Center for the Performing Arts receives largest grant in its history

University Park, Pa. -- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State a $470,000 grant to support classical music presenting. The grant, the largest the center has received in its 26-year history, will fund a three-year classical music program beginning in the 2011–12 season.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this significant vote of confidence in our work and for the exciting project we will now be able to undertake thanks to their support,” said George Trudeau, director of the Center for the Performing Arts. “This grant will allow us to build upon our distinguished history of classical music programming with a project that will deepen the connection between our classical music programs and our university. It will also provide the community we serve with greater opportunities to enjoy and participate in classical music programs and educational presentations.”

Mellon Foundation funding will support a program consisting of four components:

-- Major residency program: The Center for the Performing Arts will develop and present a major residency program with an opera company during the 2012-13 season and a major American symphony orchestra in 2013-14;

-- Student engagement activities: The center will engage classical music artists to interact with students through organized and spontaneous presentations that explore various formats. Presentations will occur in traditional as well as non-traditional venues. Partnerships with student clubs and organizations and innovative marketing approaches will support engagement activities;

-- Curriculum partnerships: The center will develop an expanded curriculum program with university partners to integrate classical music artists and projects with Penn State arts and humanities curriculum. Through on-campus, special topic and online courses plus interdisciplinary seminars, classical music presentations will be connected with academics to provide students with a more comprehensive understanding of the history and culture surrounding the genre;

-- Penn State Altoona Project: The center will collaborate with Altoona faculty to bring visiting string ensembles to the Altoona campus each season for engagement activities and performances. The project will interact with and track Altoona students who engage with the project and then change assignment to University Park. The goal is to have students continue their engagement with classical music through Center for the Performing Arts programs at University Park.

Trudeau will lead the program. Marica Tacconi, professor of musicology, will provide faculty leadership for the curriculum and academic components.

“I am looking forward to working with administrators and faculty partners across various units to develop curricular and cultural programs that will directly engage our academic and non-academic communities,” Tacconi said. “Through major residencies, new courses and seminars, public lectures and other offerings, our audiences will gain a fuller understanding and true appreciation for the historical and cultural context behind the composers and works featured on selected programs.”

Penn State partners include the Schreyer Honors College Paterno Fellows Program; Institute for the Arts and Humanities; School of Music; College of Arts and Architecture e-Learning Institute; and Timothy Melbinger, lecturer of music at Penn State Altoona.

“This is a wonderful honor for the Center for the Performing Arts, recognizing its status as a premier university performing arts presenter and leader in collaborating with campus and community partners,” said Barbara O. Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture. “This prestigious grant will fund performances and activities that will expose new audiences to classical music, educating and enlightening people of all ages at Penn State and beyond.”

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Last Updated July 12, 2011