Houston Symphony Receives Innovation Grant from League of American Orchestras

Houston Symphony Receives Innovation Grant from League of American Orchestras

The Houston Symphony is one of just twenty-one orchestras from across the United States to receive a grant from the League of American Orchestras'American Orchestras' Futures Fund. The two-year innovation grant, made possible by the generosity of the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation, will support the Houston Symphony's Community-Embedded Musicians (CEM) initiative.

"We are honored to be among the orchestras receiving a grant in the inaugural year of the Futures Fund," said Mark C. Hanson, Executive Director and CEO, Margaret Alkek Williams Chair. "Everyone in our organization is committed to innovation and to making our work relevant and meaningful to everyone in the Houston community we exist to serve. This grant in support of the Community-Embedded Musicians program will be very helpful in achieving this goal, and in highlighting the importance of creatively meeting our community's needs."

"These twenty-one orchestras from across the country were chosen for their ability to influence a positive future for the art form," said Jesse Rosen, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras. "They are making significant and exciting investments in organizational learning and innovation. We are grateful to the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation for their visionary support of this new program."

"We are delighted by the diversity and reach of the twenty-one initiatives chosen in the first round of the American Orchestras' Futures Fund," said Lisa Delan, Director, the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation. "The Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation is deeply appreciative of the opportunity to collaborate with the League of American Orchestras on this program, and for the vision and courageousness of its member orchestras in exploring new ways to impact their communities, field-wide learning, and the future of classical music."

The primary role of the Community Embedded Musicians focuses on directly enhancing the impact of the orchestra's growing education and community engagement activities, which helps reach more than 16,000 Houstonians each year in schools, hospitals, and other community venues. These accomplished musicians and dedicated teachers spent 80 percent of their time offstage, engaging in activities that range from in-depth school residencies to Music and Wellness programs in area children's hospitals.

The $4.5 million American Orchestras' Future Fund program will include another round of two-year grants for small- and medium-budget orchestras, to be announced in 2018.

The initiatives funded include a wide range of innovation efforts, from community and neighborhood residencies, programs redefining the concert experience, and projects aimed at increasing audience diversity, to piloting new organizational practices, fruitful artistic collaborations, and the use of new technologies within the concert hall.

For this first round, U.S.-based large- and medium-budget orchestras that are members of the League of American Orchestras were eligible to apply. An independent review panel selected the orchestras based on criteria including the organization's capacity to respond and adapt to opportunities and changed circumstances, and the potential for artistic, internal, community, public value, and field-wide impact. The program and evaluation consultants for the American Orchestras' Futures Fund are, respectively, Sarah Lutman (Lutman & Associates) and Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf (WolfBrown).

During the 2016-17 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its third season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony's four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston. For tickets and more information, visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America's orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit americanorchestras.org.

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