Advocacy and Government
NEW I-129 Form Now Available!
December 15, 2014
USCIS launched a new version of the I-129 Form at the end of October, 2014. The changes are fairly minor, but petitioners will notice a new layout and slight re-organization. The Part 9 Explanation page is formatted differently as well, and it should be noted that the O & P Supplement is now three pages, instead of two. Please see updated guidance for completing the new I-129 as well as updated sample petitions posted on Artists from Abroad. USCIS will accept editions of the I-129 dated 10/07/11, 01/19/11, and 11/23/10 (you’ll find this in the bottom left corner of the form) until February 23, 2015. After that time, USCIS will only accept the new 10/23/14 edition.
CURRENT – New I-129 form available for immediate use on www.uscis.gov
February 24, 2015 – Petitions postmarked to USCIS on or after this date must include new Form I-129. To be on the safe side, plan to use the new version of the form well in advance of this date.
URGENT: Does Your Orchestra Use Wireless Mics or Other Wireless Devices?
December 16, 2014
URGENT: Does Your Orchestra Use Wireless Mics or Other Wireless Devices? Weigh in now, before costs go up yet again...
Over the last several years, the League has been sending periodic updates regarding wireless microphone technology and key FCC decisions and rulings that impact orchestras and other users of wireless devices. You may recall that in 2010, wireless microphone users had to vacate a portion of White Space spectrum, resulting in many organizations having to purchase expensive new equipment. The latest news in this continually evolving landscape is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to exclude smaller and mid-sized performing arts entities from interference protection – leaving such users vulnerable to interference or in the position to purchase new equipment yet again. Orchestras and other performing arts organizations need to speak up and tell the FCC how we would be harmfully impacted.
Background at a glance:
Over the summer, the FCC had opened the door for performing arts entities that regularly use 50 or more wireless microphones to apply for a Part 74 license, which would entitle the licensed entity access to a database that would provide interference protection. All other users would have to apply for access and be subject to a 30 day waiting period. However, the FCC is now proposing that entities that are not eligible to apply for a license would also not be able to participate in the database at all. In other words, there would be absolutely no interference mechanism in place for organizations using fewer than 50 microphones from White Space Devices (ie TV Band Devices). Please remember that wireless microphone operators should be coordinating frequencies so as not to interfere with each other – the interference protection we seek is from new TV Band Devices.
What you can do:
Access to the database has now become an issue for smaller and mid-sized performing arts organizations, as well as for larger entities that do not regularly use 50 or more wireless devices. Together with our partners in theater, opera, dance, and more, we hope to gather hundreds of letters together, and these will be entered on your behalf into the FCC’s electronic filing system.
IRA Rollover Reinstated for LIMITED Time; FY15 Funding Update
December 17, 2014
IRA Charitable Rollover Returns—For a VERY Limited Time!
December 17, 2014, Washington, D.C. -- Congress has reinstated the IRA Charitable Rollover only for the remainder of 2014, after much debate and several attempts for longer or permanent reinstatement.
Just prior to adjourning for the year, the House voted on a provision that would make the IRA Rollover, and two other charitable giving incentives, permanent. While all three charitable provisions have broad bipartisan support, politics surrounding how to pay for the cost of the measure prompted a White House veto threat, and the bill was just eight votes short of winning the 2/3 majority needed for moving ahead.
The President will soon sign into law a package of short-term tax provisions that includes reinstating the IRA Charitable Rollover only through December 31, 2014. The IRA Charitable Rollover has proven to generate new and increased charitable donations for orchestras in the years it has been available. Unfortunately, the provision has undergone several cycles of expiring and being renewed, leaving many donors confused about the status. Here are the facts:
The IRA Rollover expired at the end of 2013, and is now retroactively reinstated for 2014. If donors aged 70 ½ and older instructed or instruct their IRA administrators to make a distribution of up to $100,000 directly to a charity through December 31, 2014, that distribution will not be treated as taxable income for 2014.
It is always wise to advise donors to contact their IRA administrator and/or tax advisors for more detail as you inform them about the changing status of this important charitable giving incentive.
The IRA Charitable Rollover will expire again at the end of this month, which means this provision is NOT yet available for 2015. The League, in partnership with you, will continue to advocate to Congress for the IRA Rollover to be made permanent when the new Congress convenes next year.
NEA, Arts Education Steady in Final FY15 Spending Deal
Congress settled on a massive FY15 spending package before adjourning for the year. In a $1.1 trillion deal that included gains and losses for a number of federal spending accounts, funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts in Education at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) held steady. The bill also included a number of policy provisions, including one related to multiemployer pension plans.
- NEA: Funding for the NEA will remain at the current level of $146 million through the end of FY15, September 30, 2014. The NEA has already announced the first batch of grants for FY15, and grant guidelines for FY16 are expected to be released at the end of this month.
- Arts in Education: Funding of $25 million for the competitive grant programs at the ED will allow multi-year national model projects that improve teaching and learning in the arts to continue.
- Pension Reforms: Negotiators on the Hill added a package of reforms related to multiemployer pension plans, responding to calls for reform from the American Federation of Musicians and a wide array of other groups that operate multiemployer plans. The provisions allow trustees of severely underfunded plans to elect to adjust vested benefits for certain retirees and authorizes an increase in the premiums that plans pay to the Pension Guarantee Benefit Corporation (PBGC).
BREAKING NEWS! Permanent Action on IRA Rollover Still in Play!
December 8, 2014
Congress may have a new opportunity to make the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent before the end of 2014. Last week, the House passed a package of tax provisions that would only reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover through the end of December. If signed into law, this would give donors just a few weeks to make their 2014 contributions before the provision expires yet again. Your voice matters! Elected officials have heard the message that a short-term reinstatement is not an adequate solution for the countless communities that rely on charitable giving. Congress is considering a streamlined version of the America Gives More Act, which was passed by the House this summer but not taken up by the Senate.
The House may soon vote to send the Senate a new bill that permanently reinstates three charitable giving incentives, including the IRA Charitable Rollover. The House, then Senate, may vote on this new charitable giving proposal in just days, so time is of the essence! Contact your elected officials right away and urge their support for permanent enactment of the IRA Charitable Rollover! Every vote is crucial, and with Congress planning to wrap up for the year by the end of this week, the window of opportunity is quickly closing.
NEA Announces First Round of FY15 Grants
December 3, 2014
Grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will expand the capacity of 59 orchestras serving their communities in the coming year. The NEA's Art Works grants to orchestras encourage and increase access to music in communities throughout the country. 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 NEA's first round of FY15 Art Works grants include 42 direct awards to orchestras totaling $1,460,000, as well as numerous grants for related projects. Grantees will be presenting and offering new commissions, premieres, pre-concert lectures, workshops, and collaborations with various local organizations. Several grants will aid in training and development for emerging musicians and composers.
The NEA also awarded $170,000 in FY15 Challenge America grants to 17 orchestras, which will strengthen their work in bringing music, educational programming, and lecture-demonstrations to underserved youth and adults. Supported projects include concerts and programming for geographically isolated communities, workshops and free lessons for students, and a variety of free programming and tickets for economically disadvantaged residents.
Future FY15 grants will be announced for Art Works (Part Two) in the spring. Deadlines and guidelines for FY16 grant applications are expected in January.
The League has compiled the project descriptions for grants to orchestras and grants related to the orchestra field. Complete lists of grant amounts and project descriptions for awards in all disciplines may be found on the NEA web site.
FY15 Challenge America Grants
Grants to Orchestras
Awards Announced December 2, 2014
Some details of the projects listed below are subject to change, contingent upon prior Endowment approval.
Adrian Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support an all-Beethoven classical concert and associated outreach activities. The orchestra will perform “Symphony No.7 in A Major” and join with pianist Philippe Entremont to perform “Piano Concerto No 1 in C Major.” Other activities will include educational performances at local middle and high schools; a free, open public rehearsal; a pre-concert educational program; and free tickets for students who participate in local orchestras in the rural community.
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support performances, workshops, and related outreach activities featuring violinist Randall Goosby. Goosby, the first - place winner of the 2010 Sphinx Competition, will be in residence in Central Arkansas conducting free workshops and music demonstrations for community members and student musicians drawn from economically disadvantaged schools. The residency will culminate in a public soloist performance with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
Boise Philharmonic, $10,000
To support a concert and related outreach and educational activities featuring saxophonist James Houlik. A public performance is scheduled to take place at Brandt Auditorium on the Northwest Nazarene University campus. Project activities will also include a pre-concert lecture by Houlik, as well as outreach programming that will take place at local universities and high schools in Nampa and Caldwell, ID. The intent of the project is to engage members of a rural and economically challenged community.
Burlington Chamber Orchestra, $10,000
To support the Music for Minors program. A signature program of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Music for Minors will engage a guest conductor to lead the orchestra in its Spring Celebration of Youth concert. In addition, project activities will include the commission of a new musical work from a student composer for the concert, and performance by a young solo artist during the concert. Project activity will also include outreach to public schools in Burlington and surrounding urban communities that have growing numbers of minority, low-income, and immigrant populations.
Catskill Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support a concert and lecture-demonstration featuring jazz bassist Ron Carter. The lecture-demonstration will be offered free of charge to students in this rural Upstate New York community. The orchestra will provide as many as 200 free concert tickets to children.
Central Ohio Symphony, $10,000
To support The Great Animal Orchestra, featuring composer Richard Blackford. The project will be the U.S. premiere of “The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony” for orchestra and wild soundscapes by Blackford, inspired by the book, “The Great Animal Orchestra” by musician, acoustician, and sound environmentalist expert Bernie Krause. Blackford will guide community activities, attend the concert, and give illustrated talks on the Krause book for the benefit of residents of the rural Buckeye Valley East community, including elementary students of identified Title I schools.
Erie Philharmonic, $10,000
To support a residency featuring pianist Joyce Yang. Yang, the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Silver Medalist, will be the featured performer at the Erie Philharmonic’s Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody concert scheduled to take place at the Warner Theatre in Erie, PA. Residency activities will also include various outreach activities throughout the region, such as a master class at Edinboro University that will be free and open to the public in this rural community.
Fort Smith Symphony, $10,000
To support EARQUAKE!, an annual, free interactive concert series, intended to serve rural, low-income students. The series will feature violinist Sophy Monroe, composer Robert Mueller, and the Western Arkansas Ballet. Students will participate in composition activities taught by Mueller.
Grand Rapids Symphony, $10,000
To support the annual Symphony with Soul concert and related outreach activities. The project will include a collaborative workshop involving the Grand Rapids Community Chorus and the Grand Rapids Mosaic Scholars, a collective of young African-American and Latino students who are mentored by Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra musicians. The concert will feature rhythm-and-blues vocalist Gladys Knight and include the presentation of original music created during the collaborative workshop.
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, $10,000
To support free classical music performances intended to serve low-income residents and ethnic minorities. Violinist Bella Hristova will engage in a series of outreach concerts, including a free, in-school performance at Emmerich Manual High School and a concert held on the grounds of the Indiana Women’s Prison.
Manassas Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support the world premiere of a piano concerto composed by Jonathan Kolm and performed by Dmitri Shteinberg. The concert will also feature pieces by Carl Maria von Weber and Dmitri Shostakovich. The project will provide transportation and tickets for low-income and at-risk youth in the Youth for Tomorrow and SPARK programs and their families to attend the concert.
Mid Texas Symphony, $10,000
To support a concert and associated outreach activities. The symphony will perform with violinist Nancy Zhou and students from the Lindenbaum Strings Outreach Program, which offers free string lessons to underserved children. Mid Texas Symphony staff will also present free performances at local schools in the rural community.
Pan American Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support an orchestral performances of music by Latin American composers, with related costs. Works will feature folkloric music, bolero, tango, zamba, and other categories of music with Latin American origins. The project is intended to serve the Hispanic community residing in Montgomery County, MD. Proposed guest performers include vocalist Guillermo Anderson from Honduras and vocalist Sofia Rei from Argentina. The Embassy of El Salvador will assist with the promotion of the event.
San Bernardino Symphony, $10,000
To support the Music for All Ages concert with youth orchestra Symphonie Jeunesse and associated activities. In partnership with the local school district, visual artist Michal Madison will work with students to create original pieces of art based upon the students’ interpretations of the music to be performed. The students’ artwork and poetry will be projected overhead at the concert and participating students and their families will receive free admission.
Sinfonia Gulf Coast, $10,000
To support performances featuring electric violinist, composer, and producer Tracy Silverman, with related outreach activities. The project will include in-school workshops for economically disadvantaged students, primarily located in rural Okaloosa and Walton Counties, as well as community engagement activities at local libraries. Silverman will also participate in a lecture about the arts and medicine that will take place at a local hospital.
Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support the presentation of This Land is Your Land: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie. The Tulsa Symphony will partner with the Woody Guthrie Center and the Guthrie Green to present the free public concert with composer David Amram as the conductor. The project will provide transportation for local elementary students and their families to the concert.
Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, $10,000
To support the production of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and associated outreach activities. Soloists Ava Pine, Ryland Angel, and José Adán Pérez will rehearse and perform with the YOSA Philharmonic, the San Antonio Choral Society, and the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio. The soloists will conduct workshops and provide free tickets to the concert for choral students at local underserved and low-income schools.
Related Challenge America Grants
Artist Series of Tallahassee, $10,000
To support an artist residency featuring the New York Brass Arts Trio. In addition to a public performance, the Trio will conduct workshops for Title I school students in Leon and Gadsden County school districts and master classes with members of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra. The public performance is scheduled to take place in Opperman Music Hall at the Florida State University College of Music.
Music Center of South Central Michigan, $10,000
To support the presentation of an enhanced concert experience and associated outreach activities. The concert will showcase cellist Jacob Shaw and composer and pianist Andrew Hsu, with live video close-ups of the Battle Creek Symphony and guest artists for the audience. The guest artists will visit local urban schools, free tickets will be made available to local organizations for underserved audiences, and the concert will be rebroadcast through community access television to local senior centers, hospitals, and nursing homes.
FY15 Art Works (Part 1)
Grants to Orchestras
Application Deadline of February 20, 2014
Awards Announced December 2, 2014
Some details of the projects listed below are subject to change, contingent upon prior Endowment approval.
Allentown Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support a residency with composer Roberto Sierra including a commission. The new work will be scored for violin and orchestra in three arrangements: full orchestra, soloist with piano accompaniment, and an educational version for young musicians. The arrangement for piano accompaniment will be premiered at the tenth annual Schadt String competition for young adult artists, where it will be required repertoire for semifinalists. The educational version will be premiered at the Young Music String Festival for student musicians in elementary and middle school. The composer will lead workshops, lectures, and master classes at area schools.
American Composers Orchestra, $30,000
To support the artistic and career development of emerging composers and new music readings. Project components include the annual Underwood New Music Readings serving emerging composers, and the EarShot New Music Readings for composers conducted in collaboration with national partners Berkeley Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. Other project components will include the third Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Intensive, held at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music. In addition, the American Composers Orchestra will perform the work of a past participant composer at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall venue in New York City.
American Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support concerts in the Vanguard Series and Classics Declassified Series. Repertoire for the Vanguard Series - presentations of rare and under-performed orchestral works - may include "Mona Lisa" by Max von Schillings; "Overture from Claudine von Villa Bella" by Franz Schubert; Symphony No. 00, a study work by Anton Bruckner; and "Music for Cello & Orchestra" by Leon Kirchner. Works in the Classics Declassified Series - performances of well-known works in a lecture demonstration format - may include Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and Janacek's Sinfonietta.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, $40,000
To support a commissioning and performance project of a new work by composer Christopher Theofanidis to celebrate Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 70th anniversary. Under the direction of Music Director Robert Spano, the orchestra will perform the new 75-minute work for five vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, which will be composed on the theme of creation and the act of creating. The libretto will be produced by an interdisciplinary collaborative team at Yale University that will assemble quotations related to creating from different fields of study, such as science, religion, and literature. Premiere performances will feature guest artists, such as soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, tenor Thomas Cooley, baritone Nmon Ford, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Collaborative organizational partners will be Emory University and Kennesaw State University.
Boston Symphony Orchestra, $90,000
To support the Insights Series, an exploration of symphonic, ballet, and opera repertoire from the early 20th century with related educational and ancillary events. Guest conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski, Stephane Deneve, and Charles Dutoit will lead the orchestra in performances of works by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Milhaud, Poulenc, and Debussy culminating in a concert performance of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski's rarely performed opera "King Roger." Also planned are Conversations with Creators, moderated discussions with key artists, and ancillary chamber music performances.
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, $15,000
To support Charles Ives: An American Maverick, a festival of concerts and educational activities. A collaboration with the University of Buffalo, the Buffalo/Erie County Library, and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, project plans will include orchestral concerts and a performance of the Concord Piano Sonata, featuring readings of the authors for which each of the four movements is named - Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Alcott. Accompanying project activities will involve a master class and pre-and post-concert lectures.
Chicago Sinfonietta. $15,000
To support the premiere of Concerto for Gaita and Orchestra by composer Emilio Sola with related educational activities. The premiere will be conducted by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen with Cristina Pato as soloist on the gaita or Galician bagpipe. Educational activities will include school visits, community performances, a master class, and pre-concert discussions. In partnership with Instituto Cervantes, Chicago Sinfonietta also will publish a Spanish translation of the program booklet.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, $80,000
To support Reveries and Passions, a festival celebrating and exploring two centuries of French music with related educational activities. Curated and conducted by guest conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, concerts will feature the orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and guest artists. Repertoire will include Ravel's "L'enfant et les sortileges," Debussy's "Pelleas et Melisande," and Messiaen's "Turangalila-symphonie." Guest artists may include soprano Chloe Briot, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Performances will be supplemented by activities including symposia, lectures, a film screening, and chamber concerts.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, $40,000
To support the MusicNOW Festival. The festival will include commissions by composers Daniel Bjarnason and Caroline Shaw with related educational activities. Repertoire will explore the intersections of contemporary and traditional classical music and indie rock. The festival will be curated by Music Director Louis Langree and composer, guitarist, and Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner, member of the rock band The National. Educational activities will include pre-concert lectures and school and community programs with the visiting composers and artists.
Civic Orchestra of Chicago, $50,000
To support training and stipends for pre-professional musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Culminating in as many as four full orchestra concerts, musical training for emerging musicians will include rehearsals, performances, and community engagement activities under the direction of conductor Cliff Colnot, guest conductors, and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Musicians will perform free concerts at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center as well as in predominantly low-income Chicago neighborhoods. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, symphony's creative consultant, will issue an Artistic Challenge for the Civic, a season-long mastery of a piece of music. Past challenges have included performing Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony" without a conductor.
The Cleveland Orchestra, $30,000
To support The Cleveland Orchestra's performance project of a new work by composer Ryan Wigglesworth. In addition to the premiere performance under the direction of Music Director Franz Welser-Most, the project will include related educational and audience engagement activities such as pre-concert lectures, rehearsals with the orchestra and its youth orchestra musicians, a composer's forum for college students, and in-school visits in the greater metropolitan area of Cleveland. The project will conclude Wigglesworth's two-year residency as the orchestra's Young Composer Fellow.
Curtis Institute of Music, $30,000
To support tour performances by the Curtis Chamber Orchestra of a new viola concerto with related educational activities. The piece by composer Jennifer Higdon will have Roberto Diaz as featured soloist. Conducted by Robert Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony, the program will also feature his own composition "Holderlin-Leider" for soprano and orchestra. A Curtis alumna will be the vocal soloist. Community engagement events will include master classes, in-school performances, and pre-concert talks.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, $20,000
To support a residency and commission by composer and pianist Conrad Tao. Project plans include Tao performing with the orchestra and for the premiere of his own work, as well as the curation of the new ReMix series of genre-bending experimental orchestral performances. Tao also plans to create a series of contemporary chamber performances in collaboration with orchestra musicians. Educational activities will include master classes and workshops with local students.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra, $50,000
To support a performance of composer Terence Blanchard's "A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)," with related educational activities. In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the suite of 13 original pieces will be performed by Blanchard and members of his band along with symphony musicians. Educational activities will include a pre-concert talk by Blanchard, a pre-concert performance by student musicians of the symphony's Civic Jazz Orchestra, a jazz community forum, a workshop on film scoring, and a community screening of the documentary "When the Levees Broke" which features Blanchard's score.
Eugene Symphony, $20,000
To support a concert and residency with NEA Jazz Master and alto saxophone player Branford Marsalis. Plans include performances of works that feature alto saxophone such as "Symphonic Dances from West Side Story" by Leonard Bernstein, "Remembering Gatsby" by John Harbison, "Concertino da Camera for Alto Saxophone" by Jacques Ibert, and "Escapades for Alto Saxophone" by John Williams. Residency plans will include pre-concert demonstrations, master classes, rehearsal clinics, and performance opportunities for students at University of Oregon and Lane Community College.
Handel & Haydn Society, $60,000
To support performances of Haydn's oratorio "The Creation" in celebration of the society's bicentennial season with related educational activities. Having performed the American premiere of the work in 1819, the planned performances under the direction of Artistic Director Harry Christophers will be the culmination of a season-long celebration of the society's founding in 1815. Education and outreach activities will include interactive programs at regional public schools by a professional vocal quartet, high school chorus collaborations with society singers and instrumentalists, and pre-concert lectures.
Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), $70,000
To support the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles at Heart of Los Angeles (YOLA at HOLA). An after-school, El Sistema-inspired music program, HOLA will provide ensemble-based music instruction to students in central Los Angeles. The YOLA at HOLA program is a partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is directly inspired by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel's formative experience with El Sistema, Venezuela's youth orchestra movement. Elementary and middle school-aged students from underserved communities will take musicianship classes as well as sing and rehearse in instrumental ensembles after school. Instruments will be provided free-of-charge. Participating students will perform in formal and informal recitals and lead quarterly projects to serve their community through music. In addition, the program will support students with daily academic tutoring.
Houston Symphony, $20,000
To support Musically Speaking with Andres, audience engagement concerts with new Music Director Andres Orozco-Estrada. Designed to expand audiences and deepen engagement with current audience members, programs will focus on single works with pre-concert commentary and a post-concert question-and-answer session all led by Orozco-Estrada. Repertoire will include Shostakovich's Symphony No. 12, Dvorak's Symphony No. 7, and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.
Kansas City Symphony, $15,000
To support concerts of music written in the years leading up to World War I with related educational activities. Repertoire will include works by Debussy, Mahler, Nielsen, Ravel, Schoenberg, Strauss, and Stravinsky. In collaboration with the National World War I Museum, panel discussions for the Inside Music series will be developed providing insight into the era. The symphony also has plans for open rehearsals for students, the development of study guides, and pre-concert talks.
The Knights, $25,000
To support The Knights' premiere performances of a concerto for banjo and orchestra by composer and bluegrass artist Bela Fleck. Re-orchestrated for 28 players, Fleck's concerto "The Impostor" will be performed with the composer as the soloist for its New York City premiere. The concert program will juxtapose classical works with original compositions by members of The Knights and an arrangement of a song by Fleck's fusion band, the Flecktones. Additional performances will be presented in Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, New York, and Pennsylvania. Fleck premiered the concerto with the Nashville Symphony in September 2011, dedicating the work to the late Earl Scruggs, who reinvigorated the popularity of the banjo in American music in the 1940s and inspired the musician to pick up the instrument.
Lexington Philharmonic, $10,000
To support a concert opera production of composer Osvaldo Golijov's "Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears)" with related educational activities. The work, sung in Spanish, will combine singing, visual arts, flamenco dance, and orchestral music and will explore the life of playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Educational activities will include lecture-demonstrations and school performances.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, $30,000
To support a composer residency and commission of a new work by composer Ted Hearne. The commission is part of the orchestra's Sound Investment program that annually commissions new works partially funded by contributions from the group's members. Residency activities will include visits to community organizations and lecture demonstrations. The premiere will be recorded for future broadcast on KUSC-FM.
Los Angeles Philharmonic, $90,000
To support NEXT ON GRAND: Contemporary Americans, a festival of concerts. Under the leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and Creative Chair John Adams, the festival focus will be on the work of composers and other creative artists based in the United States. Featured concerts will include the world premieres of commissioned works for orchestra by composers such as Christopher Cerrone, Bruce Dessner, Sean Friar, Philip Glass, Steve Mackey, and Dylan Mattingly. Also planned is the West Coast premiere of Caroline Shaw's "Ritornello" and her Pulitzer Prize-winning work "Partita for 8 Voices," both sung by the choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth. The Calder Quartet and Ensemble Signal will also be featured as guest ensembles. Performances will be recorded for radio broadcast and Upbeat Live pre-performance discussions will be disseminated online.
National Repertory Orchestra, $10,000
To support a professional development program for emerging orchestral musicians. Under the direction of Music Director Carl Topilow and guest conductors, such as JoAnn Falletta, Leonard Slatkin, and Peter Oundjian, the project will include master classes, a summer seminar program and performances. The 86-member orchestra of young musicians, selected through audition, will perform concerts and participate in community outreach activities at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center and other venues in Dillon, Evergreen, and Vail.
National Symphony Orchestra, $30,000
To support symphonic concerts during the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts' international festival celebrating the performing arts of Portugal and Spain. The orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Jesus Lopez-Cobos, will perform works by composers that were from or influenced by Spain and Portugal, including from countries of Spanish and Portuguese heritage. Programming will include works such as "La vida breve" by Manuel de Falla, "Espana" by Emmanuel Chabrier, "Images - Iberia" by Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albeniz's "Suite Espagnola." The performances will be presented at the Kennedy Center and broadcast locally on WETA 90.9 FM Public Radio, as well as WETA's website at WETA.org.
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, $10,000
To support a professional development project for emerging composers. The week-long composition institute will culminate in a public concert of world premieres of the resulting new works and will include reading sessions by the orchestra, coaching sessions with composer Steven Mackey, and career development seminars with leaders in the music field. The orchestra will collaborate with Princeton University's Department of Music and participants will be selected through a nationwide search.
New World Symphony, $90,000
To support the Musician Professional Development Program. Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, the program will utilize performances, coaching, and community outreach activities to prepare young artists for successful musicianship in the orchestral field. Conductors, composers, soloists, and orchestral/chamber musicians will train and mentor emerging musicians on aspects of musical technique, audience engagement, communication skills, orchestral auditioning, stage presence, and health issues.
New York Youth Symphony, $25,000
To support the Youth Symphony Composition Program. Student composers will participate in a series of interactive seminars, workshops, and guest lectures on composition. Program participants also will hear performances of their work by guest musicians. Drawing from the classical repertoire and range of musical traditions throughout the world, students will explore a variety of composers, study scores, instrumentation, recordings, and orchestration books and through class discussion, written exercises and composition, students will cultivate their own musical voices. The tuition-free program will be led by professional composers and musicians.
Oakland East Bay Symphony, $10,000
To support a residency including the commission of a new work to be premiered by the Oakland East Bay Symphony. The new work by composer Mads Tolling will be a jazz violin concerto. Residency activities will include training and performance opportunities for young musicians in the Oakland Youth Orchestra and Oaktown Jazz Workshops. The premiere will take place at the Paramount Theatre featuring the composer as soloist.
Orchestra of St. Luke’s, $15,000
To support Orchestra of St. Luke's OSL Subway Series of free chamber music. The orchestra will present ensembles of its musicians in hour-long performances throughout the city, featuring repertoire of chamber music from the Renaissance period to the present. Performances will take place at outdoor venues in all five boroughs of New York City.
Pacific Symphony, $40,000
To support the annual American Composer's Festival, celebrating the work of composer and conductor Andre Previn. The festival will be directed by Music Director Carl St. Clair and will feature the West Coast premiere of Previn's double concerto written specifically for cellist Sharon Robinson and violinist Jaime Laredo. Programming will feature guest artists such as soprano Elizabeth Futral, who will sing Previn's song cycle "Honey and Rue," chamber music concerts, a film screening, a symposium for music students, and post-concert discussions with St. Clair and Previn.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, $10,000
To support period-instrument performances of Gioachino Antonio Rossini's "La cambiale di matrimonio (The Marriage Contract)." Under the direction of Music Director Nicholas McGegan, the project will feature tenor Brian Thorsett and soloists from San Francisco Opera's Adler Fellowship Program in the orchestra's first collaborative effort with the opera company, with staging by stage director Ted Huffman. Performances of Rossini's first professional one-act opera will be presented in concert venues in Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, with pre-concert lectures for the Bay Area events.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, $20,000
To support a commissioning and performance project of new orchestral works. The commissioned score is the required product. The orchestra will perform world premiere performances of a commissioned work by composer Jake Heggie written specifically for principal cellist Anne Martindale Williams and a previously commissioned work by composer Alan Fletcher for principal oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida. In addition, the project will feature American composer Mason Bates, in residence at the orchestra, performing three of his works.
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, $40,000
To support a performance project featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's symphonies. Programming will feature the composer's Symphonies #2, #4, and #9 with conductors Edo de Waart, Steve Copes, and Andrew Manze, culminating a three-year Beethoven Festival of his complete symphony cycle. Works by composers such as John Adams, Peter Lieberson, Felix Mendelssohn, Sergei Prokofiev, and Igor Stravinsky will be juxtaposed with Beethoven's works. The project will celebrate the orchestra's 30-year history of performing at the 1,900-seat Music Theater at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts before it moves into a new and more intimate 1,100-seat concert hall at the Ordway.
San Francisco Symphony, $90,000
To support a performance project celebrating the 20th anniversary of Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas with the orchestra. Titled Points of Entry, the project will incorporate multidisciplinary access points to the performances of works, such as Igor Stravinsky's "History of a Soldier" with narration by special guest Patrick Stewart and Thomas Ades's "In Seven Days," a concerto for piano and moving image with video by artist and filmmaker Tal Rosner. Programming will include pre-concert lectures and a symposium.
San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, $40,000
To support the Artist Development Program of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Designed to complement the youth orchestra's core program of weekly rehearsals and concert performances, the free program will provide middle to high school students with coaching, mentorship, and specialized training in chamber music. Students will receive free tickets to San Francisco Symphony performances and participate in master classes with guest artists. Participants also will rehearse at least twice a year with San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas.
Seattle Symphony, $40,000
To support a performance project featuring new orchestral works, as well as a composition workshop for young composers. New Music Works will comprise distinct concert programs, including innovative and varied contemporary repertoire, designed to attract Seattle's diverse communities through the creation, performance, and appreciation of symphonic music.
The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, $20,000
To support the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra's performance and artist-in-residence project featuring percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. Programming will feature a new percussion concerto featuring the waterphone by composer Sean O'Boyle written specifically for Glennie. In addition, the project will include a percussion master class and a lecture-demonstration exploring the importance of listening skills with Glennie. The orchestra will also hold outreach events at venues including the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind and Converse College.
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, $40,000
To support a performance project featuring concert performances of Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" with audiovisual enhancement. The project, under the direction of Music Director David Robertson, will feature guest artists such as soprano Lucrezia Garcia, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, and tenor Antonello Palombi. Performances will engage audiences in an immersive concert experience at Powell Hall through a collaboration with visual artist S. Katy Tucker, who will create a series of multi-sensory video and light productions to supplement the music and story line of the opera and give concertgoers a 3D environment. Each concert will be preceded by conversations led by Robertson.
Tanglewood Music Center, $50,000
To support the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC)'s 75th anniversary through performances of newly commissioned and established works. In celebration, performances of newly commissioned works will take place at every TMC concert as well as during the week-long Festival of Contemporary Music. Alumni of the TMC composition program who have agreed to compose a new work include Michael Gandolfi, Osvaldo Golijov, Helen Grime, John Harbison, Oliver Knussen, Steve Mackey, Andrea Pinto-Correia, Ned Rorem, Bright Sheng, and Augusta Read Thomas to name just a few. Faculty will include composers George Benjamin, Betsy Jolas, Gunther Schuller, John Williams, Charles Wuorinen, and Yehudi Wyner.
Tucson Symphony Orchestra, $20,000
To support the Young Composers Project (YCP). Elementary through high school students will learn to compose original works for orchestra, culminating in public reading sessions of their work by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and TSO String Quartet. Saturday sessions will begin with basic theory, ear training, and score reading as students learn about clefs, keys, modes, notation, chords, rhythm, form, ranges, and transposition. Each session will include a listening component with score study focused on orchestral repertoire. Students will learn to use Finale music notation software in the YCP lab to create their own works. At the end of the project, professional ensembles provide public readings of the student work, providing real-time interactions between students, the orchestra, and the conductor.
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, $10,000
To support the performance of a new orchestral work by American composer Augusta Read Thomas.World premiere performances of the work, titled "EOS for Orchestra," will be conducted by Music Director Thierry Fischer at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City and at Weber State University in Ogden. The composer, with Artistic Director Anthony Tolokan, will participate in artist lectures prior to each performance. An online blog post written by Clovis Lark, the orchestra's librarian and longtime colleague of Thomas, during the week before the premiere performances will feature more information about the work and a listener's guide.
Related Art Works, Part 1 Grants
Bard College, $15,000
To support the Bard Music Festival and related educational activities. Led by the resident ensemble, American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Artistic Director Leon Botstein, the festival will take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center and will explore the world and music of Mexican composer Carlos Chavez by presenting a range of musical forms including chamber, choral, and orchestral concerts. Other composers to be featured may include Alejandro Garcia Caturla, Silvestre Revueltas, Amadeo Roldan, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Educational activities will include panel discussions and a companion volume of essays
Bellingham Festival of Music, $10,000
To support the Bellingham Festival of Music, a summer festival featuring orchestral and chamber music concerts throughout the community. Plans include orchestra performances conducted by Artistic Director Michael Palmer and chamber music performances at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal and the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. The festival also will offer educational activities such as master classes, open rehearsals, and pre-concert lectures.
Boston University, $30,000
To support high school students' participation in the Tanglewood Institute's Young Artists Orchestra and Young Artists Wind Ensemble. Tanglewood Institute is an intensive, multi-week residential summer music program in Lenox, Massachusetts, for instrumental music students. Participation in these two ensembles provides students with opportunities for individual practice, chamber music experiences, large ensemble rehearsal and performance, private lessons, and master class participation. The Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble perform full concerts in Seiji Ozawa Hall on the main Tanglewood grounds.
Bravo! Vail, $15,000
To support Bravo! Vail, an annual music festival. The summer festival will feature orchestral concerts by the Dallas Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as chamber music performances and open rehearsals. Educational and community engagement events may include Little Listeners @ the Library, instrument petting zoos, and Music on the Move, featuring ensembles performing in various public spaces. Additional related project activities may include Before the Music, pre-concert lectures led by musicologists and free concerts throughout the Vail Valley. Broadcasts on Colorado Public Radio will extend the reach of the festival.
Cabrillo Music Festival, $30,000
To support the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop, the festival orchestra will perform music by living composers. Festival concerts will be held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Other activities will include chamber music concerts, composers-in-residence, and a workshop for conductors and composers. Past composers-in-residence have included Derek Bermel, Anna Clyne, Sean Friar, Kevin Puts, Christopher Rouse, among many others. Educational and outreach activities will include open rehearsals, panel discussions, and a street fair.
Carnegie Hall, $90,000
To support performances and educational activities by Ensemble ACJW, a competitive professional development program for young post-graduate musicians. A partnership with the Juilliard School and the New York City Department of Education, project plans include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and Skidmore College, as well as professional development for participating musicians in audience engagement skills. Educational activities may take place in public elementary, middle, and high schools where each musician will work with music teachers during the school year and focus on building students' musical skills.
Chamber Music At The Barn, $10,000
To support a residency by composer, conductor, and music commentator Robert Kapilow. In addition to Public performances, the residency will include lecture-demonstrations for as many as 60 string students attending an area summer string program for African-American youth from the inner-city and for students in the Wichita Youth Symphony. Educational activities also will take place for youth and adults in low-income urban recreation centers.
The Colburn School, $20,000
To support Jumpstart, a free, intensive program of weekly music instruction. Taught by faculty and professional teaching artists from the Colburn Conservatory, underserved middle school students recruited from Title I schools will participate in intensive music instruction that takes place five days per week (including private lessons) for as many as 30 weeks. The Saturday schedule rotates between full band, sectionals, and master classes and helps students continue to build skills, synthesize the weekly instruction, and prepare for entering the high school for the performing arts. Jumpstart students will perform for their parents, teachers, friends, and community.
The Collegiate Chorale, $30,000
To support the concert performances, outreach activities, and the world premiere recording of Kurt Weill's "The Road of Promise." The work, a new concert adaptation by composer Ed Harsh of the 1937 epic musical "The Eternal Road," will be performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's and conducted by the chorale's Artistic Director Ted Sperling. Soloists may include tenor Anthony Dean Griffey; baritones Philip Cutlip, Mark Delavan, and Justin Hopkins; mezzo-soprano Megan Marino; and soprano Lauren Michelle. A CD recording will be released of the live performance on Parma Recordings and distributed by Naxos Records.
Community Music Center, $20,000
To support the Young Musicians Program (YMP). This free program for diverse, underserved students focuses on a variety of musical styles including Latin, Jazz, and classical. Middle and high school students participate in individual lessons, music theory, and ensemble classes taught by master artists. The project's three components - Mission District YMP, Inner City YMP, and Comprehensive Music Program - serve different populations and use varied approaches. The Mission District YMP is a bilingual program primarily for Latino youth and focuses on repertoire and skills fundamental to Latin traditional and popular music. Inner City YMP works with students nominated by their public school music teacher to study chamber music, jazz, and string orchestra. The Comprehensive Musicianship Program provides lessons to advanced students. Each component provides multiple community-based performance opportunities for youth.
Florentine Opera, $35,000
To support phase one of the Carlisle Floyd Recording Initiative, featuring a concert performance and professional recording of "Wuthering Heights" by composer Carlisle Floyd. NEA Opera Honoree Carlisle Floyd's canon of operas have likely been performed more than any living American composer, however four essential operas have never been commercially released. With the composer as artistic advisor, the recording will be performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Florentine Opera Company, and Soundmirror engineers. The artistic team may include conductor Joseph Mechavich, soprano Georgia Jarman (Cathy), baritone Kelly Markgraf (Heathcliff), soprano Heather Buck (Isabella), tenor Vale Rideout (Edgar), mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer (Nelly), and tenor Frank Kelley (Joseph).
Harmony Project, $30,000
To support Music Mentoring, a year-round music education program. Students at school and community-based program hubs will engage in weekly vocal or instrumental instruction and ensemble instruction after school and on Saturdays. Students who will receive private instruction also will train as peer mentors to provide weekly lessons to one or more novices throughout the year, and will participate in special joint recitals. Students showing exceptional commitment may participate in the Academy, which provides private lessons, music history and theory classes, chamber music instruction, master classes, and a summer music camp. Intended to serve students from underserved communities, the program also will offer all participants the opportunity to participate in field trips to live musical performances and perform at free community concerts.
League of American Orchestras, $90,000
To support the League of American Orchestras' strategic services designed to strengthen orchestras through learning, leadership development, research, and communications within the field. The league will host an annual national conference focusing on best practices for more than 1,000 participants. Training and development opportunities will be provided to expand leadership skills. A new Emerging Leaders Program will help strengthen the skills of competitively selected emerging leaders through a structured curriculum, mentoring, and directed on-the-job training. The Information Research Center will conduct, analyze, and disseminate a wide range of surveys. The Hub, a special section of the league's website, comprises online information aggregating the latest thinking, news, reviews, and personnel shifts in the orchestra world in one location.
Lincoln Center, $40,000
To support the presentation of selected artists at the Lincoln Center Festival. The festival will present "The Irish Shakespeare Project," an adaptation of four of Shakespeare's history plays ("Richard II," "Henry IV Parts I and II," and "Henry V") by the Druid Theatre Company in Ireland. The Cleveland Orchestra will perform Strauss's "Daphne" as an opera in concert, as well as two orchestral works. Finally, Israeli dance company Emanuel Gat Dance will perform "The Goldlandbergs."
Luzerne Music Center, $10,000
To support the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival, a summer music camp, and resident faculty artist concert series. Plans include concerts by faculty artists, music education instruction for students of all ages, as well as student showcase performances. Faculty will comprise members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Orchestra among others.
Manhattan School of Music, $25,000
To support Camp MSM, a residential vocal and instrumental music summer camp. The curriculum for this audition-based program emphasizes intermediate to advanced performance skills in orchestra, piano, guitar, and musical theater. Each morning, students will participate in rehearsals, music theory, master classes, private instruction, and other activities appropriate to each discipline. Elective classes and a supervised private practice hour are also available.Final concerts are performed for families and the public.
Mann Center for the Performing Arts (aka The Mann), $20,000
To support the presentation of orchestral concerts during the summer festival. Programming will feature full orchestral repertoire performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. The project will include as many as two Free Fridays concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Some of the performances will be augmented with film and video elements projected on a large-screen video system at the outdoor summer festival in Fairmont Park, located near the center of Philadelphia. The artistic team for the summer 2015 festival will include Evans Mirageas, Ed Kasses, and Nolan Williams, Jr.
Morehouse College, $40,000
To support the commissioning and performance of a new work for trumpet and orchestra by American composer James Oliverio. The composer will be in residence at Morehouse College to create the new concerto in honor of the life's work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oliverio will collaborate with scholars and students to develop educational outreach augmenting the performances. Future plans include a recording with NEA Jazz Master Wynton Marsalis and subsequent live performances by principal trumpet players of several American orchestras (such as the Chicago Symphony and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra).
Music Academy of the West, $20,000
To support a professional development project. Through a partnership with the New York Philharmonic and its Music Director Alan Gilbert, young instrumentalists will participate in training, mentorship, side-by-side orchestral readings with members of the Philharmonic, as well as outdoor community concerts conducted by Gilbert during the summer residency by the New York-based artists. Additionally, approximately ten academy students will be selected to participate in the new Global Academy in New York, where they will continue to study and perform with members of the Philharmonic.
New School University, $20,000
To support the New School Concerts' New York String Seminar Program for emerging young musicians. The program will be directed by violinist and conductor Jaime Laredo and will culminate in concerts at Carnegie Hall. The extensive training experience will be offered with full scholarships to high school and college string players, selected through national live auditions.
Ojai Music Festival, $30,000
To support a commissioning and performance project of a new work by American composer John Luther Adams. The world premiere of the new work by Adams, "Sila: The Breath of the World," is planned for an outdoor performance at Ojai Festival's natural setting, featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble as part of the orchestra performing the work. The composer will work closely with the 2015 Ojai Music Festival Music Director Steven Schick to create the interactive work for as many as 80 musicians. As a co-commission with a number of organizations, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Cal Performances at University of California-Berkeley, the Washington Performing Arts, and the La Jolla Symphony, "Sila" will be performed at least five times in its first year of its premiere.
Perlman Music Program, $50,000
To support the Summer Music School, a summer music program held on Shelter Island, New York. Under the guidance of Toby and Itzhak Perlman, the Summer Music School's faculty includes professional string musicians from around the country, providing mentorship and coaching in instrumental music to students. Students will have daily private lessons, time for individual practice, ensemble rehearsals, and performances. Participation in chorus rehearsals on a daily basis develops many essential skills that will strengthen instrumental students' overall musicianship, including sight-singing and ear training. Teenage participants will study violin, viola, cello, and bass, and perform in as many as 15 free concerts that are open to the public.
Project STEP, $50,000
To support the Intensive Music Training Program for Talented Minority Young People, an instrumental music training program. Primarily serving elementary through high school-aged Black and Latino students, this program will provide intermediate and advanced instrumental music instruction to students who are underrepresented in the field of classical music. In addition to weekly classes and study, students will join chamber music ensembles and orchestras, perform regularly in recital and community outreach concerts, and attend master classes and professional concerts. Family involvement is essential to the program. Through monthly meetings of the Parent Council, which comprises all Project STEP parents, families play a key role in the individual students' music development.
Regents of the University of California at Berkeley, $25,000
To support guest artist residencies. Featured artists will include the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Handspring Puppet Company from South Africa. Each company will perform and participate in outreach activities including master classes, workshops, student matinees, and symposia.
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, $50,000
To support the annual Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Under the leadership of the festival's Artistic Director Marc Neikrug, programming will feature artists such as the New York Philharmonic's Music Director Alan Gilbert, who will be the festival's artist-in-residence, composer Sean Shepherd, and a number of chamber ensembles including FLUX String Quartet. The festival will include a seminar facilitated by FLUX for promising young composers. Performances will be held in various settings throughout Santa Fe and in Albuquerque.
Savannah Music Festival, $40,000
To support the annual Savannah Music Festival. The festival will feature hundreds of international artists in diverse programming, including chamber and symphonic music, blues, jazz, and world music. Artists such as cellist Lynn Harrell, pianist Murray Perahia, pianist and composer Danilo Perez, Brentano Quartet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as artists from Japan, Scotland, Turkey, and Zimbabwe, will perform during the festival in Savannah's Historic District.
FY15 NEA Grants to Orchestras
December 3, 2014, Washington, D.C. – Grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will expand the capacity of 59 orchestras serving their communities in the coming year. The NEA’s Art Works grants to orchestras encourage and increase access to music in communities throughout the country. 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 NEA’s first round of FY15 Art Works grants include 42 direct awards to orchestras totaling $1,460,000, as well as numerous grants for related projects. Grantees will be presenting and offering new commissions, premieres, pre-concert lectures, workshops, and collaborations with various local organizations. Several grants will aid in training and development for emerging musicians and composers.
The NEA also awarded $170,000 in FY15 Challenge America grants to 17 orchestras, which will strengthen their work in bringing music, educational programming, and lecture-demonstrations to underserved youth and adults. Supported projects include concerts and programming for geographically isolated communities, workshops and free lessons for students, and a variety of free programming and tickets for economically disadvantaged residents.
Future FY15 grants will be announced for Art Works (Part Two) in the spring. Deadlines and guidelines for FY16 grant applications are expected shortly.
The League has compiled the project descriptions for grants to orchestras and grants related to the orchestra field. Complete lists of grant amounts and project descriptions for awards in all disciplines may be found on the NEA web site, arts.gov.
High Stakes as 2014 Winds to a Close
December 2, 2014
Action Ahead for Current and New Congress
A heap of unresolved policy issues waits as little time remains for the "lame duck" Congress to address the unfinished business of 2014. Before the newly elected House and Senate members begin their session in January, Congress and the Administration may act on a range of policy issues of critical importance to orchestras. Reach out to your current and newly elected officials to weigh in on the policy issues that matter most as your orchestra serves its community.
Donors Await IRA Rollover Reinstatement
Just within the past week, options to reinstate the expired IRA Charitable Rollover provision have come on and off the negotiating table, including permanence, a two year reinstatement, and a one-year retroactive extension. The bill passed earlier this summer by the House of Representatives makes a set of charitable giving incentives permanent, but has not been taken up by the Senate. Its fate is now in the hands of Congressional negotiators working on a short-term tax deal. The League partners closely with national nonprofit advocates throughout the year, and we most recently joined a campaign reaching every member of Congress to urge permanent enactment of the IRA Charitable Rollover. We will notify you as soon as a decision is made so that orchestras can make the most of any opportunity to put this key charitable giving incentive to use!
NEA Funding Unfinished
The Interior bill, which funds the National Endowment for the Arts, is one of several measures that will likely be rolled into a broader FY15 spending package in the coming weeks. This year the House and Senate committee recommendations for NEA funding were just $4 million apart, with the House supporting level funding and the Senate recommending an increase to $150 million. Because the current short-term spending deal only provides for government programs and services through December 11, 2014, Congress will need to act fast to avoid a government shutdown.
Progress on Airline Regulations
After a nearly three-year delay, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to issue final regulations on airline rules for travel with musical instruments by the end of this month. The new rules will be a verbatim implementation of the section of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 regarding musical instruments as carry-on baggage or checked baggage and will go into immediate effect. The League partners with the American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Academy, and an array of national music groups in dialogue with DOT and the aviation industry to ensure that these policy improvements translate into real relief for travelers. We will keep you informed when the regulations are final and will let you know what they mean for traveling musicians as we continue to update the League's online Tips for Traveling by Air.
Ivory Action Expected
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) intends to release new draft rules by the end of this year or in early 2015 to implement the ban on African elephant ivory announced in February. The rules are likely to focus on domestic commerce in items that contain African elephant ivory, including musical instruments, and will be open for public comment before being finalized. The League provides detailed tips for navigating the ban's impact on international travel, and continues to advocate for policy improvements to address the unintended consequences for musical instruments. A recent Symphony article, "Saving Elephants – And Instruments," explores opportunities to meet conservation goals while protecting international cultural activity.
Ivory, Airline Tips, IRA, and the NEA
October 29, 2014
Saving Elephants—and Instruments
The League continues to lead national efforts to urge Congress, the White House, and federal agencies to improve policies that impact existing, legally crafted musical instruments that contain small amounts of endangered species material. In the latest issue of Symphony magazine, a comprehensive article describes the evolving policy dilemma on African elephant ivory, including the points of view of national conservation groups and officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Stay tuned for opportunities to make your voice heard. New draft regulations to change the rules for domestic commerce and travel with musical instruments containing protected species material may be issued by the end of 2014. The League will notify you when it's time to weigh in! In the meantime, you can learn more about the broader effort to protect African elephant populations by visiting the Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund.
To Carry On or Not to Carry On? Updated Aviation Tips Available
More than two years have passed since the February 2012 passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act, which includes a provision to ease air travel for musicians flying with musical instruments. With the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) yet to issue the necessary regulations to put the new rules into practice, the League continues to partner closely with the American Federation of Musicians and an array of national music organizations in conversations with senior DOT and aviation industry officials. We are advocating for swift implementation of the new law and immediate relief for traveling musicians. In the newly reorganized Aviation Policy section of the League's website, traveling musicians can find updated tips for traveling by air and links to key developments on this issue.
Advocate for Reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover
With midterm elections just a week away, policymakers are back in their home states and districts, campaigning and reconnecting with constituents. One issue area that is ripe for Congressional action after the elections is the reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover, which expired at the end of 2013. The House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act this summer, which would permanently enact several expired charitable giving incentives, including the IRA Rollover. The next step is in the hands of the Senate, and then members of both chambers will begin final negotiations on tax policy before the end of 2014. Take action now to remind all of your elected officials how essential charitable giving is to the services your orchestra provides in your community. Contact your Senators today!
NEA Announces New Director of Music & Opera, Upcoming Convening on Transforming Place
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will have a new Director of Music and Opera beginning January 15. Ann Meier Baker, currently President and CEO of Chorus America, formerly worked at the League of American Orchestras and the National Association for Music Education, in addition to having been founding director of the National School Boards Association Foundation. Baker will replace former music and opera director Wayne Brown, recipient of the League's 2014 Gold Baton Award for distinguished service to America's orchestras. In Baker's role at the NEA, she will lead grant making in music and opera awards as well as the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships.
In other agency news, the NEA will host a full-day convening on November 3rd on the role of the performing arts in transforming communities. With support from ArtPlace America, this gathering is designed to cultivate a better understanding of how performance-based organizations, along with the artists they engage, transform places through their artistic practices. To view the agenda, see list of participants (including the League President and CEO Jesse Rosen), and register for the webcast, please visit the event page.