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Brooks Center director receives National Endowment for the Arts grant

From Clemson University -- The Newstand Article by Kathy Elrick

Mickey HarderLillian “Mickey” Utsey Harder has been awarded an Arts Engagement in American Communities grant of $10,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This grant will be matched by an equal amount of $10,000 from private donors for a total of $20,000. Harder is director of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts and professor of music. She is using the funds to support the Utsey Chamber Music Series at the Brooks Center — a series well known for three decades of community outreach through free chamber music concerts. Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of this award to Lillian Harder for the Utsey Chamber Music Series. In each community, the arts have the power to create new avenues for economic health and physical vibrancy, and for people to feel a sense of pride in their locality. This grant demonstrates this power and affirms that the arts are part of our everyday lives.” The NEA is the federal agency that supports and funds the arts, with programs and funding that supports thousands of activities in communities large and small across the country, including about 30,000 performances and 3,000 exhibitions annually. Harder initially started the Utsey Chamber Music Series as an endowment to honor her parents, Lillian and Robert Utsey, and their love of chamber music. The two goals of the series are to bring up-and-coming musicians to Clemson and to make the concerts free to all. Now in its 30th season, the Utsey Chamber Music Series is synonymous with world-class performances, and the series and its performers are committed to making cultural programs available to people of all ages and socio-economic levels. In collaboration with Clemson University, the Utsey Chamber Music Series was awarded the prestigious Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award from the South Carolina Arts Commission in 2007. It was Harder’s second Verner award, the first coming in 2002. The Verner Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the arts for South Carolina and is the highest award given in the state for artistic achievement. Follow the Utsey Chamber Music Series and the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts on Facebook and @BrooksCenterCU.
 

Savvy Musician in ACTION announces finalists of national Chamber Music Competition

Some of the country’s most innovative chamber music ensembles will be in Columbia competing for major prizes during USC’s innovative arts entrepreneurship workshop, The Savvy Musician in ACTION (SMIA). The Chamber Music Competition, sponsored by the University of South Carolina in collaboration with Chamber Music America, is the country’s only major chamber music competition in which the judging criteria includes both artistic excellence and innovative event design. The Chamber Music Showcase concert takes place June 4 during Columbia’s First Thursdays on Main event at Tapp’s Art Center from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The four finalists will compete for prizes including professional management, a NYC showcase concert, and a paid residency at the University of South Carolina. The showcase concert is free to attend. The competition’s four finalists, selected from a large field of applicants, will each play a 25-minute set during the showcase concert. In addition to reimagining the concert experience, the program highlights each group’s stellar musicianship and creative programming. The finalists: Cre.Art Project - Cre.Art Project is a chamber ensemble that works through multidisciplinary interaction gathering musicians, visual artists, dancers, actors, writers, designers and acrobats from all over the world to create unique performances. Founded in 2006 by Guillermo Laporta and Tagore González , Cre.Art Project has produced shows at leading venues and festivals across Europe and America with a wide range of productions like the musical London the Show, the multimedia music series Visuality and the opera Noctum. Peter Ferry and Xuan - Peter Ferry, percussion soloist, and Xuan, video artist, redefine the modern duo by transcending the limits of traditional performance and collaboration. Through original interdisciplinary projects involving live video and musical performance, they explore new artistic territory through percussion’s lush sonorities and rhythmic vitality, and film’s intricately constructed animations and beautifully layered imagery, all of which left critics at the Rochester Fringe Festival calling the show “Breathtaking... all that such festivals are supposed to be: funny, boundary-pushing, thought-provoking.” (Democrat and Chronicle) Chicago Q - Named as one of the “leaders of the new school” by Symphony Magazine, Chicago Q Ensemble is a trio of equal creative partners who develop intimate, seamless performance works grounded in contemporary and classical chamber music. Their aesthetic approach is deliberately raw and stripped-down, leaving space for audiences to connect with the performance in a deeply personal way. The ensemble rejects the traditional image of the performer as mere interpreter, striving instead to emphasize individuality, vulnerability and risk-taking. District5 - Specializing in contemporary works and original transcriptions, District5 creates immersive and dramatic shows that depart from the standard concert format. By combining innovation with musical integrity, their imaginative interpretations seek to heighten the audience’s emotional connection to the music. With the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s ROTARY Woodwind Quintet already to their credit, this emerging wind quintet continues to produce one-of-a-kind performances.

Artist spotlight: Claire Bryant – cellist, teacher, advocate

clairebryantSouth Carolina is well-represented by successful artists who were born or raised here but who now live beyond the state's borders. Cellist Claire Bryant, based in New York City, is one artist who maintains close ties with her birthplace as a musician and educator. Bryant performs Nov. 20 in a homecoming recital at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (details available on the FAC website.) Here's an excerpt from Bryant's bio. Find out more about her on her website.

New York City-based cellist Claire Bryant enjoys an active and diverse career as a leading performer of chamber music, contemporary music, and the solo cello repertoire in premiere venues such as Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre, Suntory Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Barbican Centre. Bryant is a founding member of the acclaimed chamber music collective, Decoda - an Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, and is the principal cellist of Trinity Wall Street’s chamber orchestra, Novus N.Y. Bryant is a frequent guest artist with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Band and Ensemble ACJW, of which she is an alumna. Bryant has appeared as a soloist with orchestras from South Carolina to California and from Honduras to Finland performing concertos of Haydn, Elgar, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and Vivaldi, among others, and appears frequently at festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Bryant is equally engaged as an educator and advocate for inclusive arts in society. Her international body of work in these areas was recognized in 2010 with The Robert Sherman Award for outstanding innovation in community outreach and music education by the McGraw Hill Companies.  In 2009, she founded a community residency project through chamber music in her native South Carolina called “"Claire Bryant and Friends.”" This endeavor brings world-class artists to communities for weeklong residencies which go beyond the concert hall - bringing engaging pedagogy and performances into the public schools, advocacy forums supporting arts education, and community concerts and creative projects in diverse and innovative venues including hospitals, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities.

She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was in the pilot class of The Academy -- A Program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and Weill Music Institute and served as an assistant faculty for Professor Bonnie Hampton at The Juilliard School from 2007 –to 2012.

Photo of Claire Bryant by Caroline Bittencourt Fotografia
 

New entrepreneurship initiative to develop savvy musicians

Participants from 21 states and Canada will descend on the University of South Carolina campus June 6-9 for The Savvy Musician in ACTION, a unique 4-day experiential retreat designed to help musicians increase income and impact (think The Apprentice meets higher education.) Music professionals, faculty and students will pitch arts-based business ideas, vote on their favorites and form teams to design business models and marketing campaigns to compete for awards. Attendees will experience a variety of learning opportunities including training sessions, peer-teaching, mentorship, an “expert expo,” field research, prototyping, reflection sessions and more. The Savvy MusicianLed by pianist, composer, “The Savvy Musician” author and USC director of music entrepreneurship David Cutler, the retreat brings attendees face to face with thought leaders and entrepreneurs from the arts world. Participants take part in training sessions and learn from experts including Lance LaDuke of the Boston Brass, internationally known as a performer, writer, producer, speaker and educator, and Justin Kantor, co-founder of (Le) Poisson Rouge, a multi-media performance space, art gallery and cabaret in New York's Greenwich Village. The retreat culminates with a Venture Challenge, where teams pitch their proposed arts businesses to a panel of judges including Ken May, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, and Greg Hilton, executive director of Midlands Center for Entrepreneurial and Technological Innovation, as well as a panel of Columbia-based leaders involved with the arts, entrepreneurship and economic development. USC School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding says, "This retreat is a perfect collection of learning and doing experiences for delivering the profound message and companion skills necessary to make one’s way in the world of professional music. The USC School of Music has championed, through its distinctive SPARK: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory, the very principles and visions for our musical futures that are at the heart of this intensive retreat. We are so proud to be able to offer it to musicians and music lovers everywhere who are committed to tomorrow's musically enriched America that is essential for our society." The Savvy Musician in Action is about both music and entrepreneurship. To emphasize this dual goal, one of the retreat’s initiatives is a Chamber Music Competition with winners chosen through a competitive juried process. Open to forward-looking students and young professional chamber groups, the competition's judging criteria included artistic excellence and innovative event design. The winning ensemble, C Street Brass, was awarded full tuition scholarships to the retreat, a $500 stipend and an add-on professional development workshop with retreat faculty. The public is invited to performances by C Street Brass and two runners up during First Thursdays on Main Street, Columbia's cultural festival, on June 6 from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. at Tapp’s Art Center (1644 Main Street). About Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory taps into the creative and imaginative energy of USC music students and faculty and organizes a number of initiatives that benefit the university community. Focused on success, innovation and community, Spark, formerly Carolina Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music (CILEM), prepares music leaders for the 21st century. Spark’s formula for developing leaders is at the core of its mission: Success + Innovation + Community = Leadership. Spark and the USC School of Music are committed not only to cultivating outstanding musicians, but also leaders who are well equipped to succeed professionally.

Spoleto Festival USA May 24 – June 9 in Charleston

[gallery link="file"] For 17 days and nights beginning Friday, May 24 through Sunday, June 9, Spoleto Festival USA fills the historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces in Charleston, South Carolina with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers. Take your choice of opera, theater, music theater, dance and visual arts, plus chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. The 37th annual Festival will feature one of Spoleto’s largest lineups in recent history, with expanded dance and theater offerings and two original opera productions, as well as a wide range of classical and contemporary music.
The Opening Ceremonies take place at noon in front of Charleston’s City Hall. The newly retrofitted TD Arena will see its first performances on Friday night as Compagnie Käfig presents a program of hip-hop-influenced Brazilian dance. Following the evening’s performances, the Spoleto Opening Night Fête kicks off the 2013 season with an elegant street party with cocktail supper, live music, a full bar, and the company of Festival artists and patrons. Spoleto Festival USA is known for introducing audiences to new and groundbreaking work, and the 2013 Festival offers a number of American premieres in a variety of genres, beginning with the contemporary opera Matsukaze by Toshio Hosokawa, one of Japan’s most prominent living composers. In dance, young tap virtuoso Jared Grimes makes his Spoleto debut premieringa new evening-length work created especially for the Festival. The theater program offers the American premiere of a production of  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by England’s Bristol Old Vic in association with South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. One half of the operatic double-bill—Umberto Giordano’s Mese Mariano—will receive its first fully staged U.S. production. On the music front, John Kennedy, Spoleto Festival USA’s resident conductor and director of orchestral activities, will lead the Festival Orchestra in the American premiere performances of Pierre Boulez’s arrangement of Ravel’s Frontispice and Pēteris Vasks’Credo; and the Bank of America Chamber Music Series will feature the world premiere of a new work by composer-in-residence Samuel Carl Adams (son of composer John Adams, whose landmark piece Harmonielehre is being performed in a separate orchestral concert). Find the full schedule and ticket information on the Spoleto USA website.