Jan. 22, 2009
NEW YORK CITY — The American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been awarded an Access to Artistic Excellence grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the commissioning and premier performances of new music at the biennial AGO National Convention in Washington, D.C., July 4–8, 2010. The $15,000 grant carries a mandate that it be matched dollar for dollar from other funding sources. The 2009–2010 funding cycle will mark the fourth and fifth consecutive years the AGO has received funding through the NEA’s Access to Artistic Excellence grant program.
For its 50th biennial national convention in Washington, D.C., the AGO has commissioned new compositions from: Mary Beth Bennett, Rihards Dubra, David Hurd, Rachel Laurin, Shirley Murray, Leo Nestor, Bruce Neswick, Dorothy Papadakos, Craig Phillips, and Gwyneth Walker. Premier performances of the commissioned works will be given by world-class soloists, ensembles, and conductors dedicated to artistic excellence.
The new music commissions include works for: organ solo; organ and orchestral instruments; organ and jazz ensemble; organ and chorus; two organs and chorus; organ, brass, and chorus; and a hymn. In addition to being present for the premieres of their new works, the composers will be presented in a Composers’ Forum workshop at the convention.
"Since its founding in 1896, the AGO has commissioned more new works for organ and chorus than any other single organization in the world," declared AGO President Eileen Guenther. "The AGO also provides outstanding performances of these new works. 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 2010 AGO National Convention in the Nation’s Capital. 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 Arts Endowment will distribute $23,215,500 in this first round of fiscal year 2009 funding to support 1,051 projects, continuing its legacy of bringing arts of the highest quality to communities nationwide. The Endowment will distribute $20,325,500 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 886 projects out of 1,394 eligible applications. "I am delighted to announce the NEA’s first round of grants for fiscal year 2009," stated NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "We often hear from our grantees that the NEA’s grant support has a catalytic effect, helping the organization to garner exponentially additional funding for its project. These grants are an investment in our nation’s culture, and I am proud to say that the return on that investment benefits Americans from coast to coast."
For further information about the AGO National Convention in Washington, D.C., please visit www.agohq.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.