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New York State Music Fund Grant for Symphony 101

July 19, 2006

$70,000 will go toward adult music education series

Rochester, NY– The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $70,000 for its Symphony 101 Series from the New York State Music Fund. The “Music Fund” was created when New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer resolved investigations against major recording companies that had violated state and federal laws prohibiting “pay for play” (also called “payola”).

The settlement agreement stipulated that funds paid by music businesses would support music education and appreciation for the benefit of New York State residents. The Attorney General’s Office enlisted the services of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, one of the nation’s largest and most experienced philanthropy services, to develop and manage the grant program.

“This grant will allow the RPO to continue our important work of engaging and inspiring the community through music and music education,” said the Orchestra’s President and CEO, Richard Nowlin. “We are proud that our efforts have been recognized and rewarded by the New York State Music Fund.”

Launched in November 2001, the Rochester Philharmonic Symphony 101 Series is a beginner’s guide to the orchestra. It was designed as an adult education product structured to engage individuals who are interested in – but have been reluctant to attend – performances of classical music. Originally offered as a five-concert series at Hochstein Music School in downtown Rochester, the 2003-04 season saw the addition of Roberts Wesleyan College (west of Rochester), expanding Symphony 101 to a six-concert series at two locations.

With Music Director Christopher Seaman as host and the core musicians of the RPO performing, the series is presented in a casual and interactive “info-concert” format, encouraging audience members to engage and participate for an hour and a half. Musical excerpts and their corresponding full works are performed along with a history lesson, informative discussion and a post-concert question and answer session.

The New York State Music Fund accepted grant applications in a number of categories, including music education and public performances of music by artists working in hip hop, reggae, fusion, jazz, classical and folk music of all cultures. Applications related to recording, distribution, or broadcast through traditional ornew media were also eligible. Special emphasis was placed on reaching underserved populations and broadening awareness of artists, genres or styles with limited access to commercial broadcast or other mass distribution vehicles.

Awards to the 153 grantees represent every region of New York State and range from $15,000 to $750,000. Diverse forms of popular or experimental music, including hip-hop, indie rock, fusion and reggae account for about 37 percent of grants and more than 13 percent celebrate a spectrum of jazz; 30 percent include new classical music. The state’s ethnic or racial minority communities are served by 45 percent of the programs, while 47 percent target low-income communities. The Fund’s size and emphasis on music of our time set it apart from other arts grant programs.

Celebrating its 83rd season in 2005-06, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s mission is to perform and present a broad range of quality music; attract, entertain and educate audiences with superior musical performances; maintain and build the Orchestra’s national reputation; and enhance the reputation of the Rochester community as a place in which to live, work, play, visit and learn.

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