|Carolina Performing Arts awarded Mellon grant to present symphony orchestras|
|Tuesday, August 20, 2013|
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) $600,000 to support the presentation of symphony orchestras. CPA will use the funds over three years to present American orchestras during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
“Presenting symphony orchestras is absolutely critical to our artistic reputation and mission as a university-based performing arts presenter,” said Emil J. Kang, CPA’s director and UNC’s executive director for the arts. “As with many presenters, we struggle with the steep costs of presenting orchestras and are pleased to partner with the Mellon Foundation to ensure that our commitment to presenting the orchestral repertoire remains at the highest possible level.”
Beginning in 2014-15, CPA will invite one or two key American orchestral partners and explore American industrial history through the lens of American modernism. Works by Charles Ives, an American composer known for incorporating extreme complexity and unabashed simplicity in his music without elevating one above the other, as well as Edgard Varèse, Henry Cowell, George Antheil and Wallingford Rieger, among others, will serve as the basis for the programs.
CPA’s focus on American orchestras also includes plans for academic conferences, currently titled, “Music and the Line of Most Resistance: Rethinking Aesthetic Complexity,” to be held in Chapel Hill by the UNC Department of Music in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and in Berlin by the Akademie der Künste.
By programming American orchestras as part of a larger effort to examine the specific nature of American culture, CPA hopes to present opportunities to engage UNC faculty on issues concerning the role of cultural organizations, the creative class, changing regional demographics and the shifting fortunes of U.S. urban centers in the context of an increasingly globalized economy. A number of studies reveal that major cultural organizations such as symphony orchestras once marked a city’s cultural arrival and status, but that many of these cities are now in decline both economically and demographically.
“While funding for such an expansive program and scholarly dialogue is beyond the scope of the grant, we wish to begin thinking in these broader, more integrated terms to better connect with our faculty and to bolster longer term academic integration efforts,” Kang said. “This Mellon Foundation grant offers us an opportunity to think creatively about how we might build our classical programming through a framework far beyond the concerts themselves.”
In its first eight seasons, CPA has presented 27 orchestras from around the world, with classical music accounting for nearly 30 percent of performances. However, the increased costs associated with presenting symphony orchestras have resulted in programming ramifications that challenge CPA’s commitment to the genre. Except in a handful of major cities, it is increasingly uncommon for American audiences to hear renowned orchestras. In addition to the American Orchestras series, funding from the Mellon Foundation will help support CPA’s 2013-14 season, which includes performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and The English Concert in a rare concert-opera production of Handel’s “Theodora."
“Our goal is to nurture and build the orchestra audiences of tomorrow, to instill in students—and all generations—the beauty and power of the live concert experience,” said James Moeser, UNC chancellor emeritus and chairman of CPA’s national advisory board. “Presenting great symphony orchestras is a privilege, and we are grateful for the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has done so much to promote the continued vitality and growth of symphony orchestras, on this important effort.”
For more information about Carolina Performing Arts: https://www.carolinaperformingarts.org
For more information about the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: www.mellon.org