The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Announces 2012 Philadelphia Music Project Grant Recipients

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Announces 2012 Philadelphia Music Project Grant Recipients

Philadelphia, PA- The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded $858,430 through the Philadelphia Music Project (PMP) to nine music organizations in the Philadelphia area. Three of these organizations are first-time grantees as well as first-time applicants to the program. Through PMP's grants, internationally renowned artists representing a broad range of musical forms and styles will visit the region over the next two seasons to participate in music programs that promise to attract and inspire a wide spectrum of audiences. Some of these upcoming concerts, festivals, and staged productions revisit and draw inspiration from seminal works of the past, while many invigorate long-standing musical traditions by crossing genres or looking to new models of presentation and performance.

PMP Interim Director Bill Adair notes, “These projects will engage audiences with music in inventive ways, expanding the conventions of musical production and presentation. Our 2012 grantees reflect the dynamism and diversity of Philadelphia's music scene, providing opportunities to experience music from many different genres and parts of the world.”

The 2012 funded projects include the East Coast premiere of a newly commissioned opera by a rising composer; a 24-hour, nonstop festival of North Indian classical music; a new choral work by an award-winning, Pennsylvania-born composer that explores the state's coal mining histories; and a year-long performance series celebrating Mississippi blues, presented by one of the region's premier radio stations.

The Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) will present Silent Night, a new opera co-commissioned by OCP and Minnesota Opera, where it debuted in 2011 to sold-out performances. Adapted from French writer/director Christian Carion's 2005 film Joyeux Noël, the opera depicts a poignant moment during World War I, when battling soldiers declared a truce in order to celebrate Christmas. The Philadelphia presentation will be its East Coast premiere. It is the first opera by American composer Kevin Puts, a recipient of multiple awards, including an American Academy of Arts and Letters composition prize.

First-time grantee Crossroads Music will present a 24-hour marathon concert of Hindustani (North Indian classical) music in April 2013, in collaboration with the Sangeet Society and South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The round-the-clock format of the event will give audiences a unique opportunity to hear Indian ragas that are meant to be played throughout the day, and are thus seldom heard at concerts performed during more conventional evening hours.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia will commission Julia Wolfe, co-founder of the acclaimed avant-garde music collective Bang on a Can, to compose a new choral work for a 130+ voice chorus and the musicians of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Wolfe will draw inspiration from American folk music and Pennsylvania's coal mining history. Stories on the subject, told by Mendelssohn singers and participating community members, will be incorporated directly into the final work.

University of Pennsylvania radio station WXPN, a first-time grantee, will celebrate the history and evolution of Mississippi blues, a musical style rarely heard or performed in the Philadelphia region, with the Mississippi Blues Project. This year-long performance series will host eight blues artists for live concerts and in-depth interviews, broadcast on popular WXPN programs, including the nationally syndicated World Café® with David Dye. Together, these performances and radio programs will introduce a relatively unknown art form to local audiences, as well as listeners around the country.

For the complete list of 2012 Philadelphia Music Project grant recipients and full project descriptions, please visit

“We are pleased to support such a remarkable variety of programs,” says Greg Rowe, Director of Culture Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “These awards will make it possible for audiences throughout the region to experience a wide range of musical genres and performances by extraordinary artists.”

Philadelphia Music Project proposals are evaluated through a competitive process by a panel of internationally recognized artists, scholars, and music presenters with a broad collective range of knowledge in the field. In addition, a group of artistic advisors, specialists in various genres and periods of music, provided supplemental reports. For a full list of panelists, advisors, and their credentials, please visit

The Philadelphia Music Project has funded a total of 324 project grants since its inception in 1989. These awards represent an investment of over $15.7 million in Southeastern Pennsylvania region's nonprofit music community and its audiences.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is dedicated to stimulating a vibrant cultural community in the five-county, Southeastern Pennsylvania region. Established in 2005, the Center houses seven funding Initiatives of The Pew Charitable Trusts, and through them supports area artists and arts and heritage organizations whose work is distinguished by excellence, imagination, and courage. Each year, the Center's grants make possible more than 800 performances in dance, music, and theater as well as history and visual arts exhibitions, and other public programs for audiences in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. For more information, visit