ESYO receives $30K grant

SCHENECTADY — The Empire State Youth Orchestra is one of 17 orchestras that have received $30,000 American Orchestras’ Futures Fund grants from the League of American Orchestras, made possible with the generous support of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, according to a news release.

The League’s Futures Fund will support the launch of Access ESYO, an online, “pay what you can” ticketing program developed in response to the needs of an increasingly economically diverse membership. Access ESYO will allow ticket purchase for as low as $1 per seat, and will be sustained through a pay-it-forward campaign inviting donors to deposit the cost of a seat in an online ticket bank. ESYO has never turned away a qualified musician due to economic hardship, and is now taking steps to ensure that no audience member is turned away because of the price of a ticket. Utilizing an online platform, Access ESYO will empower patrons to participate at a level they can afford while safeguarding individual integrity. Access ESYO supports the organization’s ongoing efforts to break down barriers to the arts, and grow audiences that, like ESYO’s musicians, are a reflection of the community’s diversity, the news release stated.

The Futures Fund grantees from across the country are seizing opportunities in the current environment. These include giving life to contemporary repertoire by American composers; developing imaginative concert experiences and cross-cultural artistic programming; increasing diversity and access to music education; connecting with new immigrants and underserved populations; extending reach via digital streaming initiatives; investing in valuable audience development research; and working with multiple populations in rural and urban regions. Descriptions of the initiatives supported through the AOFF can be found here, the news release stated.

The $4.5 million AOFF program included a first round of grants for larger-budget orchestras, announced in 2017, the news release stated.

For this second round, smaller-budget and youth orchestras that are based in the United States and that are members of the LOAO were eligible to apply. An independent review panel selected the orchestras based on criteria including significant investments in organizational learning, meaningful partnerships with community organizations, and an ability to assess and adapt practices for continuous innovation, the news release stated.

In addition to recommending 17 orchestras for the full two-year grant, the panel recognized the creative promise that several orchestras demonstrated and designated an additional award in the form of a seed grant for five orchestras to support their continued organizational work towards the goals outlined, the news release stated.

This round’s Futures Fund recipients ($30,000 grants) include:

The American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Virginia; The Boston, Mass. Modern Orchestra Project; The California Symphony; Central Ohio Symphony; Chicago, Ill. Youth Symphony Orchestras; Contemporary Youth Orchestra, Ohio; El Paso, Texas Symphony Orchestra; Empire State Youth Orchestra — launch of Access ESYO, an online “pay what you can” ticketing program to meet the needs of an increasingly economically diverse membership; Evansville, Ind. Philharmonic; Fox Valley, Wis. Symphony Orchestra; Greensboro, N.C. Symphony Orchestra; Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, Calif.; Lima, Ohio Symphony; Lubbock, Texas Symphony; New Bedford. Mass. Symphony; Project 440, Pennsylvania; Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, Texas, the news release stated.

Seed grant recipients ($6,000): Akron, Ohio Symphony; InterSchool Orchestras of New York; Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra; Lexington, Ky. Philharmonic; Tulsa, Okla. Symphony Orchestra, the news release stated.

By Kerry Minor

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