Amy Wurtz
New Foundation Will Support Performance and Commissioning of American Music

New Foundation Will Support Performance and Commissioning of American Music

Amy Wurtz

Amy Wurtz

Chicago Classical Review founder Lawrence A. Johnson has announced the creation of American Music Project, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting performances of American classical music and the commissioning of new work. The foundation’s first announced commission is Amy Wurtz’s Piano Quintet.

A post on Chicago Classical Review offered further background:

As a “facilitator and encourager of American music,” Johnson said the foundation will fund musical organizations, orchestras, opera companies, chamber ensembles and presenters who take on American repertory for events starting in the fall of 2015. They can submit proposals for American projects and, if they meet the foundation’s criteria, will receive financial support.

“If, for example, somebody wants to put on a festival of American string quartets, or a cycle of American symphonies, we would provide a check to underwrite some of it,” said Johnson.


He hopes to give music organizations room to challenge current conventional wisdom about what kinds of classical music audiences will pay to hear. He said the American Music Project wants to step in where presenters may feel constrained by their budgets and by the risks associated with selling too few tickets to a concert with less-familiar American repertory.

According to the project’s website, the “interim goal for the first year is to raise $500,000 from individuals and foundations with an ultimate aim of creating a standing endowment of $1 million.”

The foundation will officially launch with a concert of American music performed by the Chicago Q Ensemble in Chicago’s Ganz Hall on October 5. Wurtz will join the ensemble at the piano for the performance of her piece.

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5 thoughts on “New Foundation Will Support Performance and Commissioning of American Music

  1. Pingback: Scherzo TV | New Foundation Will Support Performance and Commissioning of American Music

  2. John Porter

    Hummmm….a $1 million dollar endowment will only provide $50,000 per year, less whatever expenses are incurred in management. They would be better raising the money to be used by New Music America in its commissioning program…

  3. Pingback: AMP launch garners wide press attention | American Music Project

  4. Lawrence A. Johnson

    While the launch of the American Music Project has been greeted with great enthusiasm most everywhere, there are inevitably a negative few who can’t look beyond their own parochial self interest.

    Mr. Porter seems to think that New Music USA (not New Music America) should have the field to itself in promoting new music of American composers. What is he afraid of? Let a thousand flowers bloom! Is contemporary American classical music doing so well that there should only be one or two organizations promoting this repertory?

    He also ignores the fact that, while there will be selective commissioning of new works, the American Music Project’s primary mission is facilitating performances of the best of existing American music since I feel that is where the true neglect of our homegrown repertory lies.

    Finally, Porter shows malignant cluelessness in making comments about management “expenses.” Just to be clear, there are none. Every penny raised will go into AMP funds to be distributed as grants to facilitate performances or commission new works. As executive director, of this nonprofit, I am taking zero salary or personal compensation, and have financed the initial website and startup costs out of my own pocket.

    Fortunately, American classical music is richer and bigger than small-minded jealousies. Join us—and New Music Box Chicago correspondent Ellen McSweeney of the Q Ensemble—2 p.m. October 5 at Ganz Hall in Chicago for an afternoon of Ives, Irving Fine, David Diamond and the world premiere of Amy Wurtz’s Piano Quintet. Write to or at the address below.

    Lawrence A. Johnson
    Executive Director
    American Music Project
    P.O. Box 81043
    Chicago, IL 60681


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