Skip to main content
What's your big idea?
Learn about EM Grant Projects

Grant Projects

EM Grants provide up to $1500 for students to enact their unique ideas and collaborations. Our grants fund innovative and impactful projects and help students develop skills critical to their success: communicating a vision, creating a production plan, developing a marketing strategy, and balancing budgets. The competitive application process is modeled on real-world grants, and students are coached through every step, from first draft to final pitch, by the EM Team. 

For more information and to start the application process, set an appointment with Andrew Worden.

Fall 2018 Grant Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2018 EM Grants! 

Magdalena Abrego

Magdalena Abrego


input/output is a website featuring female and non-binary individuals creating avant-garde and experimental music in the United States.

Julia Cohen

Julia Cohen

Hear Us!

Composers. Hear Us! We Are Women. We Have Voices Too. Here Us! is a concert and lecture series featuring women composers

Christopher Vu EM grant

Christopher Vu

The Magic Pearl – Collaboration Between Composer and Shadow Puppetry

“The Magic Pearl” is an original shadow puppet production premiering in NYC at Lincoln Center in mid-December.

Merz Trio EM Grant

Merz Trio

Those Secret Eyes

The Merz Trio brings together chamber performance, spoken text, and dance, in an immersive concert based on Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Nick Rosario grow your art uncertain suite

Nicholas Rosario

The Uncertain Suite

A film of original music about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety, interspersed with an interview with an NEC Counselor.

Tracy Tang EM Grant

Tracy Tang

Vision Fugitive: a series

Visualizing the movement of sound by incorporating dance into a piano narrative.

Emma Gies EM Grant

Emma Gies

Under Our Skins: Deprogramming Stereotypes through Oral History and Improvisation

Under Our Skins is a workshop and performance dispelling race/gender/sexuality stereotypes through oral history and musical improvisation.

Spring 2018 Grant Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring 2018 EM Grants! 

Alyssa Wang

MAX Adjustable Shoulder Rest

A new shoulder rest for violin/viola that’s more adjustable and more comfortable than any shoulder rest currently on the market.

Andres Abenante & Priya Carlberg


Guiding young musicians through all the steps of creating an album, and ultimately releasing it on our label.

Jack Mobley

Common Ground

A Boston-based concert series devoted to celebrating underrepresented identities through collaborations with A R E A gallery and local community centers. 

Dylan Kennedy

Keuka Lake Music Festival – Interdisciplinary Project

Introducing our audience to 20th century music through collaboration with the Rochester City Ballet.

Fall 2017 Grant Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2017 EM Grants! 

Matthew Shifrin


Virtual Reality for the blind. Surround-sound super-hero radio-drama with haptic feedback.

Amanda Ekery

Crayon Box 

An interactive workshop series introducing third graders to improvisation and composition via technology and visual art.

Yuh-Boh Feng

Custom Case

A customizable reed case for single reed woodwinds.

Devan Freebairn

Devan Maria Viola Hymnal

A book of viola/piano hymn arrangements.

Carmen Johnson-Pajaro

REMIX: Changing lives through music

A residency at a detention center where musicians empower and instill hope in incarcerated male youths.

Julia Cohen

American Women Composers

Composers: We Are Women, We Are American, We Have Voices Too.

Melissa Weikart

Pet Sounds Reimagined

We sing. We play. We deconstruct the Beach Boys. Pet Sounds: No Boys Allowed.

Allison McIntosh & Andy Wilds

Art Made Audible

A concert series featuring new music inspired by works of visual art.

Eunghee Cho

Holes in the Floor, Four for Four

Combining the creativity of 4 emerging young composers with the artistry of 4 emerging young cellists to redefine a genre.

Dylan Kennedy

Keuka Lake Music Festival - Audience Expansion Initiative

An interactive and accessible introduction to classical music for this with little prior exposure

Spring 2017 Grant Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring 2017 EM Grants! Click below to learn more about them and their projects.

Dylan Kennedy

Keuka Lake Music Festival: A summer music festival for emerging professional artists that provides high quality classical music to the community and promotes the next generation of great artists. Violinist Dylan Kennedy has been praised for his “exceptionally well crafted dynamics and phrasing” and for “not shying away from the challenges” (Sarasota Harold Tribune).  Kennedy studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music under Ivan Zenaty, and is a first-year Master’s student under Ayano Ninomiya at New England Conservatory.

kairos duo

Dorset Chamber Music Residency: A community-driven classical chamber music festival presenting 6 performances in Dorset, VT this June.kairos is a Boston-based flute/harp duo dedicated to musical innovation, community engagement, and composer collaborations co-founded by Fanya Wyrick-Flax and Alix Raspe.  Alix is in the Master of Music in Harp Performance program at New England Conservatory, and has attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific.

Sam Jones

A Two “Man” Show A musical detailing the rise and fall of a same-sex relationship, unfolding chronologically both forwards and backwards. Vocalist Sam Jones is a Master of Music student in the Contemporary Improvisation department. He focuses on writing and performing his original music as well as reimagining his favorite classics.

Mona Sangesland

Shanti Bhavan: Empowering Lives through Music:Teaching music to impoverished children in rural India. Mona is finishing her second year of the Master of Music program at NEC, where she studies flute with Paula Robison. Mona was the prizewinner of the 2015 Coeur d'Alene Young Artist Competition and has served on the Seattle Flute Society's Board of Directors. In addition to her musical pursuits, Mona is an avid lover of tea, yoga, and all things nature related.

Anastasiya Dumma

Music Therapy for Children: Two weeks of music therapy sessions for Russian children who face developmental problems while coping with difficult situations at home. Anastasiya, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, is a first year Master's student studying guitar in the Contemporary Improvisation Department.

Fall 2016 Grant Winners

Rayna Yun Chou

Music, Distance, and One Minute of Just Us is a project that brings music, visual arts, and architecture together to create a social experimental exhibition  which saw over 4,000 visitors over Christmas 2016 in Taichung, Taiwan.

Amanda Ekery

The Lomax Folk Project is a five-piece educational ensemble pairing original arrangements and historical stories of songs in the Lomax Collection. The Lomax Folk Project will be touring the New England area in June 2017.

Julian Loida & Sofia Kriger

Mojubá: Bringing Cuba to the Community is a modern world-jazz quintet that disseminates the folkloric music of Cuba and Brazil to the underserved in Boston.

Morgan Middleton

Remember When is an original one-woman play, written and performed by Ms. Middleton and supported by a trio of NEC jazz students, to address the power of music in fighting Alzheimer's disease.

Lauren Parks

Musical Storybooks, written and illustrated by Lauren Parks, offer English/Language Arts teachers in public schools a fun, interactive teaching resource that simultaneously introduces young students to musical notation, musical performance, and visual art.

Andrew Steinberg

The Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra (MSO) reinvigorates the saxophone orchestra tradition by bringing together high caliber musicians from Boston and surrounding metropolis areas through performances, lectures, and demonstrations.

Spring 2016

Eli Cohen | Die Jim Crow

Die Jim Crow is a concept album, written and performed by formerly and currently incarcerated black songwriters and singers from across the country. The name derives from Michelle Alexander’s landmark book, The New Jim Crow. The album and broader project, founded by Fury Young in 2013, aims to combat the damaging effects of mass incarceration by spreading awareness, encouraging action, and supporting incarcerated people. Eli Cohen is a partner in this project, providing musical advice, arrangements, and promotional support for the album and initiative.

Eddie Kass | Departure Duo

Departure is a duo made up of soprano Nina Guo and double bassist Edward Kass. As a duo, they primarily perform music by living composers, including works written specifically for the ensemble. Departure is committed to bringing contemporary music to wider audiences, from seasoned concertgoers to young musicians of all levels. This spring, Departure Duo is organizing a series of concerts and educational events in their home towns of San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Through in-school performances and coachings, Nina and Eddie will show young musicians how “traditional” training can serve as the foundation for experimental expression.

Katharine Martucci | Ladles Community Tour

The Ladles is a contemporary folk ensemble comprised of Katharine Martucci (vocals, guitar, fiddle), Caroline Kuhn (tenor banjo, vocals) and Lucia Purpura-Pontoniere (fiddle, vocals). The Ladles is organizing a summer tour, bringing their music and educational programs to small venues and mindful musical communities across the country.  Highlights include intimate performances at the Birdhouse Center for The Arts (NJ) and Pete’s Candy Store (Brooklyn, NY), a residency at Camp Celo (NC), and a square dance set for the Schroon Lake Town Dance (NY). Members of the ensemble will be documenting their experiences through an online blog, providing resources and reflections for other independent female musicians to utilize in building their audiences.

Alix Raspe & Fanny Wyrick-Flax | kairos Commission

kairos was founded in November 2015 by Fanny Wyrick-Flax (flute) and Alix Raspe (harp) with the vision of becoming the first and leading flute and harp chamber ensemble in New England, dedicated to both musical innovation and composer collaborations. kairos will commission two new works for their instrumentation, which will serve as a foundation for their early programming and offer new musical possibilities for other flute and harp duos.

Kyle Saulnier | election year: a Work in progress

election year: a Work in progress is a symphony unfolding over the course of what promises to be the most volatile election year in recent memory.  A three-part performance series spanning the entirety of 2016, new movements will be composed in response to real-time events during the election season.  The first performance took place on March 20, 2016—in the midst of the primary season—and entered on the chaos of the early presidential race. The second performance is scheduled for July 14, 2016, mere days before both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The final performance is scheduled for November 11, 2016, only three days after the 2016 election.

Umar Zakaria | The Mobilized Musician

In February of 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand was badly damaged by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that killed 185 people. The physical and emotional recovery process has been slow, and housing and mental health issues are on the rise, especially in rural populations. Umar Zakaria is composing a cycle of five pieces that will incorporate personal stories of loss from members of Christchurch community. This work will serve as the foundation for a series of community concerts and educational programs in Christchurch, with the goal of providing a safe space for those touched by the natural disaster to mourn and heal.


Fall 2015

Helen Huang | Voices of the East

Voices of the East is a musical collective that helps young Asian American musicians find their voice within the contemporary classical music field through performance and social action. Co-founded by Helen Huang and Samuel Chan, Voices of the East will launch with a one-day festival that includes concerts, talkbacks and discussion sessions related to social and racial issues that impact Asian American artists.

Katherine Miller | Boston Women's Music Project 

The Boston Women's Music Project is a new performance series dedicated to promoting the music of female composers and musicians. The pilot concert will feature small chamber works written by prominent female composers, past and present, including a commissioned work for the project. To further promote the work of female composers, the alliance will launch a website to archive its research and performances. The website will include links to composers’ bios, recordings of the works performed at the concert, and links to sheet music. This will begin an archive that will serve as a catalog of the music of women, both past and present.

Nathan Stoerzinger | Zinger Productions

Zinger Productions provides quality video and audio recordings of recitals and for auditions to orchestras, operas, summer festivals, and graduate schools.  Responding to the growing need for video recordings, an industry standard for promotional and audition materials, Nathan Zinger launched Zinger Productions this fall to serve the NEC community and other Boston Area musicians.

Sonnet Swire | The Summers Case Opera and Residency

The Summers Case is a chamber opera in one act composed by Sonnet Swire, with a corresponding after-school residency that focuses on using opera to teach literary, critical thinking, self-awareness and problem solving skills to elementary aged children. The opera’s plot highlights issues related to the American foster care system—its crumbling infrastructure and racial and gender inequality. The residency will take place in the spring semester, followed by a full performance of the chamber opera at NEC in May.

Tong Wang & Wesley Chu | Zenkora: A Brief History

Zenkora is an ongoing expansive multi-media project that seeks to illustrate the history and features of a fictional universe. Narrative elements, an extensive original soundtrack currently over three hours long, and a wide range of illustrations and concept art come together to present a cohesive vision of this universe and its countless facets. The concert, “Zenkora: A Brief History”, will explore the timeline of this fantasy universe through a series of short multi-media segments, each of which serve as samples of the universe’s many facets and stories.


Spring 2015

Isabella Dawis | Capital I

Capital I is an original one-act play on the concept of Internet sentience, created by Isabella Dawis in collaboration with artists from Youth Underground, Central Square Theater’s resident young adult ensemble. The piece will be produced as part of the theater’s Youth Underground Lab, a showcase for new works by emerging artists. Through music, poetry, and movement, Capital I will explore what the Internet might say to us, if it could think and feel. Capital I will be livestreamed by Howlround: A Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College.

MuChen Hsieh, Jennifer Hsieh, TingRu Lai, Seth Russell | Oceanus Quartet

The Oceanus Quartet is comprised of Taiwanese violinists MuChen Hsieh and Jennifer Hsieh, violist TingRu Lai, and American cellist Seth Russell. The quartet is organizing a 10-day educational tour in Taiwan, to bring string quartet music to school, community and performance settings where it is currently lacking. The classical music education system in Taiwan focuses heavily on solo and orchestral music, with few opportunities for students to study in small ensembles or hear high-level chamber music performances. Through workshops, lecture-demonstrations, masterclasses, and performances, the Oceanus Quartet will expose young musicians to the richness of chamber music and introduce them to a new set of musical skills, including communication, collaboration, group problem-solving and interpretation.

Lautaro Mantilla | Scivias

Scivias is a one-day sound installation created by Lautaro Mantilla that explores concepts of community, free will, and social interaction, inspired by the work of Hildegard von Bingen, 12th c. writer, composer and mystic. Hildegard grew up enclosed in a monastery where she learned to read, write, meditate, pray, and compose. The installation will include a structure that is a creative interpretation of Hildegard’s room at the monastery, and five human-like objects that reflect her prismatic existence. Participants will be invited to create their own composition by interacting with the human objects, which respond to touch with light and sound. The installation will run throughout the day on Tuesday, April 28th in JH118.

Seoyon MacDonald & Stephanie Scogna | Boston Art Song Society

The Boston Art Song Society is a musician-run presenting organization, focused on promoting art song and emerging artists committed to the genre. Founded by pianist Susanna McDonald and vocalist Stephanie Scogna, the 2015 pilot season will include two concerts focused on American and French art song. Through intimate, high-level performances, BASS aims to promote the study and performance of art song in the city of Boston, to spread the love of poetry in song, to give performance opportunities to young artists passionate about the genre, and to expose the public to a variety of languages and styles within song.

Deepti Navaratna | Dialogues with the Divine

Dialogues with the Divine is a five-part concert series that pairs Hindu sacred music with devotional music from other major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism. Launched and curated by Deepti Navaratna, the series began in March 2015, with Sacred Songs of Hindus and Jews, a concert produced by the Boston Jewish Music Festival in collaboration with Congregation Ohabei Shalom in Brookline. NEC’s EM grant will support the next concert in the series, Call of the Sufis, which will feature Sufi poems from Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Kashmir and India, connecting the transcendental lyrics of Jalaluddin Rumi to the Hindu mystic Meerabai. The concert will be organized and promoted in partnership with the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and feature Deepti in performance with Dr. Robert Labaree’s DÜNYA Ensemble.

Linda Numagami | Silence Speaks

In an effort to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence against women, Linda Numagami has commissioned works by three different composers--Mattia Mauree, Sonnet Swire and Shane Simpson--that tell stories too many have suffered and emerged from. Silence Speaks weaves together these pieces with survivor’s personal stories, poetry and media pieces, in order to address misconceptions that exist around domestic and sexual violence in America and provide a safe space for dialogue around these issues.


Fall 2014

Austin Burns | Building Bridges: A Concert for Change

“Building Bridges: A Concert for Change” is a concert to bring together Boston’s homeless, their advocates, and the general public to raise awareness and support for our homeless neighbors affected by the closing of the Long Island Bridge. The concert will take place on December 13th at 7pm at the Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street.

Lina Gonzalez | Unitas Ensemble

Unitas Ensemble is a new orchestra dedicated to performing works written by Latin American composers, as well as works inspired by composers who had significant experiences in Latin American countries. The orchestra performed their debut concert in May 2015.

Lihi Haruvi | Project YAFE

Project YAFE: Youth Advancement, Forward Education, is an educational program designed to give a youth ensemble the tools needed to perform and share musical ideas. The first implementation of Project YAFE will consist of private studio instruction, group rehearsals, and performances at the Danilo Perez Jazz Foundation in Panama.

Krish Jaiman | Teach Your Muse! The Music Basti Experience

 "Teach Your Muse! the Music Basti Experience" is an 8-month residency project in New Delhi from August to March with Music Basti, a Non-Government Organization (NGO) in India. This project is to provide a group of children from low socioeconomic settings an education in music fundamentals, performance, and composition.


Spring 2014

Mike Avitabile | Boston Young Composers Ensemble

The Boston Young Composers Ensemble (BYCE) is a dynamic group of young artists specializing in new works written by emerging Bostonian composers. Their first performance will be in May 2014 and feature an array of electroacoustic works, both new and established. This ensemble will allow emerging composers at NEC and beyond a unique platform to have their music performed and publicized outside the conservatory.

Stephanie Boyd | Tuesday Night New Music, Reimagined

Tuesday Night New Music is student run concert series highlighting the works of current NEC composers. With TNNM: Reimagined, 2014-2015 co-director Stephanie Boyd aims to achieve a professional output for this series by creating a website and activating the series’ social media presence. Additionally, she will collaborate with students from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to create a visual partner to three of the concerts, creating anchors for programming.

Nir Naaman | Improve Your Groove

Improve Your Groove is a workshop that focuses on time-feel (rhythmic interpretation) in Jazz and what makes one “swing.” Using a practical approach that combine lecture, discussion and performance, the workshop lays the foundation to improve the rhythmic abilities of the music student. Nir will be gathering new information on marketing and web presence for this method, and will test his ideas in a workshop at the University of Denver.

Lisa Fujita | Sweet Music

Sweet Music is a delicious encore – a way of celebrating a musician’s accomplishments. Lisa is starting a small catering service for NEC recitals. She’s found a way to fuse both her passions – music and baking – while supporting her peers.

Ariel Mitnick, Alan Toda-Ambaras, Rainer Crosett | Project LENS

Project LENS: Live Exchange of Notes and Sounds is an integrated collaborative that aims to reveal synergies between music and ideas in the world beyond. Each event will illuminate a central topic by weaving together two threads: a TalkThread, an exciting presentation of an idea, theory, or story; and a MusicThread spun of works from the classical repertoire. Project LENS launched in Fall 2014. For more information, check out their website: 

Carl Pillot | The Billy Hart Drumming Method

The “Billy Hard Drumming Method” will synthesize Billy Harts’ drum philosophy and teaching materials into an in-depth print and digital media publication that pushes the boundaries of music education in digital form.  Carl will be conducting the research portion of the project in the upcoming 12 months, and aims to have the content ready for publication soon thereafter.

Zach Crowle | Divergent Drama

In December 2014, Zach will be directing a double bill of Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound. The casting will be open to all NEC students and provide the opportunity for NEC musicians to gain a new experience on stage. The set will be built using furniture and props collected on the Boston-specific holiday “Allston Christmas” – September 1st, moving day. See more images on Divergent Drama's Instagram!


Fall 2013

Evan Allen and Connor Baker | The Full Salon

Evan and Connor will launch “The Full Salon,” an independent record company aimed at creating an outlet for emerging musicians to record new works outside the walls of academic institutions. They will create a centralized online presence for underperformed, underfunded work, focusing on new and improvised music. Their first album will feature solo piano works, to be performed on a newly refurbished grand piano.

Jennifer Fijal | The Stage on Harmony Farm

In January 2014, Jennifer will take over her family-owned farm in Palmer, Massachusetts. In addition to her daily duties keeping the farm, Jennifer will begin the multi-year process of creating The Stage on Harmony Farm. The venue, to house 65 guests, will act as a sustainable, cultural hub for the Palmer region. Jennifer will use the grant funds to jumpstart her fundraising campaign.

Dan Gabel | First Friday Swing

Featuring Dan Gabel and the Abletones, First Friday Swing is a regular swing dance event in the Greater Boston area. Already a hit in neighboring communities, Dan will bring his 18-piece band to the city to launch his monthly event in style. Featuring a dance instructor, new and classic big band arrangements, and a band dressed to the nines, enjoying a night on the town will be as easy as tapping your toe.


Spring 2013

Mathilde Geismar | Académie Anglicorde

Académie Anglicorde is a two week music program based n Boulogne-Billancourt, France. Targeting students ages 11 to 17, the information will be presented in English by American musicians to provide a fresh perspective on pedagogy while challenging the participant’s language skills.  The academy will focus on violin, viola, cello, guitar/voice, and chamber music. Learn more about Académie Anglicorde on their official website!

Maureen Heflinger, Gwen Buttemer, Chris Gamboa | Project Heckelmith

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of German composer Paul Hindemith's death, the Nix Ensemble will present a program of all Hindemith works, featuring the rarely performed Trio, op. 47, for Heckelphone, viola and piano. Audience members will have the opportunity to participate in the reading of a virtually unknown comic play by the composer, and the Nix Ensemble will present works from Hindemith's vast output that reveal the humorous side of his music. The concert is free and open to the public. Come experience the ingenious music and outrageous humor of composer Paul Hindemith, and enjoy German pastries and refreshments! Read more about the event in the Boston Globe

Mattia Maurée | Printing Service

Mattia will be filling the gap in the online music printing options with fast, high quality printing in small quantities -- easy, online, and competition-ready. The website will also be a one-stop resource for young composers with a blog and FAQ covering printing, publishing, copyright, and more. The grant will help cover programming and graphic design for the initial site release.

Luis Ruelas | Taller Comp

Derived from the Spanish word for workshop and an abbreviation for composition, Taller Comp is a six-week composition workshop for beginner composition students in Leon, Mexico. This workshop will provide a special opportunity for local students to learn contemporary classical writing techniques, as the region currently does not provide this kind of training.

Colin Thurmond | GTX: Extreme Guitar Technique

GTX: Extreme guitar technique is an online guitar technique method series that focuses on the connection between physical health and musical growth. The series will be housed online and include streaming videos and downloadable materials to match changing trends in the consumption of music pedagogy.

Emileigh Vandiver | Project Panama 2013

In Summer 2013, Emileigh traveled to Panama City to deliver a series of repair workshops to local cello students and teachers.  She worked with a luthier to develop repair techniques that utilize sustainable, local materials from Panama. In addition to her visit, Emileigh will produce a series of videos in Spanish to create an accessible tool for her peers in Panama and beyond. Learn more about Emileigh and her project on her website.


Fall 2012

Katherine Balch | The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year

Katie will bring her freshly composed chamber opera to life in collaboration with fellow students Laura-Soto Bayomi, Joshua Quinn, Patrick Dean Shelton, and Matt Szymanski. The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year is based on the comedy by American playwright John Guare. Katie will pair the unique production with a pre-concert event that will discuss the compositional process, particularly when working with a living writer.

Brad Barrett | Research & Development for Ear Training App

After realizing a major gap in mobile ear-training software, Brad has created a template for a program that will act as a tool for musicians and improvisers of all levels. Over the next few months, he will meet with a variety of music software professionals that will guide him in the practical creation of his product.

Henrique Eisenmann | NEC Meets the World: Ethnic Jam Sessions

Ethnic Jam Sessions is a series of hands-on workshops that aims to expose NEC students to traditional music from Brazil, the Balkans, West Africa, India, and the Middle East through active listening, interactive lectures and guided group improvisation. The workshops will be led by current NEC international students and overseen by Henrique to create an immersive experience for all attendees, regardless of instrument, prior knowledge, or ability.

Jussi Reijonen | un tour in Finland

Jussi will take his ensemble to Finland in February 2012 for an expansive tour of educational clinics. These workshops will provide Finnish music students alternate and additional conceptual approaches from various world folk music traditions in improvisation, performance, and composition. This experience will augment the more traditional methods of jazz education in Finland, and thereby broaden the student’s perception of modern contemporary improvised music. Visit Jussi's website here.

Akenya Seymour | NEC: Underground

Striving to promote the hidden talents of NEC and to enhance the inner-NEC community, Akenya will curated concert that encourages students to show off their additional passions and abilities in the spring. The show also had an outreach element, as she hopes to raise awareness and assistance for fellow students with unexpected financial difficulties. 


Spring 2012

Robyn Bollinger | Project Paganini

Project Paganini is a performance project that challenges the typical classical music setting. Robyn Bollinger performed all of Paganini's infamous 24 Caprices for solo violin in one evening in a multi-media setting, weaving together music, history, artistic expression, and universal human truths. Project Paganini is not just a recital; it is a production, a play, an educational adventure, and a personal journey for all. For more information, visit Robyn Bollinger's website.

Tyler Gilmore | A Rambling Stretch

A Rambling Stretch is a multimedia project that explores the landscape and population of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Tyler Gilmore has teamed with photographer Gary Isaacs to produce a series of photographs that will inform and inspire a cycle of musical works for jazz large ensemble. Performance of the work will take place in Denver, Boston, and beyond, with the goal of providing an artistic lens through which to view this often misunderstood region.

Etienne Gara | VivaClassica Festival

VivaClassica is a new chamber music festival nestled in the Seine-et-Marne region outside of Paris, France. Etienne Gara hosted a pilot concert in Boston this May, to build awarness for the 2013 pilot in France, involving artists Lucy Chapman, Dimitri Murrath, Alice Yoo and Jayoung Kim. VivaClassica aims to bring high-level chamber music performances to the region and become a platform for U.S. and European musicians to form lasting relationships and artistic collaborations. For more information, visit

Leah Hennessey | In Response

In Response pairs local emerging artists and musicians together for a series of events that celebrates the artistic process; to share their work and sources of inspiration and to in turn, to become sources of inspiration for one another.  This unique collaboration captures the creative process, and illuminates the path that ideas take as they come into fruition. By sharing existing works, notebook sketches and demo recordings, these artists and musicians will gain insights on another’s method of working, and engage in a new process together. In Response culminates in a series of Sunday afternoon exhibitions and performances starting April 21 and running through May 12, showcasing new works guided by the lyrics, colors, sounds, textures, and shapes of their partner’s endeavors.

Neal Markowski | New Music and the WWII Relocation Camps

Neal Markowski will compose a piece that evokes the landscape of the War Relocation Camps in the American West and the experience of Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII. In an effort to bring awareness to this dark period in American History, Markowski will organize a series of live performances framed by short readings and analysis by area historians. Listen to the music on his bandcamp page! 

Lauren Nelson | Residency in Jacmel, Haiti

Lauren Nelson traveled to Jacmel, Haiti, this summer to teach in the Jean Baptiste Dessaix Music School, a community program that provides music education to students from low-income families in Jacmel and the surrounding areas. Nelson has worked as a music educator with Youth and Family Enrichment Services for the last two years, building strong connections within the Haitian community of Hyde Park. Through this trip, Nelson hopes to deepen her understanding of Haitian culture and bring this awareness to her work with YOFES. Check out these photos from Lauren's adventure!

Rachel Panitch | Rhode Island Fiddle Project Summer Camp

Rhode Island Fiddle Project is a free, afterschool music program that provides violins, weekly lessons in fiddling traditions, group classes, and monthly musical performances to students in the low-income neighborhoods of Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island. With support from the Entrepreneurial Grant, Director Rachel Panitch will build a two-day intensive camp for the 13 students who are involved in the school-year program.

Devin Roth | Challenge Music

One of the greatest challenges that music teachers face is motivating their students to practice regularly and deliberately. As a performer and teacher, Devin Roth plans to address this issue by developing Challenge Music, a digital app that tracks and provides incentives for musical practice. The Entrepreneurial Grant will help support a period of research and development to clarify the design and functionality of the application.

Michael Sachs | Foreground Music Collective

Foreground Music Collective is an in-home salon concert series that aims to create new avenues for young artists to perform and build audiences for their work. Michael Sachs will pilot this concept with a two-concert series over the summer in a first effort to build a network of hosts and diverse roster of ensembles to sustain an ongoing series in the future.


Fall 2011

Colin Thurmond | toUch Performance Art

toUch performance art is a collective of visual and performing artists dedicated to presenting interdisciplinary and genre-bending new work. As a newly formed artist company, toUch was in residence at the American Repertory Theatre’s Club Oberon in Cambridge for three weeks in January of 2012. Artistic Director Colin Thurmond and composer Athena Adamopoulos were joined by an exciting roster of collaborating musicians and dancers.

Jason Belcher | The Music of Burr Van Nostrand

Jason Belcher is curating a concert this spring to raise awareness about the music of Burr Van Nostrand and re-introduce it into the repertoire of contemporary music ensembles. This concert will be an integral piece in a larger project, led by New World Records, to release an album of Van Nostrand’s music, including archival recordings, and interviews with his teachers and contemporaries at NEC. For regular updates, visit the Burr Van Nostrand Voyage in a White Building page on Facebook.

Jennifer Kessler, Aisha Bowden, & Charles Burchell | Inside Out Group Action Project

Bowden, Burchell and Kessler are leading an Inside Out Group Action Project—the 2011 TED Prize wish of the artist JR—with the current class of Sistema Fellows and musicians from the NEC community, exploring the theme "Music Can Change the World." The purpose of the Inside Out Project is to place large photographs in public spaces to “discover, reveal, and share the untold stories and images of people around the world,” in this case, musicians who actively make a difference in their communities.

Deborah Pae & Joseph Kromholz | Music for Food

Going into its second season, Music for Food is a chamber music series that benefits the Greater Boston Food Bank. This year, MFF is expanding to include a lunchtime series at the Women’s Lunch Place, a shelter on Newbury Street, and a Reverse Tickets program, a partnership with local presenters to raise small donations from concertgoers.

Katy Lafleur | Gradient Us Ensemble

Gradient Us is a newly formed contemporary ensemble, with a focus on minimalist music and its neighboring genres.

Laura Soto-Bayomi | Into the Woods

Laura Soto-Bayomi led a fully student-produced performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at NEC December of 2011. The production involved a large group of student performers, directors, stage managers, and costume designers from area colleges, including NEC, Emerson, and Emmanuel. The concert took place on Sunday, December 11 at 2PM.

Vanessa Wheeler | Nonce Ensemble

Nonce is a Boston-based chamber ensemble, comprising current NEC students and recent alumni, that presents recently composed and avant-garde music. By presenting audiences with a repertoire otherwise ignored, Nonce aims to foster an understanding of present musical thought and shape its future.


Summer 2011

Beth McDonald | August Noise JP

August Noise JP is a surprise outdoor concert series in Jamaica Plain, curated by Beth McDonald. Each of approximately seven concerts will feature an ensemble from NEC in public spaces around JP, such as The Arboretum, Jamaica Pond, Stony Brook Field, and the Farmers Market, etc.  The underground series will be organized without any formal marketing—information about the time and location of concerts will be leaked through Twitter and SMS alerts. The impromptu musical happenings will draw in people passing by and hopefully build a following of JP residents who might not otherwise interact with diverse genres of music.

Nell Shaw Cohen | Beyond the Notes

Nell Shaw Cohen’s Beyond the Notes is a multimedia concert companion website and mobile application. The media-rich “interactive program notes” include videos, audio, and interactive features that can be accessed by audience members on a website or in the concert hall via their mobile phone. Cohen is prototyping the concept this summer at a performance of her string quartet "The Course of Empire" at the Peabody Essex Museum, in conjunction with their exhibit Painting the American Vision. Visit Nell's website here.

Eden MacAdam-Somer | Notorious Folk in Israel

Eden MacAdam-Somer traveled to Israel to perform, teach, and collaborate with other musicians.  The anchor of this trip was the Jacob Ladder Festival, an annual folk music festival that takes place at Kibbutz Ginosar on Lake Kinneret. In addition to performing in the festival, MacAdam-Somer’s band Notorious Folk also offered a variety of educational workshops and children’s concerts at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Tzorah Folk Club in Beit Shemesh, and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Helen Sherrah-Davies | Residency in Ramallah

Helen Sherrah-Davies traveled to Ramallah, Palestine to teach at the summer camp and festival of Al-Kamandjati (in Arabic, “the violinist”), an independent music school founded by Ramzi Aburedwan in 2002.  Al-Kamandjati provides music education for Palestinian children, especially those living in refugee camps and villages with restricted mobility.  The opportunity for children to study music, and form a close relationship with a teacher, provides a focus away from the challenges of their daily life and a vehicle for emotional release.  Helen worked one-on-one with students enrolled in the camp and will participate in a number of concerts featured in the summer festival.

Leah Hennessy | Sight & Sound Festival

The Cambridge Sight and Sound Festival, produced by Leah Hennessy, will bring together emerging and established performing artists who are pushing the boundaries of genre to include elements of jazz, pop, folk, rock, and improvisation in their work. The day-long event will take place at OBERON in Harvard Square, where local visual artists will join to exhibit and sell their work. The aim of the festival is to introduce audiences to local artists and build ties between artists from different disciplines.


Spring 2011

Michael Dahlberg | Parlor Night

Parlor Night is a bi-monthly chamber music series at the LilyPad in Cambridge.  A collaboration between Michael Dahlberg, his LilyPad String Quartet and venue owner Gill Aharon, Parlor Night aims to transform the perception and conventional presentation of live classical music performance in Greater Boston.  The mission is three fold: to find new performance formats that attract audiences, to make classical music a social convener, and to cultivate deeper relationships between professional musicians and the communities that they are part of. Check out Micheal's recent work on this website:

John Elliott | Prism Project

In Spring 2011, John Elliott presented a Prism concert, a unique performance that blends different styles of music and plays with temporal and spatial organization to create an interactive  atmosphere.  First introduced to this concept while studying at Eastman, Elliott plans to introduce Boston audiences to this exciting concert experience.  Prism concerts are defined by the seamless succession of performances by ensembles situated in different locations throughout a venue. The Boston Prism Concert highlighted many talented local ensembles, as well as performances by curator John Elliott.

Elizabeth Erenberg | Sounding the Stories

Elizabeth Erenberg is producing Sounding the Stories, a unique program that combines music and Greek mythology.The final concert, which will take place in Erenberng’s native Los Angeles, will include flute repertoire based on Greek myths as well as a newly commissioned work for orator, tambourine and flute by DMA student Derek David. This production will enable students studying Ancient Greek History and Mythology to engage with their curriculum through art.

Lauren Hunt | Corno Colombia

In March 2011, Lauren Hunt traveled to Bogota, Colombia for ten days to work with a wide variety of horn students.  Lauren worked with three organizations that serve different communities in the city: Tocar Y Luchar (the El-Sistema style program in Colombia), Sabana Centro, a music preparatory school and the conservatory affiliated with the National University of Colombia.

Cecilia Huerta and Andres Lopera | Boston Latin-American Orchestra

Andres Lopera and Cecilia Huerta have teamed with Villa Victoria to launch the Boston Latin-American Orchestra (BLO).  This chamber orchestra is comprised of twenty-two current and former NEC students as well as musicians from the Greater Boston area.  BLO aims to present Latin-American orchestral music and in so doing, create a space where Latino culture can be celebrated and shared.

Peter Negroponte | Improvisers Anonymous Series

Improvisers Anonymous Series, curated by Peter Negroponte, is a new performance initiative that will promote improvised music and allow young improvisers to collaborate and share bills will more experienced players.   Each concert will reflect the many sub-genres of improvised music, from improvised music based on pre-composed material to free jazz, and electro-acoustic music, among others.  Concerts will take place at the Piano Factory and will create an accessible space for students and young musicians to perform and showcase their talents as improvisers.

Albert Oppenheimer | Chiron Competition

The Chiron Competition, directed by Albert Oppenheimer, is a New England composition competition that provides the opportunity for young composers (High School and College) to have their works premiered at the New England Conservatory by world-class musicians.  Winners of the competition will also be paired a mentor who will help provide guidance and support to the student as he/she pursues further composition education.

Vanessa Wheeler | NEC Composers Lab Ensemble

The New England Conservatory Composers Lab Ensemble (NEC CLE) is a pilot program that seeks to cultivate an environment of guided exploration for young composers in a two-day intensive forum.  Selected composers will work with a Visiting Composer, an NEC Composition or Theory Faculty member, and a flexible ensemble of experienced musicians to develop new techniques and workshop their works-in-progress. NEC CLE will serve as a sounding board for composers, a space where composers can receive direct feedback from the ensemble.  The workshop will culminate in a public performance of the pieces that are selected for the NEC CLE workshop. You can follow Vanessa's progress here.


Fall 2010

Jason Belcher | Inter-NEC

In Fall of 2009, Jason Belcher organized the Inter-NEC collective, a group of students, alumni, and faculty from New England Conservatory who are dedicated to inter-departmental and interdisciplinary artistic collaboration. In the 2009–2010 season, Inter-NEC presented six concerts at St. Johns Church in Jamaica Plain, featuring performances by nearly 40 students across NEC departments. The Entrepreneurial Student Grant award will help Inter-NEC expand in scope and support interdisciplinary collaboration between NEC students and students from other Boston-area schools. Jason also plans to develop a website (inter-collegiate forum) that will serve as an online meeting place for students to propose ideas for collaborative projects and make connections with artists from other fields. The 2010–2011 season will culminate in a community performance at the Cambridge YMCA theater.

Ryan Maguire | City to Summit

Ryan Maguire’s multimedia project City to Summit aims to highlight issues of conservation through film and new music. Teaming with cinematographer Andy Patch, Ryan will produce a short film, showcasing the diverse ecosystems of the northeast—from the dense urban conglomerations in Boston to the rural communities in Northern Massachusetts. The score will include Ryan’s original compositions and recorded sound captured from the various environments featured in the film. The final product will be displayed in an online gallery, which will also contain information about the conservation movement, important links, a discussion board, and a space for other artists to present new work inspired by environmental themes.

Joan Arnau Pamies | NEC Young Composers Forum

Joan Arnau Pamies launched the NEC Young Composers Forum, a new series that invites young composers to present lectures on their work and creative process. Eight young composers have been invited to participate, providing a unique opportunity for composers, performers, and theorists to learn about the latest developments in new music, not only in Boston, but around the world. Follow Joan’s blog.

Wayne Shen | Project Violin

Wayne Shen is developed Project Violin that provides high-level violin instructional videos online. This service aims to mitigate the decline in violin instruction in grade schools around the country and the high cost of private lessons. Project Violin serves as an educational resource for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access high-level instruction, and will also provide an alternative mode of study that utilizes the Internet, a medium that is central to the lives of young students today.

Colin Thurmond | AcousticaElectronica

Colin Thurmond is the Artistic Director of toUch—a contemporary performance company that brings together young musicians, dancers and visual artists to express their diverse artistic realities, which include both classical and non-classical influences. toUch's first performance will be AcousticaElectronica, "a mind bending classical/electronic performance," at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville.


Summer 2010

Samantha Angstman | Burlington Ensemble

Samantha Angstman along with partners Michael Dabroski and Sofia Hirsch co-founded the Burlington Ensemble (BE), an organization dedicated to creating benefit concerts that serve the Burlington, Vermont community and build new audiences. After completing a pilot summer concert series at the College Street Congregational Church in Burlington, BE has launched a new 90/10 series—10% of the proceeds is used to cover concert costs, and the remaining 90% is donated to partnering Vermont nonprofit organizations such as the Stern Center for Language and Learning, Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation, Committee on Temporary Shelter, and KidSafe Collaboration.

Jennifer Berg | Oboe Reed Crafting Masterclasses

Jennifer Berg created a masterclass training series to teach young oboe players how to craft their own reeds. This project was launched in San Antonio, Texas, Jennifer’s home town, where she offered small group classes to local high school students. In the coming year, Jennifer will work to create relationships with area middle and high school music programs to expand her client base in Boston, while continuing to broaden her studio of students in San Antonio.

Nell Shaw Cohen | Georgia O’Keeffe Film

Composer Nell Shaw Cohen has created a short film, The Faraway Nearby, about artist Georgia O’Keeffe and her special relationship with the New Mexico landscape. The film serves as an avenue to explore interdisciplinary collaboration between visual and performing art forms as well as a medium to present Cohen’s recent compositions that have been inspired by O’Keeffe’s artwork. The Faraway Nearby was recently premiered with live musical performance at the New England Conservatory's Tuesday Night New Music series. The piece was performed by a group of NEC students: Lisa Husseini (flute), Christopher Mothersole (clarinet), Wesley Chu (piano), Samantha Bennett (violin), and Marza Wilks (cello). You can learn more about the filming and scoring process on Nell's blog.

Daniel Hawkins | The Secret History

Daniel Hawkins composed a new work that incorporates sound and video footage captured from the MBTA system and other public spaces throughout Boston. The overarching goals of this project are to employ the power of music to help Boston residents form a meaningful connection to the Secret History of their physical surroundings and to use the idea of place to inform artistic expression. The project culminated in a series of performances in Boston train and bus stations, as well as formal performance venues. Listen to sound excerpts and follow Daniel's progress here.

Melanie Leinbach | Evening of Song Benefit Concert

Melanie Leinbach organized a benefit concert for the Arthritis Foundation as a tribute to her voice teacher and mother who were both affected by rheumatoid arthritis. The concert took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, and included wide-ranging vocal repertoire, most notably, the Charlottesville premier of an operatic work by 18th-century Italian composer Niccolo Jommeli. The proceeds from the Evening of Song benefit concert totaled $1230.

Amir Milstein | Sounds and Signs

Amir Milstein has convened an ensemble comprising local movement artists and musicians to develop a new approach to interdisciplinary improvisation called "real-time composition." This approach enables artists to both nurture their creative impulse and employ traditional performance technique. Using this new form of improvisation, the ensemble "composed" works that utilize elements such as form, shape, spatial relationships, extended sound sources, balance, dynamics, themes, and motifs. Under the banner of Sounds and Signs, this ensemble presented two evenings of structured improvised movement and sound in late September at the Mobius Gallery, an artist-run organization that generates and presents experimental art.

Peter Negroponte | Burlington Other Music Festival

The Burlington Other Music Festival enables forward-thinking artists to present their work, forge creative partnerships with one another, and enrich the greater Burlington, Vermont community. The inaugural summer 2010 festival included dozens of performances over a period of five nights, with a focus on free improvisation, free jazz, "outsider" rock and folk, and electro-acoustic genres.