Philadelphia Music Project Awards Grants to 19 Local Music Organizations

Philadelphia Music Project Awards Grants to 19 Local Music Organizations

The Philadelphia Music Project (PMP), a program of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, has awarded $1,179,675 to 19 local music organizations in support of 118 concerts and residency programs spanning traditional and contemporary forms of classical, jazz, and world music. This year's grants will make possible world premiere performances of 15 new compositions and Philadelphia premieres of 61 additional works. In all, nearly 1,000 instrumentalists, conductors, vocalists, and composers will participate in these funded projects; 12 ensembles and soloists will make their Philadelphia debuts.

“This year's PMP awards support a diverse range of programs, from modern opera to early choral music, Indian classical music to Afro-Cuban jazz,” said Matthew Levy, director of the Philadelphia Music Project. “Several projects celebrate the work of past master composers, including Philadelphia's own Samuel Barber, whose birthday centennial will be commemorated in 2010. Grantees will also commission work from a number of preeminent contemporary composers, including jazz icon Wayne Shorter and Pulitzer Prize-winners Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Paul Moravec, George Crumb, and Richard Wernick, contributing mightily to both the field and the cultural vitality of our city.”

“The range and depth of these programs are evidence that Philadelphia's music scene is thriving,” said Gregory T. Rowe, director of Culture Initiatives and deputy director of the Philadelphia Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “We are pleased that PMP's grants will make it possible for the public to experience firsthand a wealth of musical traditions and world-class performances.”

2009–2010 Grant Recipients:
Unless otherwise noted, grants are for one year.

Ars Nova Workshop—$45,000
To present “Free/Form: Composer Portraits,” a six-concert series featuring the music of trumpeter Don Cherry and saxophonist Tim Berne with performances by Karl Berger's “In the Spirit of Don Cherry,” Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, Collide Quartet, pianist Matt Mitchell, and Mr. Berne's Adobe Probe and Big Satan ensembles.

Astral Artists—$95,000 (2 years)
For a two-year residency with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis featuring Philadelphia premieres of several of Mr. Kernis' works and the world premiere of a newly commissioned quartet. Featuring resident Astral artists with clarinetist Igor Begelman, violist Teng Li, and Symphony in C conducted by Rossen Milanov.

Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia—$45,000
To present two concerts titled “Ancient Liturgies” and “Voice of Scotland,” exploring mystical traditions within liturgical practice as represented in choral works by Eric Whitacre, Jonathan Harvey, Arvo Pärt, Robert Carver, James MacMillan, and Philadelphia composer Joseph Castaldo.

The Crossing—$25,000 *
To present “Month of Moderns,” a festival of contemporary choral music featuring three newly commissioned works by Lansing McLoskey, Paul Fowler, and 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang, all based on the words of poet Philip Levine. Guest artists: Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

Curtis Institute of Music—$100,000
To mount a fully-staged production of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra, performed by the Curtis Opera Theatre under the baton of Maestro George Manahan, presented in collaboration with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center.

International House Philadelphia—$45,000
For “Anti-Jazz: The New Thing Revisited,” a four-concert series presented in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop and featuring performances by Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Arkestra; Bill Dixon and the Exploding Star Orchestra; Bobby Bradford, Frode Gjerstad, and Circulasione Totale Orchestra; and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts—$100,000
For “Fresh Ink,” a new music series featuring Philadelphia debuts by the Absolute Ensemble, Brooklyn Rider, and 2 Foot Yard, as well as performances by pianist Simone Dinnerstein, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and the Kronos and JACK Quartets (JACK will be co-presented by Bowerbird). Programs offer a U.S. premiere by Matthias Pintscher and 20 regional premieres of works by Mike Block, Charles Coleman, Philip Glass, Matt Haimovitz, Matt Herskowitz, Colin Jacobsen, Carla Kihlstedt, Jeff Myers, Gene Pritsker, Serge Provost, Christopher Rouse, Ana Sokolovic, Steven Stucky, Gilles Tremblay, and Luna Pearl Woolf.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia—$45,000
To perform the Philadelphia premiere of Roberto Sierra's Missa Latina under the baton of Artistic Director Alan Harler. Guest artists: Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, and baritone Nathaniel Webster.

Montgomery County Community College—$52,000
In support of “Sabor Latino: A Caribbean Journey,” a four-concert series featuring David Sanchez, Paquito D'Rivera, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and Marlon Simon.

Opera Company of Philadelphia—$100,000
To present the East Coast premiere of Tan Dun's Tea: A Mirror of Soul with soprano Kelly Kaduce, tenor Roger Honeywell, mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby, baritone Haijing Fu, and bass Kirk Eichelberger, conducted alternately by Tan Dun and David Hayes.

Orchestra 2001—$45,000
To commission and premiere new works by Pulitzer Prize-winners Paul Moravec and George Crumb, and Guggenheim Fellow Robert Maggio. Guest artists: violinist Maria Bachmann and soprano Ann Crumb.

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society—$75,000
To present four world premieres by composers Charles Abramovic, Kyle Bartlett, Jan Krzywicki, and Richard Wernick; and eight Philadelphia premieres by Mario Davidovsky, Tigran Mansurian, Charles Wuorinen, Donald Martino, Stephen Hartke, John Adams, James MacMillan, and David Dzubay. Guest artists: oboist Richard Woodhams; the Julliard, Brentano, Takács, Orion, and St. Lawrence String Quartets; guitarist Jason Vieaux; violist Kim Kashkashian; pianist Peter Serkin; Trio Cavatina; the Dolce Suono ensemble; and Counter) Induction.

Philadelphia Museum of Art—$45,000
To commission saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter for a work inspired by the Museum's East Asian art collection and performed by the Wayne Shorter Quartet (Shorter plus pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade) on the Museum's “Art After 5” series.

Philadelphia Orchestra—$100,000
To perform Philadelphia premieres of Richard Danielpour's A Woman's Life (with Maestro Rossen Milanov and soprano Angela Brown) and Bright Sheng's The Phoenix (with Maestro Charles Dutoit and soprano Shana Blake Hill).

The Philadelphia Singers—$45,000
To collaborate with Relâche and Orchestra 2001 in a program featuring the world premiere of Persephone by Philip Glass, the Philadelphia premiere of You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich, and excerpts from Gavin Bryars' Cycle Lauda Cortonese.

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band—$45,000
To produce two programs exploring mid-17th century Iberian music. The first, to be performed with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, recreates a Marian Vespers with music by Rebelo, Melgás, and Correa. The second features Spanish theater music by Juan Hidalgo based on musical cues from the plays of Lope de Vega and performed with soprano Ellen Hargis.

SRUTI, The India Music and Dance Society—$21,500
To present a Carnatic saxophone concert by Kadri Gopalnath; a Carnatic chitraveena concert by N. Ravikiran; and a jugalbandi (fusion) concert blending Carnatic and Hindustani styles with flutist Shashank Subramanyam and sitarist Ustad Shahid Parvez, presented in collaboration with the Painted Bride Art Center.

Tempesta di Mare—$45,000
To perform Jan Dismas Zelenka's Lamentationes pro hebdomana sancta for ATB soli and chamber ensemble with alto Lorie Gratis, tenor Aaron Sheehan, and baritone Sumner Thompson.

Warriors of the Wonderful Sound—$50,000 (2 years) *
To commission saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Coleman to compose and perform new works with Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, the Philadelphia-based 15-member big band. Presented in partnership with Montgomery County Community College.

* First-time grantee


Philadelphia Music Project 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 eight-member panel reviewed this year's applications:

  • Vinson Cole, tenor, professor of voice, New England Conservatory; artist in residence, University of Missouri at Kansas City
  • Robert Garfias, ethnomusicologist, professor of anthropology, University of California, Irvine
  • Paul Hostetter, conductor, director of orchestra studies, Montclair State University; artistic director, Winter Sun Music Festival
  • Jennifer Koh, violinist
  • Michael Orlove, program director, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Robert Page, director of choral studies, Carnegie Mellon University; director of special projects and choral activities, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Shulamit Ran, composer, professor of music, University of Chicago
  • Tim Ries, saxophonist/composer, professor of jazz studies, University of Toronto
  • Lyle Nordstrom, lutenist, professor of music history/director of early music, Univ. of North Texas
  • Bell Yung, Chinese music specialist, professor of music, University of Pittsburgh


The Philadelphia Music Project, one of seven artistic initiatives of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, has funded a total of 279 project grants since its inception in 1989. These awards represent a total of $12,247,794 invested in the region's nonprofit music community.