We’ve had a dizzying start to the semester, but couldn’t be more pleased to announce the spring Entrepreneurial Student Grant recipients. Friday marked the completion of the grant review process, and we have funded eight new creative projects:
Parlor Night is a bi-monthly chamber music series at the LilyPad in Cambridge. A collaboration between Michael Dahlberg, his LilyPad String Quartet and venue owner Gil Aharon, Parlor Night aims to transform the perception and conventional presentation of live classical music performance in Greater Boston. The mission is three fold: to find new performance formats that attract audiences, to make classical music a social convener, and to cultivate deeper relationships between professional musicians and the communities that they are part of.
John Elliott is curating a Prism concert, a unique type of performance that blends different styles of music and plays with time and space to create an interactive and welcoming atmosphere. The music is continuous and ensembles are set up in different locations throughout the venue to envelop the audience. The set-up is informal, allowing audience members to interact socially and engage with the performances.
Elizabeth Erenberg is creating a unique program that combines music and Greek mythology. The final concert, which will take place in Erenberng’s native Los Angeles, will include flute repertoire based on Greek myths as well as a newly commissioned work for orator, tambourine and flute by DMA student Derek David. This production will enable students studying Ancient Greek History and Mythology to engage with their curriculum through the arts.
This March, Lauren Hunt will travel to Bogota, Colombia for ten days to work with a wide variety of horn students. Lauren will be working with three organizations that serve different communities in the city: Tocar Y Luchar (the El-Sistema style program in Colombia), Sabana Centro, a music preparatory school and the conservatory affiliated with the National University of Colombia.
Andres Lopera and Cecilia Huerta have teamed with Villa Victoria to launch the Boston Latin-American Orchestra (BLO). This chamber orchestra is comprised of twenty-two current and former NEC students as well as musicians from the Greater Boston area. BLO aims to present Latin-American orchestral music and in so doing, create a space where Latino culture can be celebrated and shared.
Improvisers Anonymous Series, curated by Peter Negroponte, is a new performance initiative that will promote improvised music and allow young improvisers to collaborate and share bills will more experienced players. Each concert will reflect the many sub-genres of improvised music, from improvised music based on pre-composed material to free jazz, and electro-acoustic music, among others. Concerts will take place at the Piano Factory and will create an accessible space for students and young musicians to perform and showcase their talents as improvisers.
The Chiron Competition, directed by Albert Oppenheimer, is a New England composition competition that provides the opportunity for young composers (High School and College) to have their works premiered at the New England Conservatory by world-class musicians. Winners of the competition will also be paired a mentor who will help provide guidance and support to the student as he/she pursues further composition education.
The New England Conservatory Composers Lab Ensemble (NEC CLE)is a pilot program that seeks to cultivate an environment of guided exploration for young composers in a two-day intensive forum. Selected composers will work with a Visiting Composer, an NEC Composition or Theory Faculty member, and a flexible ensemble of experienced musicians to develop new techniques and workshop their works-in-progress. NEC CLE will serve as a sounding board for composers, a space where composers can receive direct feedback from the ensemble. The workshop will culminate in a public performance of the pieces that are selected for the NEC CLE workshop.
Quite the line-up, wouldn’t you agree? These students have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to prepare their applications and pitch their projects to our review panel (comprised of staff, faculty and former grant recipients). They have labored over project visions, timelines, marketing plans, and yes, most difficult of all – budgets. Aside from the enormous benefit of having a pot of money to work with, these students have also learned a great deal in the application process itself. Articulating a vision, creating a work plan, identifying target audiences, crafting a marketing strategy, and figuring out how to balance a budget are all skills that we want our entrepreneurial musicians to develop while they are at NEC. And although these skills certainly need to be practiced and honed over years, not weeks, our students have the advantage of getting a head start. Most importantly, they are getting their head start in an environment that is supportive, collaborative, and at the end of the day, safe. We are less concerned with whether or not these projects become wildly successful ventures, though they may. Our greatest hope is that the experience of executing these projects will help our students build skills and networks so that the next time they have a great idea (and there certainly will be a next time) they will also have the toolkit to realize it. In the coming days, we will be posting short teaser videos so that you too can get to know each of our grant recipients and their creative visions.
Contributed by: Eva Heinstein, Program Manager of Entrepreneurial Musicianship