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Kurt Weill Foundation for Music to Expand Grant and Sponsorship Programs

President and CEO Kim H. Kowalke today announced expanded programmatic initiatives for the The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. Dr. Kowalke, who was invited to lead the Foundation by Lotte Lenya in 1981, described the present moment as "the beginning of a new phase in the Foundation's history. The twelve-member Board of Trustees of the Foundation has made available the financial resources necessary to increase funding for grants and sponsorships substantially, expand existing programs, and embark upon new initiatives that will significantly advance the organization's mission. Staff appointments will enhance the Foundation's ability to respond to these new opportunities."

New Program Initiatives

Three program initiatives have recently been launched. Each advances a central goal in the organization's mission, namely to "nurture talent, particularly in the creation, performance, and study of musical theater."

- Sponsorship of a Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Glimmerglass Young Artist, which in its first year underwrites Lotte Lenya Competition Winner Ben Edquist's residency at the 2014 Glimmerglass Festival, where he is performing a leading role in Carousel.
- A pilot program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2014 National Music Theater Conference underwrote orchestration mentors and contributed direct support to the two composer-librettist teams: composer Avi Amon and librettist Julia Gytri (The White City); and composer/lyricist Jim Bauer and librettist Ruth Bauer (The War Dept.).
- In collaboration with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's Observership Program, Kurt Weill Fellows were placed with Martha Clarke at the Atlantic Theater Company, New York City, and Matthew Gardiner at Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia, to observe the master directors preparing their stagings of The Threepenny Opera.

Staff Transitions

The launch of the initiatives coincides with the retirement of longtime Foundation Director and Vice President, Carolyn Weber, effective August 31, 2014. Kim Kowalke spoke of Ms. Weber's impact during her years at the Foundation: "Having joined the Foundation in 1998, Carolyn has been a key member of our team, playing a leadership role in the Kurt Weill centenary celebrations and many major initiatives thereafter, nurturing the growth of the Lotte Lenya Competition into an international event with ongoing influence on the career development of winners, overseeing the expansion of the grant program to include sponsorships and mentorships, interacting dynamically and productively with our publishing partners and producing organizations, handling complex licensing questions and business affairs - all with an integrity and ease of manner that concealed the prodigious commitment and effort she gave to these varied and sundry responsibilities. Her contribution has been enormous." Reflecting on her tenure, Carolyn Weber said, "It has been a great joy to work alongside my colleagues and the Board of the Kurt Weill Foundation over the past 16 years. I've loved collaborating with arts organizations and academic institutions on Weill projects and encouraging the growth of young artists through the Lenya Competition and related activities. With the excellent staff now in place, the Foundation is poised to expand these exciting new ventures."

In the newly-created position of Director of Programs and Promotion, Janice L. Mayer will spearhead the grants, prizes, and sponsorship programs, oversee the Lotte Lenya Competition and the career development program for previous winners, as well as such new endeavors as sponsored observerships for young directors, and support for creators of new musical theater. In welcoming her to the Foundation this month, President Kowalke said: "Janice Mayer's wide-ranging and distinguished background in arts administration makes her the ideal Director of Programs as we seek broader impact in our collaborations with artists and producing organizations on both sides of the Atlantic." Ms. Mayer responded, "I am delighted to have the opportunity to foster the appreciation and visibility of the work of composers Kurt Weill and Marc Blitzstein. I have deep admiration for the work of the Board of Trustees and staff of the Foundation and look forward to furthering the mission on a daily basis as part of the administrative team."

Nine-year veteran Brady Sansone has been promoted to Associate Director for Business Affairs and Record Management effective September 1, 2014. He will be responsible for licensing, royalty monitoring and collection, human resources, and data management. Kim Kowalke spoke of Brady Sansone's promotion: "Brady has proven himself a devoted team player and a quick study, now indispensable to our accelerated activities in several arenas." Brady Sansone commented, "Having worked closely with Carolyn for a number of years, I feel well prepared to assume greater responsibility in the Foundation's business affairs, while my graduate degree in Library and Information Science will allow for state-of-the-art systems of records management, retention, and retrieval."

As of August 15, 2014, Eric Joseph Meyer will round out the team as Program Administrator and Office Manager. "Eric Meyer will bring expertise in social media, Internet outreach, and technical support, as well as a master's degree in composition and a profound interest in musical theater," stated Dr. Kowalke.

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