Conservatory in the Schools awarded second NEA

Conservatory’s Academy Awarded NEA ArtWorks Grant


The UMKC Conservatory’s Academy is pleased to announce that it has received a National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks$20,000 grant for its Conservatory in the Schools program.  This is the second NEA grant for this program.   The groundbreaking Conservatory in the Schools programs provide high-quality performing arts instruction encompassing three distinct in-school programs and targets young musicians from underrepresented populations in the Kansas City metro area.

Conservatory Dean Peter Witte said, “Today’s NEA grant is another endorsement of UMKC’s commitment to inclusion and arts education. Through Conservatory in the Schools, Conservatory students learn to connect and serve prior to launching their careers. With this most recent grant, we’ve garnered close to $300,000 since 2008. The result? Our Conservatory students are engaged in neighborhoods, teaching, learning, and building bridges.”

Academy director Mara Gibson notes, “Continued recognition from the NEA affirms that we are serving our mission to provide high quality music instruction here in Kansas City, one student at a time.  In 2015-16, we will reach 61 individual Musical Bridges students, and touch more than15 schools, reaching hundreds through our programs Composers in the Schools and Ensembles in the Schools.”

Enjoy the short video below about Conservatory in the Schools and read a great article about Musical Bridges, one of the outstanding programs of Conservatory in the Schools.


Folium underway

Today I started a new series is called Folium (inspired by Luisa Sello’s poem “Let Clover be Aid”).  I met all of the performers/collaborators for this new project through through my fantastic friends/colleagues, Chen Yi and Narong Prangcharoen.

The first piece of the series is composed for Michael Hall (viola) and audience to be premiered in Italy this February.  This will be the third piece that we have collaborated together on in recent years (check out Canopy + Moments).

Next, the second part to the series will include a strings + flute duo for Alvin Wong and Luisa Sello to premiere in March in Vienna.  I have worked with Alvin and Luisa both on solo pieces.  Luisa commissioned me last year (Flone) and Alvin is recording E: Tip for my upcoming CD of recent chamber works that will be released spring 2015.

Eventually, there will be a third component to this project, for viola and cello and high wind/flute (for Luisa), perhaps also open to a non-western instrument doubling (for Jun Qian whom I had the opportunity to meet last spring through Chen Yi). Ultimately, this will be combined with a fixed media part along with the first two parts.  I continue to be  enamored by the idea of gathering friends/spirits to produce a truly collaborative work that joins a creative sphere with heart.  I am grateful to be connected to so many generous and creative spirits in this realm.

Generally, the idea for all three sections reflects a clover leaf — that is, to include the biological form as well as a geometric equation, representing the “infinite.” Each part will be titled: Folium I (viola and audience), Folium 2  -squared (cello/flute), Folium 3 – cubed (fixed media – open/live instrumentation).

Ideally, all three pieces will be mixed into a larger fixed media + instrument piece.  The working title for the series is Folium and each section will be 3-5 minutes.