Investing in the musical life and legacy of Philadelphia

2024 Grantees

The Musical Fund Society granted $64,000 to 12 organizations for projects in the 2023–24 season.

Ars Nova WorkshopArs Nova presents the reunion of Fieldwork, the trio of percussionist Tyshawn Sorey, pianist Vijay Iyer, and saxophonist Steve Lehmann. Fieldwork’s music reflects their ties to the American jazz tradition, modern composition, African and South Asian musics and more. After nearly
a decade, they reunite for a four-night residency at Solar Myth, in preparation for a new recording that will be created in Philadelphia.
BowerbirdBowerbird’s three-concert program will be the first multiple-part retrospective of George Walker’s solo and chamber music since his death in 2018, and Bowerbird’s first presentation of his music. Dr. Walker’s music will be performed in various venues across Philadelphia by pianist Dynasty Battles, a recent winner of the MFS Career Advancement Award, the Daedalus Quartet and the Arcana New Music Ensemble$5,000
Dolce Suono EnsembleDolce Suono’s project celebrates its active commissioning program with three concerts of previous and new commissions and panel discussions with composers. The project also includes workshops and side by side performances with students at AMLA, the Esperanza Academy, and Cayuga Elementary School.$5,000
Esperanza Arts Center
Esperanza Arts Center commissions and presents the world premiere of Corazón de Esperanza
(“Heart of Hope”), a concert-length multi-media work by Nicaraguan composer/vocalist/visual artist Gilda Lyons. Ms Lyons, who is a Grammy-nominated composer, will be using recorded interviews and videos from her recent visit to Nicaragua to shine a light on the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis there. She will also be in residence with Esperanza students and faculty.
Intercultural JourneysDifferent generations and cultural backgrounds come together in this first-time collaboration between four pianist-composers. Kendrah Butler-Waters, Sumi Tonooka, Miriam Suzzette Ortiz, and Terry Klinefelter will draw inspiration and content from their classical, jazz and world music traditions, along with community story circles and listening sessions to create a concert-length multi-movement work for four pianos, eight hands, with fully composed and improvisatory sections.$6000
Mann Center For The Performing ArtsThe Mann Center’s All-City Summer Academy is a three week program for 6th-12th grade students from local underserved communities. These students will be provided with high quality orchestra training, entirely free of charge. They will learn and perform alongside members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, culminating in a student performance joined and conducted by orchestra members. In addition to other training also provided by the orchestra and Project 440, the project also has a very rich assessment component, with an extensive plan for applying resulting conclusions to their future program models.$5000
Mendelssohn ChorusThe Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia will record a major new work by Philadelphia composer Melissa Dunphy. The text of this concert-length work will be drawn from conversations with members of the Commonwealth Youthchoir; the resulting libretto will give voice to the perspectives of these young singers, exploring their thoughts about climate change and what it means for their futures. The project is timed to celebrate MCP's 150th anniversary in 2024. $5000
Network For New Music Network presents What Do We Know, a concert centered on exploring the human experience through Jewish texts and music. In addition to the featured works by Daniel Asia, Judith Shatin, and Aaron Jay Kernis, Network Ensemble members will join students from the Philadelphia Sinfonia and string members from the Germantown Jewish Center’s ensemble for a side-by-side performance of a new work by emerging Philadelphia composer Adah Kaplan. Gary White will guest conduct.$5000
Orchestra 2001Orchestra 2001 celebrates the fifth anniversary of Cherry Street Pier with five ensemble concerts featuring a broad range of music by 18 Philadelphia composers, from Ben Franklin to Samuel Barber, Billie Holliday, Jennifer Higdon, Rene Orth and Ke-Chia Chen, among others. These five free events will be performed on the Pier in fall 2023.$5,000
PRISM Saxophone QuartetPRISM’s Generate Music project commissions new works exploring the ties between Black and Jewish Americans. Co-curated by PRISM and Helen Haynes, formerly of Philadelphia’s African-American Museum, composers include Tyshawn Sorey, Yotam Haber, Susan Watts, David Krakauer, Ursula Rucker, Fred Wesley, Diane Monroe, and Myra Melford. Many of the composers will join PRISM as guest artists in performance in June 2024 at World Café Live. As the highest-ranking proposal in this grant cycle, this project has received the MFS Robert Capanna Memorial Award. This annual award honors Bob Capanna, who we remember as an extraordinary composer, administrator, and advocate for music; the award is bestowed on projects of special merit.$6,000
Tempesta Di Mare Cruel Amaryllis is a 3-concert series exploring the text and music of 17th-century madrigals, performed by tenors Jacob Perry and James Reese (an MFS Career Advancement Award winner), accompanied by a trio of theorbos. These virtuoso works, by Monteverdi and others will be super-titled, and presented in conjunction with pre-concert talks, along with a Poetry Slam involving students from Penn, UArts and Temple.$5,000
The Crossing Each concert in this series considers an aspect of the gun violence epidemic in our society.
Donald Nally and The Crossing will be joined by soloist Davóne Tines and instrumentalists performing the premiere of Kile Smith’s new choral opera Job; 3D immersive performance of Tyshawn Sorey’s Monochromatic Light, which will be a culminating event as part of Penn Live Arts’ anti-gun violence programmatic initiative; and past commissions by Gabriel Jackson, including his Self Portrait, which the Crossing will perform in conjunction with a citywide church bell ringing that will toll the number of individuals shot in Philadelphia to that point.