Post-holiday for Post-Classical
Tis the season of season announcements. The Post-Classical Ensemble was able to make a particularly big one today, covering programming for the next two seasons -- thanks to a very welcome piece of news, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for $200,000.
“This feels like a big imprimatur for an organization with a budget of under $500,000,” commented Joseph Horowitz and Angel Gil-Ordoñez, the group’s founders and artistic directors, in a joint e-mail.
The grant will support a number of the small festivals in which the Post-Classical Ensemble has come to specialize, presented in partnership with Georgetown University, the Music Center at Strathmore, and the film division of the National Gallery. These will include a Charles Ives project in November with the pianist Jeremy Denk, whose luminous Ives interpretations have made him something of an Ives specialist; a Falla/Stravinsky event including a fully-choreographed production of “El Amor Brujo” in December; and, in 2012-13, an “Interpreting Shostakovich” festival and one called “Mexican Revolution.” The latter will include a live performance of the original Silvestre Revueltas score of the film “Redes,” which the group will later issue as the third in its series of DVD film scores.
Horowitz, in particular, is known for the thematic programming exemplified by each of these festivals. Yet though each is self-contained, some larger themes are emerging over more than one festival at a time. The Falla/Stravinsky project continues earlier focuses on both these composers (including the upcoming "Stravinsky Project" at Georgetown in April); and the "Mexican Revolution" project echoes the weeklong Revueltas/Chavez festival the group did in 2008.
These performances aren’t only destined for Washington, either. Thanks to the grant, the Ives events and the “Amor Brujo” are expected to tour.
The budget of a large-scale, year-round American orchestra is often $20 or $30 million. In light of this, it’s nice to remember what a huge difference a $200,000 grant can make to a smaller organization devoted to finding interesting ways to present quality work.