How to Apply for an Award
Every fall, all Music Academy alumni are invited to apply for this annual funding and business development opportunity with projects that address a need in the performing arts or beyond. Each awardee receives:
- Up to $20,000 to support a creative project that blazes a bold new trail
- Training with design thinking leaders from Stanford’s d.school
- Individually selected industry advisor with specialized expertise for funded projects
- Additional travel and training opportunities
The 2023 funding cycle closed on October 15, 2022.
Want to make sure you receive special notice the next time applications open? Share your updates contact details below:
Meet the 75th Anniversary Awardees!
For 2022, the Academy’s Innovation Institute has awarded $75,000 to four alumni artistic projects
The Alumni Enterprise Awards (AEA):
- incubate and accelerate innovative alum projects;
- seed the music industry with bold, new ideas while advancing alumni projects and careers;
- support entrepreneurship in areas such as artistic expression, audience development, community engagement, education, social justice, and technology.
Nearly $400,000 has been distributed to winning alums since AEA launched in 2018.
The Innovation Institute is generously supported by the Ladera Foundation, Bobby Woods, and Cheryl and Peter Ziegler.
Distributed to Winning Alums
2022 Alumni Enterprise Award Results
2022 Winners Projects
AMANDA CRIDER / IlluminArts presents: To Reach the Light
To Reach the Light is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary work presented and curated by IlluminArts, performed by Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami and vocal ensemble Variant 6. Elliott Cole, Shawn Crouch, Jenny Olivia Johnson, Carla Kiehlstedt, and Evelin Seppar have been commissioned to compose works to be choreographed by Yanis Eric Pikeris. Industry Advisor: Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director, Joffrey Ballet
STEVE PARKER / FIGHT SONG
FIGHT SONG uses the marching band to examine themes of virtuosity, spectacle, labor, inequities, and traumatic injury in Texas football, drawing from the work of Hildegard von Bingen and Pauline Oliveros and the history of the marching band as a political tool. It will materialize as a gallery exhibition and site-specific marching band performance. Industry Advisor: Jon Rubin, interdisciplinary artist and Professor of Art, Carnegie Mellon University
CHRISTOPHER JANWONG MCKIGGAN / Pain of Silence
Pain of Silence is a feature length documentary in Thai focused on the struggles endured by traditional artists of Thailand and how the pandemic has magnified their challenges. The film will explore Thai puppet theater, grand shadow play, Thai Song Dam, and Thai ‘Pin’ music. Industry Advisor: Jamila Wignot, Peabody, Emmy, and NAACP award-winning documentary filmmaker and PBS series director
SAEUNN THORSTEINSDÓTTIR / The NOW Concerto
The NOW Concerto is a reimagining of the genre of the concerto, reclaiming its art of improvisation and expanding the possibilities of the orchestral concerto experience. This project will be a collaboration with composer Halldór Smárason to introduce the concerto to orchestras to secure future performances. Industry Advisor: Teddy Abrams, Music Director, Louisville Orchestra and The Britt Festival
View Past Winners below
2021 Alumni Enterprise Award Results
2021 Winners Projects
Camila Barrientos Ossio/Bruno Luiz Lourensetto: Música para Respirar
Based in Cochabamba, Bolivia and São Paulo, Brazil, Camila and Bruno are co-founders and co-artistic directors of La Sociedad Boliviana de Música de Cámara. La Sociedad conceived and launched a direct musical response to the COVID-19 crisis in August 2020. Top international musicians representing major institutions performed online concerts for COVID-19 patients, their relatives, health care professionals, seniors, children, and others. In 2021, La Sociedad presented four week-long editions of Música para Respirar 24/7. Eighty musicians performed 3,399 concerts for over 12,000 listeners. Future plans include an in-person tour in Bolivia to connect with their online audiences. Industry Advisors: Bobby and Eduard Arboleda, entrepreneurs
Rich Coburn: BIPOC Voices
In 2021, Rich created a prototype of BIPOC VOICES, an online library with orchestrated vocal works by Black, Indigenous, and other Composers of Color, featuring samples of many previously un-recorded works. He is developing the library into a permanent resource for educational and artistic institutions. This project is in partnership with Amplified Opera, Black Opera Productions, the Association for Opera in Canada (formerly Opera.ca), and the Canadian Music Centre in British Columbia. Industry Advisor: Laura Lee Everett, Chief Programs Officer, OPERA America
Cristina Cutts Dougherty: The Resilience Project
The Resilience Project highlights fourteen trailblazing women in brass. Active between the 1940’s and today, these orchestral brass players are uniquely relevant to today’s aspiring musician – these are artists who have succeeded against all odds. Following a year of research, The Resilience Project is set to soon emerge as a book of biographies, pedagogies, and testimonies with supplemental educational resources online. Industry Advisor: Kimberly Ayers, Shariff, Executive Vice President, Director of Strategy for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Penguin Random House.
Adanya Dunn: InsideOut
Adanya’s collaborative project, part of her organization Red Light Arts & Culture consists of a series of indoor and outdoor, socially-distanced pop-up concerts (following a range of COVID protocols), in unconventional locations throughout Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The series culminates in a weekend of “walking concerts” in which audience groups rotate between different special location performances during their concert experience and come together at final location. These concerts also create the opportunity for the small business owners and local entrepreneurs of the district to share their stories. Industry Advisor: Odette Bosman, Founder of 24 Carrot Public Relations
Christina Giuca Krause: Composition of a City
Christina is the Artistic Director of LYNX, a nonprofit art song organization that amplifies diverse voices through new song commissions, inclusive performances, and innovative educational programming. LYNX’s initiative Composition of a City addresses the challenges facing youth on Chicago’s South Side by providing students with positive mentorship and a safe musical outlet to share their stories through a curriculum incorporating elements of both hip hop and classical music. Industry Advisor: Sarah Johnson, Chief Education Officer & Director, Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall
2020 Alumni Enterprise Award Results
2020 Winners Projects
Bernardo Bermudez ('11): Musical Make Believe
The digital program uses classical music, guest musicians, characters, puppetry, and animation to tell stories about music, musical instruments, and the performing arts with the potential to reach millions of kids. The first 10 episodes will be streamed via YouTube. Musical Make Believe will also promote The Enchanted Tail and other Opera4Kids productions. Industry Advisor: Lisa Mitchell, director of education & audience engagement, Disney Theatrical Group
Clara Lyon (u201803, '04), Doyle Armbrust ('01,'03): Enigma
Spektral Quartet will record and release an immersive, 360-degree format visual album of Enigma by composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir and video artist Sigurdur Gudjonsson. A dome video will be adapted for personal viewing devices such as a VR headset, to be released in November and featured on a New York City premiere. Industry Advisor: Luke Ritchie, head of innovation & partnerships, Philharmonia Orchestra London
Andy Zimmermann ('19): Opera Jukebox
An opera jukebox musical will be created to showcase opera’s greatest hits in a medium better suited to the 21st century audience, using English lyrics and new arrangements. Hosted by Zimmermann, 60 minutes of music with a nine-piece band will be presented at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, featuring leaders in Broadway, modern dance, and opera. Industry Advisor: Ty Johnson, producer
John Popham (u201805, u201806): States of Listening
Critically acclaimed trio Longleash will curate and produce five pilot episodes of States of Listening, a music podcast that offers a guided listening experience through mindfulness practices. An introductory conversation between a musician and a meditation, spirituality, or music therapy expert will guide the listener throughout. Industry Advisor: Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, music critic, New York Times
2019 Alumni Enterprise Award Results
2019 Winners Projects
John Popham ('05, 06): The Resonant Lens
This vibrant videography series brought musical works to life, presented in Brooklyn, NY and Louisville, KY. A modular project structure was used to reach audiences virtually, through interactive content online; person-to-person, in live performance paired with videography; and remotely, via screenings and gallery exhibits.
Steve Perdicaris ('86): Crescendo 2020
Mr. Perdicaris co-founded Music Mission San Francisco which provides free after-school music instruction that culminates in public performances at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The award will support funding additional teaching artists with the goal of establishing a chamber orchestra.
Brenda Patterson ('00): Ready.Set / Armida
The Director of Music of Victory Hall Opera [VHO] sought to invent a modern, modular stage set that was affordable, transportable, and reconfigurable. With the Ready.Set Competition, designers and architects were challenged with creating that set design. The winning set was used in VHO's production of Haydn's Armida, a Virginia Premiere.
Bernardo Bermudez ('11): The Enchanted Tail
The Enchanted Tail is an original children’s fairytale opera set to music from traditional opera repertoire. In May 2019, 5,000 elementary school students watched the orchestral debut of the opera in San Diego's Balboa Theater. All 42 San Diego School Districts attended with 64% of participants qualifying as Title 1, low-income schools.
2018 Alumni Enterprise Award Results
2018 Winners Projects
Ben Bliss ('12): MESS Core Ensemble
Under the leadership of stage director Paul Curran, the group spent five days preparing operatic scenes for a Manhattan performance on the final day of their Initial Ensemble Session, geared toward a millennial demographic.
Evan Shinners ('09): The Bach Store
A pop-up storefront in NYC where those walking by can see and hear musicians play Bach every day, for five hours a day, over 30 days. Learn more in the New York Times feature article by Michael Cooper: A Pop-Up Shop That Offers Bach Preludes, Fugues and Condoms