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Classical 101

5 Years-50 New Pieces-$1.5 Million = FREE!

Jay Blakesberg
Kronos Quartet

In a world where there seem to be daily stories about disappearing funding for the Arts, Kronos Quartet has a solution...give it away.

In a project called Fifty for the Future, Kronos Quartet is raising $1.5 million to commission 50 new pieces of music. It is elegant in its simplicity. Here's how it was described by Tom Vitalefor the blog Deceptive Cadence from NPR.

In Fifty for the Future, Kronos Quartet "will premiere each piece, and then hold workshops with the composer and young musicians. Then the score will be posted on the Kronos website, free for anyone to download, along with performance and instructional videos."

Irish composer and violist Garth Knox wrote Satellites as part of the project. He said while he WAS paid to write the work, he then gave up the rights to the piece to make it available to anyone who wants it.


Below, Knox plays one of his compositions, Viola Spaces, an series of eight viola pieces each of which explores one special bowing technique. He plays No. 8, which is called Up, down, sideways, round, because the bow is moved into areas not normally used.


Another example of creative ways to offer music education to new generations is the Play Us Forward program from ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, which "provides quality musical instruction and instruments to middle schools students from under-served communities at no cost. The program inspires positive opportunities for artistic expression and overall academic enhancement for each student involved." Free performances at branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Side-by-Side practice and performance opportunities for high school string students, and musicians in the schools. 

The Columbus Symphony also offers educational opportunities for Central Ohio youngsters, with Young People's Concerts, Backstage with the Symphony opportunities, and the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra among the educational features.

Here's hoping this is the inspiration for other, similar projects. You can find out more about the project and help support it here.