The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has announced grants totaling $1.5 million to ten Bay Area organizations for commissions of new compositions by world-class artists in genres such as chamber music, electronic music, jazz, opera, and hip hop.
The inaugural grants in the foundation's $8 million Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions initiative will support the creation of compositions on themes that speak directly to Bay Area communities, including the impact of technology on culture, humanity's relationship to the natural world, and the experiences of immigrants and women in society. The nonprofits commissioning the new works include both well-established large-budget organizations and smaller organizations deeply rooted in their communities, while the commissioned artists hail from diverse backgrounds and locales, including New Orleans, Florida, Puerto Rico, New York, China, Peru, and the Bay Area.
Projects slated to receive funding include "At War with Ourselves," an evening-length work that explores race relations in America by Grammy Award winners Kronos Quartet and Terence Blanchard; "Indra's Net," an immersive multidisciplinary piece by MacArthur fellow Meredith Monk that was commissioned by Mills College; "Angel Island Oratorio," a work for strings and chorus inspired by immigrant poetry from composer Huang Ruo and commissioned by Del Sol String Quartet; and a piece commissioned by Music at Kohl Mansion and composed by Guggenheim Foundation fellow Jake Heggie for Violins of Hope, a set of instruments played by musicians in concentration camps and ghettos during World War II and restored over the last twenty years by Israeli craftsmen.
"The Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions are a symbol of the foundation's longstanding commitment to performing arts in the Bay Area," said Hewlett Foundation president Larry Kramer. "We believe the awards will fund the creation of new musical works of lasting significance that are as dynamic and diverse as the Bay Area communities where they will premiere."