MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced today the first 10 recipients of its Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, an $8 million commissioning initiative that is the largest of its kind in the United States. Reflecting the foundation's longstanding commitment to sustaining artistic expression and encouraging public engagement with the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, 10 local nonprofit organizations will receive grants of $150,000 each to commission major new musical compositions from world-class artists in genres including chamber, electronic, jazz, opera, and hip hop.
"The Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions are a symbol of the foundation's longstanding commitment to performing arts in the Bay Area," said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation. "We believe the awards will fund the creation of new musical works of lasting significance that are as dynamic and diverse as the Bay Area communities where they will premiere."
This year's commissioned projects have themes that speak directly to Bay Area communities, including the impact of technology on our culture, humanity's relationship to the natural world, and the experiences of immigrants and women in our society.
The 2017 recipients for music composition are:
- Cal Performances and Jimmy López for "Dreamer," a composition on the U.S. immigrant experience
- Community School of Music and Arts and Taylor Eigsti for "Imagine our Future," a jazz work crowdsourced from Bay Area students
- Del Sol String Quartet and Huang Ruo for "Angel Island Oratorio," a piece for string quartet and choir inspired by immigrant poetry
- Internet Archive and Paul D. Miller, AKA DJ Spooky, for "Sonic Web," an acoustic portrait of the Internet
- Kronos Quartet and Terence Blanchard, for "At War with Ourselves," an evening-length work exploring race relations in America
- Mills College and Meredith Monk, for "Indra's Net," an interdisciplinary, immersive composition on humanity's connection to the natural world
- Music at Kohl Mansion and Jake Heggie, for "Violins of Hope Bay Area Project," a new work for historic stringed instruments
- Opera Parallèle and Laura Kaminsky, for "Today it Rains," an opera based on the life of artist Georgia O'Keefe
- Peralta Hacienda and Dohee Lee, for "MU巫: 9 Goddesses," a mythological musical performance ritual
- SFJAZZ and Miguel Zenón, for "Golden City Suite," a new work of jazz rooted in the experiences of San Francisco's communities.
Complete descriptions of the commissioned projects are available at www.hewlett.org/50commissions.
The nonprofits commissioning the new works include both well-established, large-budget organizations and smaller nonprofit organizations that are deeply rooted in their communities. The commissioned artists come from diverse backgrounds and bring unique experiences to their work, hailing from New Orleans, Florida, Puerto Rico, New York, China, Peru, and right here in the Bay Area, among other places. Some have long-established composing careers, and others are closer to the start of their musical journeys. What unites them is the quality of their artistry and their commitment to creating new compositions that will engage, challenge, and inspire Bay Area audiences.
"I want nothing less than to change hearts and souls," said jazz composer Terence Blanchard, who will work with Kronos Quartet on "At War with Ourselves." "Music is communal. Concerts bring people together to vibe in one place, for one night. That, to me, is the power of this art."
Awardees were decided based on four selection criteria: artistic excellence, community engagement, collaboration and leadership, and financial capacity. A group of 23 finalists for the awards was nominated by a panel of outside experts whose members included:
- Maribel Alvarez, Jim Griffith Public Folklore Chair, Southwest Center/University of Arizona
- Mario Garcia Durham, President and CEO, Association of Performing Arts Presenters
- Sandra Gibson, Principal and Chief Catalyst, Gibson and Associates, LLC
- Ed Harsh, President and CEO, New Music USA
- Benjamin Johnson, Director of Performing Arts, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
- Sojin Kim, Curator, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
- John Nuechterlein, President and CEO, American Composers Forum
The Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program staff selected this year's 10 recipients from among the finalists.
"Without a doubt, this was the most competitive set of proposals I've seen in almost two decades of working in arts philanthropy," said John McGuirk, director of the Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program. "The works we ultimately selected are of the highest artistic quality and enduring value."
Since 1967, the Hewlett Foundation has made more than $335 million in grants to arts organizations. Launched in January 2017 to celebrate the foundation's 50th anniversary, the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions will award 10 grants to local nonprofits annually in each of five performing arts disciplines through 2021. Future years will focus on theater, dance, traditional arts, and film. The new works created with this year's awards will premiere in Bay Area communities over the next three years.
About the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world.
For more than 50 years, the foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities, and make the philanthropy sector more effective.
The foundation's Performing Arts Program makes grants to sustain artistic expression and encourage public engagement in the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, to give California students equal access to an education rich in the arts, and to provide necessary resources to help organizations and artists be effective in their work.
Media contact: Laura Gigounas, Kati Stadum, Gabrielle Farrell at Glodow Nead Communications, 415.394.6500 or HewlettPR@glodownead.com.
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SOURCE William and Flora Hewlett Foundation