CMA Announces Grants Totalling $443K

Chamber Music America has announced the recipients of 26 grants supporting new works and community-based residencies. CMA will distribute $443,000 to ensembles and presenters through three of its major grant programs: Classical Commissioning, New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development, and Residency Partnership. The grantees were selected by independent review panels of musicians and other music professionals.



Classical Commissioning Program

A total of $170,700 was awarded to nine ensembles and presenters. The Classical Commissioning Program provides support to U.S.-based professional classical, contemporary, and world music ensembles and presenters for the creation and performance of new chamber works by American composers. Below are the program’s 2010 grant recipients, the commissioned composers, and brief descriptions of the proposed new works:

  • American Brass Quintet (New York, NY) A work for brass quintet and bass-baritone, by Anthony Plog, based on Walt Whitman’s Civil War-era poetry. Guest artist: Christòpheren Nomura.

  • Caixa Percussion Trio (Bloomington, IN) A work from Dennis DeSantis that explores rhythmic dissonance and metric modulation. The composer will make use of found or prepared objects and juxtapose conventional and identifiable drum-set patterns.

  • Da Camera of Houston (Houston, TX) A multi-movement composition for piano quintet by Tobias Picker. Artists: Brentano String Quartet and pianist Sarah Rothenberg, Da Camera’s artistic director.

  • Del Sol String Quartet (San Francisco, CA) Bagatelles for String Quartet and Electronica, a multi-movement work by Mason Bates for live performance with recorded samples created by the ensemble.

  • JACK Quartet (New York, NY) A string quartet by Jason Eckardt exploring unified and layered textures and shifting relationships among the instrumental parts.

  • Musiqa (Houston, TX) A cycle of “intergalactic” love songs by Sebastian Currier for voice, piano quintet and electronics; set to the poetry of Sarah Manguso.

  • Network for New Music (Philadelphia, PA) Six Formosan Aboriginal Tunes, a six-movement work for flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, and cello, by Shih-Hui Chen, and based on indigenous Taiwanese melodies and rhythms.

  • New York New Music (New York, NY) A work by Eric Chasalow, for flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, and cello, combining electronic manipulations of text and voice.

  • Talea Ensemble (Bronx, NY) A work by John Zorn for violin, viola, two cellos, flute, clarinet, piano and percussion. The performers will be asked to vocalize, perform sound effects, and execute extended performance techniques.



    New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development Program

    A total of $200,500 was awarded to nine grantees. New Jazz Works provides support to professional U.S. ensembles for the creation and performance of new work in the jazz idiom. The program also funds activities that extend the life of the work and allow the ensemble leader to acquire or increase career-related business skills. This program is designed for ensembles that want to explore new creative territory. Below are the program’s 2010 grant recipients and projects:

  • Martin Bejerano Trio (Miami, FL) In Potential Energy Suite, for piano, bass, and drum set, Bejerano will explore tempi, rhythms, and dynamics to achieve high levels of musical energy and emotion.

  • Taylor Ho Bynum Trio & Sextet (New Haven, CT) New Sextet Book, a work for three horns plus three-piece rhythm section.

  • Ben Goldberg Quintet (Berkeley, CA) A large-scale work for quintet (violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, bass and drums) and four additional musicians (trumpet, cello, guitar and vibraphone), based on Summa Lyrica: A Primer of the Common Places in Speculative Poetics, by Allen Grossman.

  • Abraham Gomez-Delgado and Positive Catastrophe (Bronx, NY) Dibrujos, Dibrujos, Dibrujos, a work for tentet combining Afro-Latin, free jazz and the American avant-garde, celebrates and confronts the contradictions, debates and philosophies of repetition.

  • Russ Gershon and The Either/Orchestra (Somerville, MA) The Collected Subconscious, for tentet, will integrate the approaches of Ethiopian jazz with core and Latin jazz styles.

  • Curtis Hasselbring and The New Mellow Edwards (Brooklyn, NY) A work for septet, inspired by broadcasts that mysteriously appear on shortwave radio, in which each musician has his own five-pitch scale, or “number station.”

  • Carl Maguire and Floriculture (Brooklyn, NY) Magnify Simply, a 90-minute work for clarinet, saxophone, viola, piano, bass and drums, creating two planes of sound via variables of pitch collection, pulse spheres, and timbral texture.

  • The Peter Sprague String Consort (Encinitas, CA) Dr. Einstein’s Spin, a three-movement work for violin, viola, cello, guitar, bass and drum.

  • Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet (Ventura, CA) Ten Freedom Summers, Smith’s tribute to the Civil Rights movement of 1954-1964, in three movements: “Brown v. Board of Education, 1954″; “Little Rock Nine, 1957″; and “Freedom Summer, 1964.”



    Residency Partnership Program

    Grants totaling $72,000 have been awarded to eight ensembles and presenters. This program supports projects in which jazz, classical/contemporary, or world ensemble music is presented outside traditional performance venues and in community settings, with the goal of increasing audience appreciation and awareness of small-ensemble music. Below are the program’s 2010 grant recipients and their collaborating partners and projects:

  • The Auditorium Chamber Music Series (Moscow, ID) and the Walden Chamber Players will partner for five days to provide lecture/performances for K-12 students and others in the community; coach a youth orchestra, 12 teen string quartets and their teachers; and give masterclasses to University of Idaho string students.

  • Anthony Brown and Fifth Stream Music (San Francisco, CA) In Bridging Japantown and the Fillmore with Jazz—a series of classroom activities and interactive performances—Mr. Brown and his Asian American Orchestra will offer an historical overview of San Francisco’s history with jazz to fourth and fifth graders at the Rosa Parks Elementary School.

  • The Chamber Music Society of St. Cloud (St. Cloud, MN) will partner with the Four Nations Ensemble in a four-day residency, providing lecture-demonstrations for audiences that have had little exposure to Baroque music or period instruments. Activities include a short concert for the Royalton Elementary School each day of the residency, and lecture-demonstrations at a senior center and for music and non-music majors at St. Cloud University.

  • Music For Youth (Westport, CT) and the Ensō String Quartet will hold monthly coaching sessions for middle-school music students in Bridgeport and work with Weston and Bridgeport string students in a musical exchange, culminating in a joint concert. (The top-ranked string quartet applicant to the Residency Partnership Program, the Ensō Quartet will receive Chamber Music America’s annual Guarneri String Quartet Residency Grant, made possible by a generous gift from the Sewell Family Foundation.)

  • Mike Noonan and Unified Jazz Ensemble (Severna Park, MD) and community partner, Class Acts Arts have designed an extended residency of interactive jazz performances and workshops for public school students in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area.

  • The Avery Sharpe Trio (Amherst, MA) will conduct a 15-part jazz residency in partnership with the Community Music School of Springfield. Audiences include pre-schoolers, incarcerated youth, young jazz scholarship awardees, and the general Springfield community. The project includes formation of a student ensemble that will perform for and with pre-school children.

  • Silver Roots (New York, NY) will present a five-workshop series in Columbia Falls and Kalispell, MT, on improvisation and collaboration, with youth from the First Best Place Task Force, followed by a joint public performance at the Flathead County Library. Students will learn how to present and produce their own concerts.

  • Third Coast Percussion (Chicago, IL) will hold a five-day residency at McMurry University and four high schools in the Abilene, TX, area, as part of the ensemble’s season-long Different Drummers Initiative. The quartet will present masterclasses and other activities focusing on the music of John Cage, Steve Reich, and David T. Little. The residency will end with a lecture/performance on the university campus.



    Chamber Music America was founded in 1977 to develop and strengthen an evolving chamber music community. With a membership of over 6,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artists’ managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions. The Classical Commissioning Program is made possible through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. New Jazz Works, a component of the Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project, is made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Residency Partnership Program is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

    (—Condensed from the press release)