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Santa Rosa Symphony Receives Prestigious NEA Grant


Santa Rosa Symphony Receives Prestigious NEA Grant

Challenge America Award will support community outreach activities related to the “Jazzy Impressions” 
Classical Series season finale concert set featuring pianist Gabriela Martinez in May 2016

The Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS) recently received a Challenge America Award from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the amount of $10,000.  The SRS will use this award to support performances, a workshop and related outreach activities featuring Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez during the Santa Rosa Symphony’s 88th season finale in May, 2016.

This outreach project is intended to share classical music with the Sonoma County Latino community. Martinez, a music education advocate, will conduct a free bilingual “musical career day” workshop for elementary school violinists, participate in an open rehearsal for the community, and participate in 3 pre-concert talks before each Classical Concert performance. Organizations such Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, the YWCA Sonoma County, California Parenting Institute, the Boys and Girls Club Central Santa Rosa, and Hanna Boys Center – selected for their ties to local, underserved communities – and local elementary schools will assist with targeted outreach and free ticket distribution for the main stage performance at the Green Music Center.

Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra violinists

In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so. For its first funding round for fiscal year 2016, the NEA has announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million, including this Challenge America award to the Santa Rosa Symphony.

The Challenge America category supports projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Challenge America grants are comparatively small investments that have a big impact in their communities.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from the Santa Rosa Symphony offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

About this Challenge America grant to the SRS, Executive Director Alan Silow said: “This grant from the NEA expresses national confirmation of the importance of the work the Santa Rosa Symphony is doing in Sonoma County to inspire and engage people with the highest-quality musical performances and to develop compelling educational programs focused on the local community.”

INFO: National Endowment for the Arts

About the Santa Rosa Symphony

Santa Rosa Symphony, the Resident Orchestra of the Green Music Center, is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California, and the largest regional symphony north of Los Angeles. Bruno Ferrandis, who began his tenure in 2006, is the fourth Music Director in the organization’s history. The Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS) is committed to core values of artistic excellence, innovative programming and community service. This year the SRS contributed over $4 million into the local economy.

Currently in its 88th season, the Symphony’s performance schedule includes 21 Classical Series concerts (7 sets), 7 Discovery Dress Rehearsal concerts, a 3-concert Family Series and a 4-concert Pops Series, as well as special concerts. The Symphony is also recognized for having one of the most comprehensive music education programs in California, serving nearly 23,000 youth annually.

Collaborations with schools and organizations across Sonoma County have gained SRS national attention and support. Awards include an American Symphony Orchestra League MetLife Award for Community Engagement and a first place award for adventurous programming in the 2012-13 season from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).