(Boston, MA – February, 2009) New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) awarded over $24,000 in grants to organizations that present music and the performing arts through the New England States Touring (NEST) and Meet the Composer/New England grant programs for winter 2009. Through these programs, NEFA encourages opportunities that engage New England artists and communities through venues that can include libraries and PTA’s as well as theaters, art centers, and festivals.
NEST grants provide nonprofit organizations with financial support for up to 50% of an artist’s fee, making it possible for them to engage artists from throughout the region for the benefit of their communities. NEST grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.

This quarter’s grant recipients will welcome the artists listed below to their New England cities. Performances are scheduled to take place over the next 3 months and are listed on NEFA’s website at /events/index.html.

Presenter: Arts Council of Tamworth (Tamworth, NH)
Artist: Revels Repertory Company (Watertown, MA)
Grant Amount: $2,005
The Arts Council of Tamworth will host Revels Repertory Company and their program, Voices from the Mountain. The performance celebrates Olive Dame Campbell, a New England native, and one of America’s first ethnographers of traditional music in the Appalachian Mountains. The music and culture that Campbell collected is common to the roots and culture of the early settlers of Tamworth. In addition to a public performance, Revels Repertory will have local students join them on stage for a special school performance.

Presenter: Connecticut Early Music Society (New London, CT)
Artist: La Donna Musicale (Boston, MA)
Grant Amount: $2,375
The Connecticut Early Music Society’s mission is to promote music that has been neglected because of the passage of time or because of cultural biases. The work of La Donna Musicale – to focus solely on early music by female composers – works well with the Society’s mission and June festival. In addition to a public performance, pre-concert lecture, and post-concert Q&A, La Donna Musicale will be performing for school children in New London, who have had little exposure to the diversity and importance of classical music.

Presenter: International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT)
Artist: Mango Blue (Cambridge, MA)
Grant Amount: $857
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will present two concerts by Mango Blue during their lunchtime and evening concert series. Mango Blue’s connection to Ecuador will help the festival strengthen ties to the Latino community and will shine a spotlight on Ecuadorian music and culture. The ensemble’s music will be a key component in a day planned to honor the establishment of an Ecuadorean consulate in New Haven.

Presenter: Keene Middle School (Keene, NH)
Artist: Tony Vacca’s World Rhythms (Northampton, MA)
Grant Amount: $662
In an effort to encourage tolerance and cultural diversity, Keene Middle School will host the drumming group, Tony Vacca’s World Rhythms. The artists will lead a number of workshops for 6th grade students combining poetry, spoken word, and music. In addition to performing for the entire middle school, World Rhythms will also hold a professional development workshop for teachers in the Keene area and will perform a public concert at Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College.

Presenter: Keene State College, Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond (Keene, NH)
Artist: The CORE Ensemble (Medford, MA)
Grant Amount: $2,047
Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College will host chamber music theater group The CORE Ensemble and their program, Ain’t I a Woman. The performance is a celebration of African American music, performed by a chamber trio, and dramatized by an actress who will tell the life stories of four African American women. Several outreach activities will be scheduled in conjunction with the performance, including a luncheon for the Campus Diversity Committee, workshops for the Women Studies program, and a public lecture-demonstration.

Presenter: Saint Joseph College, Carol Autorino Center (West Hartford, CT)
Artist: Avner the Eccentric (Peaks Island, ME)
Grant Amount: $2,396
Saint Joseph College will bring the art of mime to the Carol Autorino Center for the first time in the theater’s history. In Exceptions to Gravity, presented entirely in mime by Avner the Eccentric, a series of predicaments will be solved by magical illusions, physical dexterity, and humor. In addition to a public performance, Avner will lead workshops for middle and high school theater students from the American School for the Deaf. Avner’s performance will be a special part of Family Day at the school. Teachers at the school will conduct post-event in-class discussions regarding Avner’s workshop and performance.

Meet the Composer/New England grants provide nonprofit organizations with financial support for up to 50% of a composer’s fee to foster the creation, performance, dissemination, and appreciation of composers’ music, and provide meaningful interactions and experiences between the composers, their music, and communities throughout the region. Meet the Composer/New England grants are awarded on a semi-annual basis.

The following 21 presenters and composers will be supported through Meet the Composer/New England Public performances as a result of these grants can be found at /events/index.html.

Presenter: Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Roslindale, MA)
Artist: Thomas Oboe Lee (Roslindale, MA) / Artist: Lewis Spratlan (Roslindale, MA)
Grant Amount: $2,000 / $2,000
Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is widely recognized as the premiere orchestra in the United States. Each season, BMOP presents new works and re-discovered “classics” of the 20th century. With this in mind, they’ve invited composers Thomas Oboe Lee and Lewis Spratlan to collaborate with the orchestra. In addition to public concerts, both artists will lead special workshops for teenagers in Dorchester and the Boston Arts Academy.

Presenter: Bowdoin International Music Festival (Brunswick, ME)
Artist: Don Freund (Bloomington, IN)
Grant Amount: $1,000
Bowdoin International Music Festival will present musician, composer, and educator, Don Freund, to participate in their upcoming season. Freund will perform a new work during the Festival’s Upbeat! Concert series, preceded by a short introductory discussion with the audience. In addition, Freund will be in a three-week residency to provide individual lessons to ten emerging composers in the Festival’s renowned compositions program. The composer will also lead three different master classes for the general public.

Presenter: Cantata Singers (Cambridge, MA)
Artist: Andy Vores (Boston, MA)
Grant Amount: $2,000
Cantata Singers’ long line of commissioned choral works continues with Andy Vores’ Natural Selection, a celebration of the natural world and of Charles Darwin, whose 200th birthday is in 2009. Vores will have the opportunity to connect with fourth grade students from the Neighborhood House Charter School through the Cantata Singers’ in-school music composition program. The composer will use student melodies as the basis for his own setting. The NHCS students will perform this composition work along with the Boston Children’s Chorus.

Presenter: International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT)
Artist: Phil Kline (New York, NY)
Grant Amount: $800
The International Festival will present three performances of the world premiere of Really Real, a dance and music collaboration using only the human body and voice. Phil Kline, a composer known for using instrumentation in his work, will compose an entirely a capella piece to complement the dance movement. In addition to an open rehearsal and working with a youth chorus, the composer will lead a discussion describing his process of creating original music and composing for dance choreography.

Presenter: Judy Dworin Performance Project, Inc (Hartford, CT)
Artist: Leslie Bird (Hartford, CT)
Grant Amount: $800
As a dance and theater artist, Judy Dworin is interested in creating a form that blends dance, text, story, and song in an approachable way. To complement this philosophy, Judy Dworin’s Performance Project will host songwriter Leslie Bird in their collaborative piece Dreamings. Bird will be creating songs based on her experience as a teaching artist-in-residence at York Correctional Institution. Multiple residencies, talk-back sessions, study guides, and school and public performances are planned throughout the area.

Presenter: Litchfield Performing Arts (Litchfield, CT)
Artist: Avery Sharpe (Amherst, MA)
Grant Amount: $800
Bassist, composer, and educator Avery Sharpe will compose a new work performed by an all-bass ensemble during his residency at the Litchfield Jazz Camp. In addition, Mr. Sharpe will coach a combo ensemble, lead theory classes, give master classes, participate in History of Jazz sessions, and perform for students, parents, and the general public during the 14th Annual Litchfield Jazz Festival.

Presenter: New Hampshire Theatre Project (Portsmouth, NH)
Artist: Randy Armstrong (Dover, NH)
Grant Amount: $800
As a special component of their 20th Anniversary season, New Hampshire Theatre Project has commissioned Randy Armstrong to create an original score for the Senior Youth Repertory Company's full-length production of Hamlet. The score will be performed by the composer and a senior student from a local high school. The composer will also lead a workshop for aspiring composers and improvisational musicians and will assist with a workshop entitled Rhythms of Shakespeare.

Presenter: Stonehill College (Easton, MA)
Artist: Gwyneth Walker (Braintree, VT)
Grant Amount: $1,000
Stonehill College will host composer Gwyneth Walker to highlight their Concentration in Music program. Her performance will serve as a catalyst for the growth and development of the course. Ms. Walker will lead a three-day residency, where students will observe rehearsals and participate in master classes. Her visit will culminate in a concert which will serve as the Spring 2009 piece on their Nakamichi Fine Arts Series.

Presenter: Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (Waterbury, CT)
Artist: Ysaye Barnwell (Washington, DC)
Grant Amount: $800
Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (WSO) has invited Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, a member of vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, to perform a commissioned piece, Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. The cantata will be the setting for a poem about the life of an 18th century African American enslaved in a household in Waterbury, CT. Due to the historical and political nature of the performance, WSO has planned numerous outreach activities, including lectures hosted by historians and anthropologists, a choral workshop and community sing-a-long, a pre-concert lecture, and post-concert Q&A and reception.

Presenter: Wesleyan University Center for the Arts (Middletown, CT)
Artist: Barbara Croall (Milton, Ontario)
Grant Amount: $2,000
Wesleyan University Center for the Arts is piloting a project entitled Feet to the Fire: Exploring Global Climate Change from Science to Art. They are commissioning Native American composer Barbara Croall to compose a new work, Messages, inspired by the issues surrounding global climate change. The work will be developed and performed by the Wesleyan University Orchestra. The commission is one part of a residency that will also include a Music Department colloquium, discussions with high school students, a symphonic workshop, and world premiere of the piece.

Information about all NEST artists can be found on MatchBook.org (www.MatchBook.org), NEFA’s free online cultural marketplace that sparks connections between the regions’ artists, presenters, and communities.

The next application deadlines for NEST funding are March 2, 2009 and June 1, 2009. NEST applicants may now apply online through CultureCount (culturecount.org), NEFA’s online resource for engaging New England’s cultural nonprofits, businesses, and professionals. Visit www.nefa.org/grantprog/grantprocess.html to learn more about NEFA’s online grant process.

NEFA’s online grant process will also be available to Meet the Composer/New England applicants for its next application deadline on June 1, 2009.

NEST is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. Funding for Meet the Composer/New England is provided by the MetLife Creative Connections program of Meet the Composer, Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, the six New England state arts agencies, and the Argosy Foundation.

NEFA creatively supports the movement of people, ideas, and resources in the arts within New England and beyond, makes vital connections between artists and communities, and builds the strength, knowledge, and leadership of the region’s creative sector. NEFA is a 501 (c) 3 that operates with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England state arts agencies, and from corporations, foundations, and individuals.
NEFA administers nine grantmaking programs that support the performing arts, public art, and Native American artists. NEFA also leads projects and initiatives that range from the analysis of the impact of the creative economy to the creation of online tools which link and advance the regional, national, and international cultural community. For more information, please visit www.nefa.org or call [617] 951-0010.