The Philadelphia Music Project and Presser Foundation Launch Premiere Recording Program with Announcement of First Grantees

The Philadelphia Music Project and Presser Foundation Launch Premiere Recording Program with Announcement of First Grantees

The Philadelphia Music Project (PMP), a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, and the Presser Foundation award a total of $93,420 to four Philadelphia music organizations in support of an eclectic range of recording projects. These awards represent the first round of adjudicated grants made from the Premiere Recording Grant Program, a joint initiative of PMP and the Presser Foundation whose goals are to document the work of living composers, support the dissemination of recordings of previously unreleased contemporary music, and enhance the public profile of grantees.

According to PMP Director Matthew Levy, “2008 Premiere Recording Grants will support the documentation of a diverse body of repertoire, from chamber works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Bernard Rands to modern jazz by avant-garde saxophonist and Sun Ra Arkestra leader Marshall Allen. Works by Philadelphia composers are well-represented, including a recently penned Vespers program by Kile Smith, performed with Renaissance wind instruments, and compositions for chorale, soloist, and full orchestra by Andrea Clearfield and James Primosch. These releases will bring remarkable collections of music to new listeners worldwide.”

Robert Capanna, President of the Presser Foundation, noted, “The Presser Foundation is pleased to have this opportunity to amplify its support for Philadelphia-based musical organizations through a collaboration with the Philadelphia Music Project and hopes that these recording projects will provide the organizations and artists involved with a wider audience and well-deserved recognition.”

2008 Premiere Recording Grant Recipients:

Ars Nova Workshop — $25,000
To produce five recordings on High Two:

  • Spanish Fly (Steven Bernstein, slide trumpet/valve trumpet; Marcus Rojas, tuba; Dave Tronzo, electric guitar) performs music by Steven Bernstein
  • Min Xiao-Fen Asian Trio (Min Xiao-Fen, pipa; Okkyung Lee, cello; Satoshi Takeishi, percussion) performs Return of the Dragon Suite by Min Xiao-Fen
  • Marshall Allen, alto saxophone; Louis Moholo, drums perform music by Allen and Moholo John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Mary Halvorson, guitar; Ches Smith, drums perform music by Tchicai, Halvorson, and Smith
  • Scorch Trio (R. Björkenheim, electric guitar; I. Håker Flaten, double-bass; P. Nilssen-Love, drums) performs music by Björkenheim, Flaten, and Nilssen-Love

The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia — $25,000
To produce a recording for innova featuring The Golem Psalms by Andrea Clearfield and Fire-memory/Rivermemory by James Primosch. Guest artists: Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Sanford Sylvan, baritone

Network for New Music — $18,420
To produce a recording for innova featuring chamber music by Bernard Rands, including Scherzi; Walcott Songs; Sans Voix Parmi les Voix/Prelude; and now again—fragments from Sappho. Guest artist: Janice Felty, mezzo soprano

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band — $25,000
To produce a recording for MCM featuring a Vespers program by Kyle Smith. Guest artists: The Crossing (chamber choir), conducted by Donald Nally

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and are selected by a panel of internationally recognized artists, scholars, and administrators with a broad knowledge of the field. A distinguished panel reviewed this year's applications:

  • Steven Stucky (panel chair), Composer/Conductor, Cornell University
  • Peter Burwasser, Presser Foundation representative, Journalist
  • Gerald Cleaver, Composer/Drummer
  • Gil Rose, Artistic Director, Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Music Director, Opera Boston
  • Augusta Read Thomas, Composer

Complete biographies for all panelists and grantees are available at

The Philadelphia Music Project fosters artistic excellence and innovation in the region's nonprofit music community by supporting adventurous programming that contributes to the advancement of participating organizations. PMP—one of seven artistic initiatives of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts—has underwritten 260 projects with support exceeding $10.8 million since its inception in 1989.

The Presser Foundation operates under the will and Deeds of Trust created by its founder, Theodore Presser. It is one of the few foundations in the United States dedicated solely to the support of music and music education. The Presser Foundation has four primary areas of interest: 1. To provide awards to promising undergraduate and graduate students of music through grants to accredited institutions in the United States; 2. To enhance music education and performance by supporting the acquisition of musical equipment and instruments and the construction and renovation of suitable buildings for musical instruction and performance; 3. To advance the study and appreciation of music by aiding the promotion of formal musical programs and projects; 4. To provide financial relief to worthy teachers of music in distress.