The American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the 2012 AGO National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., July 1–6, 2012. The $15,000 NEA “Art Works” grant is directed to new music, workshops, and performances, and carries a mandate that it be matched dollar for dollar from other funding sources. The 2012 AGO National Convention is the third consecutive AGO National Convention that has garnered funding from the arts endowment.
AGO President Eileen Guenther stated, “The recognition by the NEA reaffirms the importance of new music commissions to increase organ and choral repertoire available to future generations, and to increase the American public’s knowledge of and appreciation for contemporary classical music. The AGO is especially interested in supporting new music for the concert stage, as there are increasing numbers of American concert halls, including the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, with new concert organs.”
AGO Executive Director James Thomashower added, “It is an honor to be recognized by the NEA. We are highly grateful for this grant that will enable us to continue our tradition of presenting outstanding musical performances when we meet for our 2012 AGO National Convention in Nashville.”
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman announced that the agency will award 863 grants to organizations and individuals across the country. The 863 grant awards total $22.543 million, encompass 15 artistic disciplines and fields, and support projects in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. “Art Works is the guiding principle at the NEA,” said Agency Chairman Landesman. “And I’m pleased to see that principle represented through the Art Works-funded projects that demonstrate the imaginative and innovative capacities of artists and arts organizations to enhance the quality of life in their communities.”
For its 51st biennial National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., the AGO has commissioned new compositions from Diana Burrell, David Conte, Eleanor Daley, Craig Phillips, Rosephanye Dunn Powell, and Roberto Sierra. The NEA grant will support these newly commissioned works and their premier performances, as well as educational workshops and concert programming during the convention. The roster of convention performers will include organ recitalists Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, Matthew Dirst, Ahreum Han, Hector Olivera, Jane Parker-Smith, Craig Phillips, Raul Priéto Ramirez, Cherry Rhodes, Tom Trenney, and Thomas Trotter, plus winners of the AGO National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance, the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation, and the AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists; choral ensembles Choir of Trinity College (Cambridge) and Nashville Chamber Choir; and instrumental ensembles Nashville Baroque Ensemble, Nashville Symphony (with organists Nathan Laube and Todd Wilson), and Joseph Gramley/Clive Driskill-Smith (organ and percussion duo).