Sorry about the last two months and not posting – I as so busy that even I ran out energy at the end of the day. But I’m not complaining as the frantic pace was with great purpose and with projects that I care deeply about. For the next couple of days I will catch up with some background of what I have been up to.
Week of Nov 11th:
Initial Planning meeting with Karma Agency (our brilliant design and branding firm responsible for our new look) for graphic and communication strategy for our 40th Anniversary Season in 2014-2015. This is a really big season for the company and we have some very special operas, projects and gala to communicate and we need to get it just right. The team of 8 made great progress in framing out the communication objectives and a very cool format for the subscription brochure. Work continues to now in revisions and some re-thinks as move towards announcing the season on February 18th. Watch this space
Nathan Gunn recital at the American Academy of Arts and Letters Reception to open the Ives Studio in New York. It was a complete honor to be at this event as a guest of Nathan’s and to be seated with the Chairman of the Board of this illustrious organization that does so much for artists. Their significant commitment to American composers is inspiring. Here is some quick history: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, chartered by Congress, was established in 1898 to “foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts.” Each year the Academy gives away just under $1 million in awards to artists, architects, writers, and composers. It presents exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts, and subsidizes readings and performances of new musicals. The 113-year-old organization is located in three landmark buildings designed by McKim, Mead & White, Cass Gilbert, and Charles Pratt Huntington, on Audubon Terrace at 155th Street and Broadway, New York City. Harmony Ives, widow of Charles Ives (1874-1954), bequeathed the royalties from her husband’s music to the Academy to be used for scholarships for young composers. Six scholarships of $7,500 and two fellowships of $15,000 are given annually. In 1998, the Academy inaugurated the Charles Ives Living, which gives an American composer $100,000 a year for two years to free a promising talent from the need to devote his or her time to any employment other than music composition during the period of the award. In 2008, the Academy awarded the inaugural Charles Ives Opera Prize of $50,000, to be given to a composer and a librettist for a recently produced work.
Auditions in New York with CAMI. This was a great opportunity to hear 12 singers from the Columbia Artist Roster and was really worth the trip. We are working with the managers of several of the singers for future roles.
Presentation at City Age: The New American City Conference at Drexel University. As one of 40 speakers I participated in a dialogue about ideas to re-shape urban America through emerging business partnerships, coalitions and people in the creative economy. I think these civic engagements are important and a way for the artistic leaders to be integrated into solutions that benefit the entire community.
Attended a performance of Academy of Vocal Arts production of Cosi fan tutte in Haverford. The cast was entirely first-year resident artists and they all did an incredible job. I love experiencing artists discovering roles for the first time and it was a joy to witness these young singers work as an ensemble and they were perfectly cast. Mozart is just so very great for young artists and all of these residents benefited from experience. Great job all round.
Theatre Exile performance in South Philly featuring John Jarboe from the Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Both Exile and the Beards are provocative locally-based companies that bring a verve and energy to the work and are always worth going to. We are exploring collaboration with the Bearded Ladies so stay tuned.
President Search Committee work for Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The Cultural Alliance will soon start a formal search process to identify a new President and, as the Chairman of the Board, I serve on the search committee (brilliantly chaired by President of UArts, Sean Buffington). We have used the time leading up to the search to do a lot of internal discernment on the issues facing the sector and the best role that the Alliance can play in helping members meet these challenges. Most of the work of the committee during this time was to complete and articulate the needs so that in December we could work on a position description and talk deeply with the Board of Directors about the profile of this future leader.
Our great friend Gabe Canuso got married and had an amazing celebration at the studio of artist Warren Muller. It was a wonderful party in an incredible space with loving people. Plus his work is wondrous –added bonus. Check it out: http://www.winkwarrenmuller.com/