Feb. 23, 2010
NEW YORK CITY — The American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been awarded two grants over the 2009 and 2010 calendar years by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The grants, totaling $35,000, will support the AGO National Convention in Washington, D.C., and carry a mandate that they be matched dollar for dollar from other funding sources. The 2010 calendar year marks the fifth consecutive year the AGO has received funding through the NEA’s "Access to Artistic Excellence" program.
For its 50th biennial national convention in Washington, D.C., the AGO has commissioned new compositions by: Mary Beth Bennett, Rihards Dubra, David Hurd, Rachel Laurin, Shirley Murray, Leo Nestor, Bruce Neswick, Dorothy Papadakos, Craig Phillips, and Gwyneth Walker. The 2009 NEA grant supported these commissioned works as well as their premier performances to be held in Washington. The 2010 NEA grant supports the entire convention performance program.
"Since its founding in 1896, the AGO has commissioned more new works for organ and choir than any other organization in the world," declared AGO Executive Director James Thomashower. "The AGO also provides auspicious performances of these works by highly skilled 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 2010 AGO National Convention in the Nation’s Capital." AGO President Eileen Guenther added, "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."
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman announced the first round of 2010 grants, which are the first grants awarded under his leadership. In total, the NEA will distribute $26,968,500 to support 1,207 projects, continuing its legacy of bringing arts of the highest quality to communities nationwide. Access to Artistic Excellence grants support the creation and presentation of work in the disciplines of dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, musical theater, opera, theater, and visual arts. Through the Access to Artistic Excellence category, the NEA will fund 994 projects with a total of $23,828,500.
"I am thrilled that we are able to help art work in this country through more than 1,200 projects across this country. We are supporting projects that have great works of art at the heart of them; that work to inspire and transport audiences and visitors; and that create and retain opportunities for artists and arts workers to be a part of this country’s real economy," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "It is our job at the NEA to support excellence in the arts, and to connect more Americans with more art, more often. This round of grants furthers that mission."
For further information about the AGO National Convention in Washington, D.C., please visit www.ago2010.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.