Chicago Philharmonic Society Awarded Its First Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

The Chicago Philharmonic. Photo by Elliot Mandel

 

The Chicago Philharmonic Society has been named the recipient of a $10,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The award will support a collaboration between The Chicago Philharmonic Society, composer Augusta Read Thomas, and Chicago-based percussion ensemble Third Coast Percussion for the creation and performance of a new work for percussion quartet and orchestra. The premiere will be presented in the fall of 2017 as part of the Chicago Philharmonic's 2017-2018 symphonic season.

 

“We are thrilled to have received our first NEA award, which will showcase three important Chicago cultural assets: iconic composer Augusta Read Thomas, the innovative ensemble Third Coast Percussion, and the outstanding musicians of the Chicago Philharmonic,” said Society executive director Donna Milanovich.

 

The Chicago Philharmonic. Photo by Elliot Mandel

 

A Grammy award winner and Pulitzer prize nominee, Augusta Read Thomas was also the longest-serving composer-in-residence for the Chicago Chicago Symphony Orchestra, holding the position for nine years between 1997 and 2006. She is also one of only sixteen people ever to be designated a University Professor at the University of Chicago, where she currently teaches composition. Her work has been widely performed across the country and has been described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music.”

 

Composer Augusta Read Thomas

 

 

Described as “vibrant” and “superb” by the New Yorker, Third Coast Percussion Ensemble has performed in hundreds of concerts across the country since its inception in 2005. Third Coast is known for their unique collaborations across a variety of disciplines and their use of cutting-edge new media, including free iPhone and iPad apps designed  to enhance audience experiences. They are also the Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame.

 

Third Coast Percussion Ensemble

 

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion worth of grants in its fifty years of existence. The NEA recently announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first round of funding for the 2016 fiscal year. The Art Works grants support transformative works that generate fresh insight in a variety of artistic fields, connect communities to art in new ways, and have the ability to be emulated by or shared with others. These grants seek to promote creation, engagement, learning, and livability.

 

Members of the Chicago Philharmonic. Photo by Elliot Mandel

 

The Chicago Philharmonic Society is a collaboration of over 200 of the highest-level classical musicians in the Chicago metropolitan area. Governed under a unique and groundbreaking structure of musician leadership, the Society presents concerts at venues throughout the Chicago area that cover the full spectrum of classical music, from Bach to Britten and beyond. The Society’s orchestra, known simply as the Chicago Philharmonic, has been called “one of the country’s finest symphonic orchestras” by the Chicago Tribune, and its unique chamber music ensembles, which perform as the Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players (cp2), draw from its vast pool of versatile musicians.

 

The Society’s outreach programs connect Chicago-area youth to classical music and provide performance opportunities for members of the community. Founded 26 years ago by principal musicians from the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Chicago Philharmonic currently serves as the official orchestra of the Joffrey Ballet, continues its 21-year association with the Ravinia Festival, and presents symphonic concerts in Evanston and, beginning in May 2016, at the Harris Theater.

 

Members of the Chicago Philharmonic. Photo by Elliot Mandel


This groundbreaking collaboration between some of Chicago’s most talented musicians, made possible by a grant from the NEA, promises to be an exciting and innovative musical experience. The performance of this work in 2017 is something to look forward to.

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