional opera production.

Tempesta di Mare, $12,500
To support a performance project of French baroque orchestral music. Titled Comedie et Tragedie (Comedy and Tragedy), the project will be a finale of a two-year curatorial focus on rarely-performed French baroque orchestral music for the theater. Directed by Co-Artistic Directors Gwyn Roberts and Richard Stone, programming will include works such as Jean-Phillippe Rameau's opera-ballet "Les Fetes de Polymnie (The Festivals of Polyhymnia)" (1745) and Jean-Marie Leclair's opera "Scylla et Glaucus (Scylla and Glaucus)" (1746). In addition, performances will be augmented by educational outreach activities such as a play-in for local youth orchestra instrumentalists and workshops in baroque style and techniques of wind and string articulation.

Tulare County Symphony, $10,000
To support an educational performance and rural outreach project. The orchestra will present its annual Youth Education Concert Series for elementary school children. The project will include a classroom education module, an interactive multimedia component, and will culminate in live orchestral concerts in several of Tulare County's largest incorporated cities, such as Porterville, Tulare, and Visalia. The orchestra will create a classroom toolkit and conduct workshops to engage rural school districts throughout the county.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support a performance touring project in underserved rural communities. The 21st anniversary project, titled Made in Vermont Music Festival Tour, will present orchestral programs and educational outreach activities and will include the commissioning and premiere performances of a new work by native Vermont composer Jennifer Jolley. The composer will join Music Director Jaime Laredo and orchestra musicians in engaging high school and college students and members of each community in outreach activities, such as the Green Room Program, workshops, and public lectures.

Vermont Youth Orchestra, $10,000
To support an after-school music partnership program serving underserved communities. In collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Winooski, Vermont, the orchestra will provide an instrumental music instruction program for students from economically disadvantaged areas. Project activities will include two levels of string training and a percussion class, with free instrument rental, and a number of free performances for the students and their families. There also will be a participatory school-day performance at the Elley-Long Music Center, home to the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association.

Wheeling Symphony, $10,000
To support a regional performance tour with related educational outreach programs. The orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Andre Raphel, will present a Young People's Concert program in town venues in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In collaboration with the Magic Circle Mime Company, programming will feature an innovative program that allows listeners to explore music visually through mime artistry. The project will include teacher workshops and pre-concert instruction for children in elementary schools.

Related Art Works, Part 2 Grants

Ballet West, $25,000
To support the commissioning of a new ballet by choreographer Helen Pickett. The work, titled "Games," is a reimagining of choreographer Vaslav Nijinksy's "Jeux," set to the last orchestra work of the same name by Claude Debussy. Set in a modern-day office cubicle, the ballet will feature the timeless story of attraction and/or love. In Nijinksy's original version, a ball rolls onto the tennis court, surrounded by greenery. In "Games," a rolling ball becomes a rotating office cubicle space. Pickett uses the idea to give us the sense of the confines of our thought, how we trap ourselves within our abilities and inabilities of creating relationships. Ballet West will premiere "Games" through a collaborative performance with the Utah Symphony, as part of the symphony's 75th anniversary celebration. This will be the first time in history that Ballet West will share the stage of Abravanel Hall alongside Utah Symphony members, which is the symphony's home.

Catamount Film and Arts Co., $15,000
To support We Are Vermont, a community engagement commissioning project. The artistic centerpiece of the project will be the world premiere of a work commissioned by composer Doug Cuomo, featuring the We Are Vermont Festival Orchestra and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The new work will use the theme, "What is the experience inside celebration?" The project will begin with an intensive training session for teaching artists and programming partners, followed by several weeks-long residency projects coordinated by the Community Engagement Lab in communities throughout the region. Original works will be created using the "celebration" theme during the residencies. The project will culminate in public events featuring Cuomo's new work along with select works created during the residencies.

The Center for Arts Education, $15,000
To support Learning In and Through the Arts. The project is a residency and professional development program led by teaching artists. In partnership with school teachers, elementary and middle school youth will participate in arts classes and residencies in dance, music, theater, visual arts, and media arts. Skill-based arts residencies will include arts-integrated units of study and professional performances by artists. Professional development will provide teaching artists and classroom teachers experiences in collaborating on lesson planning, art making, integrating arts into math and literacy curricula, and trips to partner sites such as the Metropolitan Museum, New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and New York Historical Society.

The Cliburn, $10,000
To support a touring performance project featuring Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Winners. The pianists will perform in orchestral concerts and recitals, as well as conduct master classes and community outreach activities in diverse venues, from small towns to major metropolitan areas. Artists from the 2013 Cliburn Competition participating in the project may include Vadym Kholodenko (gold medalist), Beatrice Rana (silver medalist), Sean Chen (crystal award), Fei-Fei Dong (finalist), Nikita Mndoyants (finalist), and Tomoki Sakata (finalist).

From the Top, $45,000
To support educational outreach activities. Selected by audition, musicians that appear on the classical radio program From the Top will take part in Arts Leadership Workshops. The workshops will help prepare young musicians to connect with new audiences and to serve as positive peer role models. The musicians will perform concerts in school classrooms and community venues.

From the Top, $90,000 (media arts grant)
To support the production of the public radio series "From the Top." The weekly program features performances by young classical musicians recorded in towns and cities across the country. Distributed by National Public Radio, "From the Top" is accompanied by robust online educational and outreach components such as the Arts Leadership Workshop for young musicians.

Heifetz International Music Institute, $30,000
To support an outreach and career development program for young musicians. Project plans will include residencies by institute alumni at the Jamestown Arts Center in Jamestown, Rhode Island, that will feature master classes, after-school programs, media interviews, and performances. Also, alumni will be in residence at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra working with their youth symphony as well as with public school students. Finally, one alumnus will spend a year as artist-in-residence at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia providing lectures, demonstrations, and performances in public schools, community centers, and non-traditional community venues.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, $10,000
To support the Future Stages Festival. The festival will include performances by youth-orientated arts organizations, as well as performances by resident companies, including the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, and Kansas City Symphony. Interactive arts activities will be offered throughout the venue.

Longy School of Music of Bard College, $15,000
To support the El Sistema Side by Side Series at Longy School of Music. The program will pair student musicians with those in Longy's Conservatory Orchestra at its Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus. The younger students in the program will take part in a summer academy, as well as meet with conservatory students throughout the school year for rehearsals in preparation for public concerts.

Marin Jewish Community Center, $10,000
To support the Kanbar Music Series. The series will present indoor and outdoor concerts featuring classical, chamber music, jazz, folk, and world music artists. The series will kick off with several outdoor music events titled Festival of Summer Nights. Ancillary activities for several of the events may include audience engagement components such as dance lessons, themed youth art activities, or artist conversations. Participating ensembles may include the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the Mill Valley Philharmonic, both based in California.

Mayerson Foundation, $27,000
To support visual arts, music, and dance artists residencies for students at the School for Creative & Performing Arts in Cincinnati. Students will attend master classes as well as receive coaching, private lessons, and mentorship from professional artists. The School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) is a Cincinnati public school offering pre-professional arts training. Members of local organizations such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Contemporary Arts Center, Taft Museum of Art, and University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, as well visiting artists on tour to those local institutions will present the master classes at SCPA. Students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade are expected to participate.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools, $20,000
To support the educational outreach project Beethoven Lives Upstairs, an introduction to orchestral music for fourth graders. A partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra, the project is part of the districtwide annual Cultural Passport initiative that provides standards-based arts education activities to students from elementary through high school grade levels. The program will be conducted in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, with orchestral performances at Knight Concert Hall in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Midori & Friends, $20,000
To support the music instruction and enrichment programs tailored to the music programs in New York City partner schools. In the 12 Notes program, teaching artists will teach weekly classes in instrumental and vocal music and students will participate in after-school band and chorus rehearsals and performances. CityMusic will feature student performances throughout the community. The Signature Concert & Workshop Series provides the opportunity for students to attend workshops with renowned artists and see professional ensembles perform. A professional development series for teaching artists will guide program instructors in implementing the curriculum in their lessons.

Newark Arts Council, $50,000
To support Arts Up!: Cultivating Creative Newark, a collective impact of the Newark Arts in Education Roundtable. Local arts organizations, artists, arts funders, Newark Public Schools, and community organizations will collaborate to ensure that young people in the city have access to sustained, quality arts experiences. This project supports a series of meetings, observations, a citywide conference, shared data analysis, and review of access to arts education services in Newark. It supports the articulation of a shared vision for arts education and the development of an action plan that outlines programming strategies, as well as a strategy to communicate the action plan to a broader community. Project partners will include Without Walls, Newark Public Schools, Dodge Foundation, Newark Museum, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Yendor Productions, Montclair Art Museum, and Victoria Foundation.

Old Dominion University Research Foundation, $20,000
To support The Birth of An Answer. African-American artists will contribute creative responses to the D.W. Griffith film "Birth of a Nation." A screening of Oscar Micheaux's "Within Our Gates" will be accompanied by a live performance of a new original musical score composed by Adolphus Hailstork and performed by members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Local artists and historians also will be creating a multimedia photography

Ravinia, $15,000
To support Reach*Teach*Play. The Ravinia Festival Association will continue its partnership with the residents of Lawndale through community outreach and educational programs for children and adults. Reach*Teach*Play will offer free lawn passes for residents from Chicago's West Side and will present One Score, One Chicago, an initiative that introduces new audiences to classical masterworks. The project will also include Family Space - an area with music-related arts and crafts, as well as an instrument petting zoo - and a community-based music school in Chicago's Lawndale neighborhood.

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, $10,000
To support Youth United: The Past, Present and Future of Youth Arts in Balboa Park. The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, San Diego Junior Theatre, and San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory will partner with the Balboa Park Online Collaborative to digitize their institutions' collections and create an online resource library. The organizations also will present an exhibition featuring oral histories, items from the collections, and interactive technologies.

Settlement Music School, $45,000
To support the Kaleidoscope Preschool Arts Enrichment Program. Music, dance, and visual arts will be integrated into the curriculum to teach young children age-appropriate art skills and prepare them for kindergarten. Students will learn to create in individual and group art projects and will present their work in multidisciplinary shows to family and friends. The tuition-free program, which is accredited by Head Start and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, is intended to serve students from low-income families

Sphinx Organization, $25,000 (media arts grant)
To support the production of the annual Sphinx Competition concert. Broadcast live from Detroit's Orchestra Hall and in partnership with Detroit Public Television (DPTV), the concert showcases emerging musicians from across the country through performances and interviews. The concert will be broadcast on Detroit Public Television and will be available through DPTV's website, www.dptv.org.

Urban Youth Harp Ensemble, $20,000
To support harp instruction, music theory, and music history classes to students at Drew Charter School in Atlanta. Students will study harp technique, music theory, and music history and will have the opportunity to perform solo, in duos, and in small ensembles in the community throughout the year. Qualified advanced students will have the opportunity to audition for area orchestras such as the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Emory University Youth Orchestra as well as summer programs such as Interlochen and Tanglewood. Harp students also will have the opportunity to see professional music performances in the Atlanta region.

Ask Your Elected Officials to Protect Wireless Microphone Technology

May 14, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon rule on several proceedings that will impact the use of wireless microphones. The FCC is proposing that entities using fewer than 50 microphones would not be able to register in a geo-location database which provides interference protection. This will affect many small- to mid-sized arts organizations, venues, and productions.

The FCC is also considering a longer-term home for wireless microphones in a different area of the broadcast spectrum. Moving within the spectrum would mean orchestras and other arts organizations would have to purchase expensive new equipment. They already did this in 2010--spending $25K-$100K--when the FCC mandated wireless microphones vacate the 700 mHz band of spectrum.

Nonprofit orchestras and other performing arts organizations rely on equipment that operates in the "white space" frequencies between broadcast channels of the television band. Interference to these frequencies can compromise the quality of onstage performances and backstage operations which could affect the safety of performers, technicians, and audiences.

Please ask your Representative to protect wireless technology used in the performing arts! Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, are circulating a sign-on letter in the House of Representatives urging the FCC to protect wireless microphones. The letter will be sent to the FCC later this month. Your representative needs to sign on to this letter by close of business on Thursday, May 21.

Take Action: Ask Your Representative to Protect Wireless Microphone Technology!

Urge Senate to Make IRA Rollover Permanent

May 4, 2015

The America Gives More Act, H.R. 644, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on February 12, and is still awaiting Senate action. Join nonprofit advocates across the country in asking the Senate to #Act4Good by passing this bill, which reinstates and makes permanent expired charitable giving incentives, including the enhanced deductions for donations of food inventories and conservation easements, as well as the IRA charitable rollover provision.
Each passing day that these charitable giving incentives remain expired means fewer resources are available to support community needs through the essential work of orchestras and the full array of nonprofit organizations. Tell the Senate to act now, and #Act4Good, by passing The America Gives More Act.
Hundreds of orchestras have already contacted Congress to explain what will be gained by making the IRA Rollover consistently available to donors. We’re asking you to weigh in with the Senate once more to urge action today. Thank you!

Contact the Senate today!

Take Action: New Opportunity to Support Arts Ed in ESEA

April 10, 2015

Beginning on April 14, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is scheduled to consider The Every Child Achieves Act, a bipartisan attempt at re-writing our nation's education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

We are contacting you because you are a constituent of a Senator who serves on this key Senate Committee, and your elected official will be voting on a large number of amendments expected to be offered during Committee consideration.  Orchestras delivered more than 400 messages to the Senate on an earlier version of the bill.  Please take a moment to weigh in once more! Every communication counts and helps amplify our collective voice!
The new version of the Senate bill preserves the arts as a core academic subject of learning, but does not include specific support for after-school learning programs, nor for the Arts in Education grant program.  And, as the committee considers competing points of view on the appropriate approach to state accountability, we are urging more public transparency by states about the availability of arts education in schools. 
After all, to transition the arts from being merely listed as a core academic subject to being fully implemented in every school,  states must be publicly accountable for disparities in student access to the benefits of a complete arts education.

Please join your fellow arts advocates in reinforcing the following four points in a message to your Senator:

  • The arts are currently listed as a core academic subject in federal law. Any rewrite of ESEA must retain the arts in the definition of "core academic subjects," enabling access to critical federal resources that address inequalities and strengthen education.
  • Federal law should require transparency in how much or how little arts education is being offered to our nation's students. Collecting and publicly reporting the status and condition of arts education and other core academic subjects on an annual basis at the state level is critical to ensuring equitable access to a comprehensive education for all students.
  • Arts education must be supported in provisions relating to early childhood education, afterschool/out-of-school learning, teaching effectiveness, school turnaround, charter schools, and student assessment.
  • The U.S. Department of Education should continue to administer a direct, nationally funded competitive Arts in Education grant program that advances the capacity of the arts to strengthen learning and improve teaching.

Tell the Senate to Support Arts Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act!

Hartford Symphony: Musicians Care Project

Hartford Symphony’s Musicians Care Project offers an in-facility program for the elderly and disabled. The Director of Dementia Care Services at Hebrew Health Care describes how music gives patients with dementia a way to connect.

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Music Education Advocacy Alert: Only Days to Respond!

January 29, 2015

As the new Congress begins to rewrite our nation's major education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), music education advocates have their first opportunity to deliver four key messages, in unison with the broader arts and arts education community:

  1. The arts are currently listed as a core academic subject in federal law. Any rewrite of ESEA must retain the arts in the definition of "core academic subjects," enabling access to federal resources that address inequalities and strengthen education.
  2. Federal law should require transparency in how much or how little arts education is being offered to our nation's students. Collecting and publicly reporting the status and condition of arts education and other core academic subjects on an annual basis at the state level is critical to ensuring equitable access to a comprehensive education for all students.
  3. Arts education must be supported in provisions relating to early childhood education, afterschool/out-of-school learning, teaching effectiveness, school turnaround, charter schools, and student assessment.
  4. The U.S. Department of Education should continue to administer a direct, nationally funded competitive Arts in Education grant program that advances the capacity of the arts to strengthen learning and improve teaching.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Committee charged with rewriting this bill, is inviting public comment on a discussion draft he recently released. The full draft proposal addresses many broad areas of education reform, and removes the current list of core academic subjects, terminates the current federal afterschool funding program, fails to require state transparency on the status and conditions of arts education, and eliminates the federal Arts in Education grant program.

The League is partnering with dozens of national arts and arts education organizations in advancing the four key messages above. Please join this first advocacy opportunity in 2015!  Click here to customize and send an email before the deadline of Monday, February 2nd, and urge support for the arts in ESEA reauthorization!

Urge Congress to Support Arts Education in our Nation's Education law!