Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

PITTSBURGH – In December, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced that The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is one of 895 nonprofit organizations to receive an Art Works grant. The $50,000 grant supports the 2013-2014 Composer of the Year residency program.

This year, the Composer of the Year program features the works of Pittsburgh composers David Stock, Leonardo Balada, Nancy Galbraith, Patrick Burke, Bomi Jang, Mathew Rosenblum, Reza Vali and Amy Williams, and includes three world premieres and four commissions. The Year of Pittsburgh Composers kicked off with a world premier of Stock’s Sixth Symphony during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics opening weekend on Oct. 4-6. The U.S. premiere of Balada’s “Symphony of Sorrows” followed in November. The season continues with a collaborative piece by Burke, Jang, Rosenblum, Vali and Williams (The Elements) in February 2014 and the Pittsburgh Symphony premiere of Galbraith’s Euphonic Blues in March 2014. The annual Reading Session hosted by the Pittsburgh Symphony and conducted by Leonard Slatkin, which invites scores from music schools throughout the State of Pennsylvania, is also included in the program. This grant will also help the Pittsburgh Symphony begin a legacy program within Composer of the Year initiative, allowing the orchestra to commission a former composer in the program. This year’s returning composers are Richard Danielpour (Jan. 17-19, 2014) and Christopher Rouse (April 4-6, 2014).

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States,” said Shigekawa. “Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts.”

“This grant recognizes the innovative ways that orchestras like the Pittsburgh Symphony make music and performing arts more accessible to their communities,” said Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director Manfred Honeck. “We are particularly proud of our Composer of the Year program, and this year is a special one that celebrates the wealth of musical talent found here in Pittsburgh.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 895 are recommended for grants for a total of $ 23.4 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

For more than 116 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The Pittsburgh Symphony, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which has been touring both domestically and overseas since 1900, continues to be acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. It has made 40 international tours, including 20 in Europe, eight to the Far East, and two to South America. In January 2004, under the baton of Gilbert Levine, the Pittsburgh Symphony was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration. Recordings and radio concerts are also an important part of the orchestra’s tradition. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast coast-to-coast, receiving increased national attention in 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International (PRI). The PRI series is produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3 in Pittsburgh and is made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For more information, visit pittsburghsymphony.org.

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