Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Receives $100,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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The National Endowment for the Arts honored the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with a grant of $100,000 to support the Orchestra’s upcoming November East coast tour and Spring 2012 West coast tour. Tour repertoire and educational activities all showcase the Orchestra’s 2011-2012 season programming theme that celebrates women as leaders. The BSO is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state and local arts organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide, with $100,000 being the largest music grant awarded in this funding cycle.

BSO Music Director Marin Alsop

“We are pleased that the NEA has acknowledged our season-long theme celebrating strong women as revolutionary leaders. This is a vital and compelling theme that is already garnering much excitement..." said BSO President & CEO Paul Meecham

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Yesterday the National Endowment for the Arts honored the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with a grant of $100,000 to support the Orchestra’s upcoming November East coast tour and Spring 2012 West coast tour. Tour repertoire and educational activities all showcase the Orchestra’s 2011-2012 season programming theme that celebrates women as leaders. The BSO is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state and local arts organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide, with $100,000 being the largest music grant awarded in this funding cycle.

In the 2011-2012 season, the fifth under BSO Music Director Marin Alsop’s direction, the BSO will bring its reinvigorated artistic vision and community outreach ethos to audiences on the East and West Coasts. Excluding select Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center engagements, this will mark the Orchestra’s first tour under Marin Alsop and the most recent West coast tour since the last tour in 1988. The 2011-2012 season is a year-long celebration of “Women as Leaders,” highlighting programs that feature works by female composers and that honor or depict women in varying roles throughout history, from religious martyr to humanitarian activist.

To celebrate the 600th anniversary of the birth of heroine, soldier and martyr Joan of Arc, the Orchestra will perform a semi-staged version of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore on November 17-18, 2011 and at Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 19. The story of Joan of Arc returns with a multi-media twist in March 2012. The 1928 landmark silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc will be accompanied by Richard Einhorn’s haunting score Voices of Light for live soloists, chorus and orchestra on March 2-4 at the BSO’s Baltimore and Strathmore homes as well as on March 31, 2012 at the University of California, Berkeley presented by CalPerformances.

As the first woman to lead a major American orchestra, Maestra Alsop will apply her own insights to the realization of concert programs, interactive multi-media productions, and other activities involving local women’s groups, businesses, and associations--including the creation of a new Women’s Leadership Forum and plans to host a women’s symposium with the Orchestra.

“We are pleased that the NEA has acknowledged our season-long theme celebrating strong women as revolutionary leaders,” commented BSO President and CEO Paul Meecham. “This is a vital and compelling theme that is already garnering much excitement and attention from our BSO audiences. The NEA grant will also assist the efforts of the BSO to bring our programming and the innovation that characterizes Marin Alsop’s vision for the Orchestra to a wider audience on both the East and West coasts.”

Under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Marin Alsop since 2007, the BSO has become a leader among American orchestras for its artistic excellence and unique programs designed around unified themes of cultural significance and broad appeal. The BSO also constantly strives to find new ways to attract, engage, and serve audiences in the 21st century, creating innovative access points that break down barriers to participation and promote active engagement among a broad audience. A central tenant of Alsop’s vision is broadening access within a community to its major cultural resources and symphony orchestra. Touring will further increase access to the BSO on a national scale and, through regional partnerships, inspire local efforts to use existing cultural resources in new ways and positively strengthen communities. Venues and performances will include:

  •     Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 19, 2011 with a performance of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher.
  •     The Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California on March 28, 2012 with performances of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 (Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 replacing Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 at Berkeley).
  •     A three-day education and performance residency in partnership with CalPerformances at the Zellerbach Hall of the University of California in Berkeley, California on March 30-April 1, 2012. Repertoire will include Philip Glass’s LIFE: A Journey Through Time, Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, and works performed in Costa Mesa, California.
  •     The Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon on April 2, 2012 in association with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra with performances to include works performed in Costa Mesa, California.

An independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts advances artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.” This marks the BSO’s largest single NEA grant in recent years and the largest grant issued by the NEA in this funding cycle. The BSO previously received a $100,000 NEA grant for the former education program Arts Excel in the 1998-1999 season.

About The National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.

The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s leadership, the BSO has rapidly added several critically acclaimed albums to its already impressive discography. The BSO recently released Dvořák’s Symphonies Nos. 6, 7 and 8, the final two discs in its three-disc Dvořák cycle. In August 2009, the BSO and Marin Alsop released Bernstein’s Mass featuring baritone Jubilant Sykes, the Morgan State University Choir and the Peabody Children’s Chorus. The album rose to number six on the Classical Billboard Charts and received a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album. The Orchestra made its foray into online distribution in April 2007 with the release of a live-concert recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on iTunes, which quickly become the site’s number one classical music download.

In addition to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the orchestra has performed for 28 years, the BSO is a founding partner and the resident orchestra at the new state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore, just outside Washington, D.C. With the opening of Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation’s only major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas.

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