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2015_New Music USA 


Annual Report

  • Submitter: 
  • Year: 
  • Please describe your organization’s activities over the past year, including concerts, commissions, collaborations, publications: 

    In May 2015, New Music USA hosted two public events. The first was a NewMusicBox LIVE showcase featuring talks and performances from three very different musical creators: saxophonist/sound experimentalist Matana Roberts, Grammy and Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Joan Tower, and polystylistic singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane. The event, which was free and open to the general public, took place at SubCulture, a unique New York City music venue that combines the best qualities of a club and a concert hall. We returned to SubCulture for a benefit cocktail party, dinner, and concert featuring performances by a broad range of New Music USA Project Grant recipients: 2014 MacArthur fellow Steve Coleman; PRISM Saxophone Quartet with Rudresh Mahanthappa; flute/piano duo RighteousGIRLS performing works by Andy Akiho and Pascal Le Boeuf; and the Wet Ink Ensemble.  (The entire NewMusicBox LIVE showcase will be posted to NewMusicBox in August 2015.)

    Over the past year, 116 different new music projects received a total of $571,300 through New Music USA’s Project Grants which support concerts and recordings, as well as dance, film, theater, opera, and more—all involving contemporary music as an essential element. At the end of June 2015, New Music USA announced the recipients of its fourth round of Project Grants awards; 54 projects were awarded grants totaling $287,050. In January 2015, an additional 62 projects were awarded grants totaling $284,250 in the third round of Project Grants awards. In response to feedback from artists who were surveyed last summer following the two inaugural rounds of the program, the third and fourth round grants included a special focus on requests of $3,000 and below. Approximately 65% of the third round awardeesand 44% of the fourth round awardees were in this category.  Awarded projects from all four rounds can be discovered, explored, and followed by the public via media-rich project pages (

    Through Music Alive, New Music USA’s partnership with the League of American Orchestras, five orchestras were able to support composer residencies: the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Gabriela Lena Frank); the Seattle Symphony (Trimpin); Pacific Symphony (Narong Prangcharoen); Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (Stella Sung); and the Albany Symphony Orchestra (Sleeping Giant, a collective comprising six composers— Timothy Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman).  Also of note, Julia Wolfe’s oratorio Anthracite Fields, which was commissioned through our Commissioning Music/USA program in 2011, was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

    Early this year, New Music USA established a Patron Investor Network which will create greater opportunities to fund new music activities across the United States. In addition, staff members from New Music USA have participated in the composer development workshops for the American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, and the New Jersey Symphony’s Edward T. Cone Composition Institute at Princeton University.

    Among the 2014-15 highlights from our web magazine NewMusicBox (  are conversations with the iconic 87-year-old German-born composer Samuel Adler (which has had over 5000 site visits thus far), Caroline Shaw (the youngest composer ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize), electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel (whose realization of Johannes Kepler’s “Music of the Spheres” was sent into outer space on the two Voyager spacecrafts), African American composer James Lee III (who orchestral works have been championed by Leonard Slatkin and Marin Alsop), and three jazz vocalists who span three generations and completely different backgrounds—Sheila JordanFay Victor, and Jen Shyu. There have been in-depth articles about streaming, the multifarious musical roles of the banjo and the saxophone quartet, and a history of Mormon composers, as well as opinion pieces about the decline of insightful jazz criticism in the mainstream media, fostering greater musical exchanges between the United States and Latin America (which we published in English and in Spanish), and the danger of the ubiquity of background music. We have also featured blogs by 24 different new music practitioners on topics ranging from 1960s experimental music festivals and composing music for a commercial production company to studying composition in Estonia and teaching music appreciation to lifetime inmates at a maximum security prison. Over the past 12 months, NewMusicBox has received more than 700,000 page views, averaging around 60K per month.

    Finally, New Music USA has moved offices as of April 13, 2015. We are still in Lower Manhattan’s historic Financial District, but we are now at 90 Broad Street, a 25-floor office building with an ornate Beaux-Arts lobby that was built in 1930.



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