Since it was founded by artistic director and conductor Richard McKay in 2011, the Dallas Chamber Symphony has enlivened Dallas' classical music scene with innovative programming. Now that work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which announced yesterday that the Dallas Chamber Symphony will receive a grant of $50,000 as part of the NEA's "Our Town" initiative to fund performances in downtown spaces across the country.
For the Dallas Chamber Symphony this kind of community engagement is a continuation of what they've already been doing. In its four-year history, the professional ensemble of 40 musicians has often sought to reach new audiences by collaborating with artists in other mediums such as dance and film. For the Silent Film series, the symphony sets original compositions to silent films such as Bumping Into Broadway by Harold Lloyd. The annual Sight of Sound festival reverses this process by giving filmmakers a piece of classical music to use as inspiration for a silent film.
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The NEA received 240 applications for "Our Town" grants and will award 64 organizations across the country between $25,000 and $100,000. Dallas Chamber Symphony will apply its grant money toward a new program, "Taking it to the Streets," which will launch this fall.
The program will entail twenty plus performances, some of which will be musical "moments," or hour-long, free concerts showcasing diverse musical styles in downtown spaces. "Seeds" events will take the symphony into facilities such as The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center and The Wayman Learning Center for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, which cater to groups that would not ordinarily visit traditional performance venues like the Dallas City Performance Hall, the symphony's home. The program will continue through the spring of 2018.
“Projects such as the one led by the Dallas Chamber Symphony help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities," NEA Chairman Jane Chu said in the press release announcing the grant.
To learn more, visit dcsymphony.org.