National Endowment for the Arts Awards Grant to CYSO

We are proud to share that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has approved a $20,000 grant to support the next two seasons of CYSO’s Listen to the Future Composer-in-Residence Project. The project fosters the creation and performance of new works for CYSO’s young musicians that will then become available to youth and professional orchestras worldwide.

Launched in 2022 in honor of our 75th anniversary season, the Composer-in-Residence Project was created to promote diversity in the orchestral canon, especially in works for younger players. Each CYSO ensemble will have at least one piece written for their playing level and have the opportunity to work with composers to learn more about the inspiration and creation of the piece.

Jazz Orchestra Director Pharez Whitted and musicians take a bow following the premiere of Derrick Gardner’s Chi-Town Suite at the 2022 CYSO Gala. The piece’s commission was funded through CYSO’s Listen to the Future Composer-in-Residence Project.

Upcoming commissions and performances for the 2023-2024 season in the Composer-in-Residence Project include works by Marcus Norris, Fjola Evans, Eric Malmquist, and Ben Wahlund, and in the 2024-2025 season, ensembles will premiere works by Vivian Fung, Laura Brackney, Jennifer Higdon, Allison Loggins-Hull, Wang Lu, and Clarice Assad.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including CYSO’s, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”

Composer Aaron Gage (center left in suit) joins Accelerando Strings, conductor Daniella Valdez, and Kaiso Steel Orchestra on stage following the premiere of his piece for steel band and string orchestra, We Sailed to Other Worlds.

So far, CYSO’s Composer-in-Residence Project has premiered Derrick Gardner’s Chi-Town Suite (Jazz Orchestra), Aaron Gage’s We Sailed to Other Worlds (Kaiso Steel Orchestra and Accelerando Strings), Bernard Rands’ AURA (Symphony Orchestra), Laura Brackney’s Moonflower (Debut Orchestra), and Clarice Assad’s Bohemian Queen (Symphony Orchestra).

CYSO is grateful for support from the Sargent Family Foundation, the Zell Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts for the Listen to the Future Composers-in-Residence Project.

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