Composition Alumni Receive Individual Artist Grants

Two Department of Music alumni received individual artist grants through the Investing in Professional Artists program (pdf), a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. Composers Federico Garcia (PhD 2006) and Philip Thompson (PhD 2002) were among 10 artists in the Pittsburgh region to receive individual artist grants through the fourth funding cycle of Investing in Professional Artists.

Applications to the Investing in Professional Artists program were received from 161 individuals and organizations from 22 cities and towns across six counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. A peer review process with regional and national experts (pdf) from a variety of artistic disciplines considered applications and recommended grants to 10 artists and three organizations based on work quality and the potential of the proposed project to advance an artist’s career. Grantees include established and emerging artists working in visual arts, multimedia, dance, music, theater and literature. In addition to the individual awards for Garcia and Thompson, Alia Musica Pittsburgh, a new music ensemble Garcia directs and helped to found with several other music department alumni, received a residency award to highlight the compositions and performance of Ken Ueno.

Garcia’s grant will allow him to reduce his private composition and piano instruction so that he can focus on several new commissions and update his catalog with corrected editions and professional recordings. In the next year, Garcia’s works will be performed by Chicago-based ensemble Dal Niente, violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley (former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert master) violinist Elissa Cassini, and many others. He is also completing a percussion concerto commissioned by Carlos Camacho and the Panama Symphony.

Thompson’s grant will support the release of an album of his chamber music, focusing on his collaborations with Pittsburgh-based visual artists Garth Zeglin (robotic sculpture), Ryan Day (digital animation), Michael Morrill (painting), and filmmaker Will Zavala. IonSound Project, who commissioned and premiered several of these works, will perform on the studio recording as well. In addition to the full-length album, Thompson plans to release a multimedia Web site where listeners can experience these interdisciplinary works in context.

Please join us in extending congratulations to Federico Garcia and Philip Thompson for receiving this important support and recognition from two of Pittsburgh’s leading foundations, and for continued success in their creative endeavors!