March 19, 2008
The American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been awarded two grants over 2007 and 2008 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).The grants, totaling $25,000, support the commissioning and premier performances of an hour of new music at the AGO National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., and carry a mandate that they be matched dollar for dollar from other funding sources. The 2008 calendar year marks the third consecutive year the AGO has received funding through the NEA’s "Access to Artistic Excellence" program.
For its 49th biennial national convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the AGO has commissioned new music works from: Judith Bingham, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Aaron Kernis, Libby Larsen, Steven Stucky; and a collection of chamber music for organ and instruments from Carol Barnett, Cary John Franklin, Linda Tutas Haugen, Monte Mason, David Evan Thomas, and Janika Vandervelde being published by Augsburg Fortress Press. Premier performances of the commissioned works will be given by organists Stephen Cleobury, David Higgs, and Catherine Rodland; Vocal Essence, and local orchestral musicians.
"Since its founding in 1896, the AGO has commissioned more new works for organ and choir than any other single organization in the world," declared AGO President Frederick Swann. "The AGO also provides auspicious performances of these works by recognized artists. It is an honor for us to be recognized by the NEA, and we are highly grateful for the grants that will enable this tradition to continue when we meet for our 2008 AGO National Convention in the Twin Cities. 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 being constructed or renewed that contain new or rebuilt organs."
The NEA will award $20.2 million to fund 908 grants in 2008, continuing its legacy of bringing arts of the highest quality to communities nationwide. The Endowment will distribute $19.189 million to not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations across the country through "Access to Artistic Excellence" grants. Through this category, the NEA will fund 866 projects out of 1,312 eligible applications. "This group of NEA grants supports a wide range of artistically excellent projects across the country," stated NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "Access to Artistic Excellence grants support the creation and presentation of work in dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, musical theater, opera, presenting, theater, and visual arts."
For further information about the AGO National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul, please visit <www.ago2008.org>. For further information about the National Endowment for the Arts, please visit www.nea.gov.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL email@example.com.