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Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research

Biennial Conference / Festival

The Paul R. Judy Center will organize a biennial conference emphasizing research and opportunities for evolution of current ensemble models.Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research Conference | October 8, 2016

Join creative musicians and leaders, participate in exciting panel discussions, and network with members of today’s leading ensembles and organizations including Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Chicago Philharmonic, Fifth House Ensemble, Eastman BroadBand, National Sawdust, the Ying Quartet, American Modern Ensemble, and San Francisco Conservatory.

Who should attend?
Musicians, ensemble leaders, educators, arts administrators, students, arts entrepreneurs, and more!

Registration fee: $25 (Registration will open in July. Stay tuned and email us at info@polyphonic.org to be notified when registration opens) 

Full Schedule for October 8, 2016 (all events take place at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY)

10:00am – National Sawdust: Where Creative Musicians and Communities Meet
Keynote Presentation by Paola Prestini, Executive and Creative Director, National Sawdust

10:45amIgniting Innovation: Supporting Creative Artists and Ensembles

How do we create meaningful support, unique opportunities, and educational resources for today’s innovative and emerging musical artists and ensembles? What models of support have the greatest impact on the creative and professional success of musicians? How do we enable today’s artist-innovators with the essential knowledge and resources that they need to be successful in today’s marketplace?

Moderator: Jamal Rossi,  Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music

Paola Prestini, Composer, Executive and Creative Director, National Sawdust
Jason Price, Trumpet, Alarm Will Sound
Peter McDowell, Executive Director, eighth blackbird (expected)
Melissa Snoza, Flute and Executive Director, Fifth House Ensemble
Kate Sheeran, Provost and Dean, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

12:00pm – Lunch on your own

1:30pm – Vibrant Musical Organizations: New Structures – New Paradigms

What new models of organizational structure and leadership have shown promise in creating more vibrant, effective and sustainable musical organizations? How is the traditional model of the management and governance of our musical arts organizations evolving and changing? What happens to the artistic product and morale of musicians if they also assume management, leadership, and ownership responsibilities? Is it positive or negative?

Moderator: Phil Ying, Viola, The Ying Quartet, Associate Professor, Eastman School of Music

Vanessa Rose, Executive Director, International Contemporary Ensemble
Donna Milanovich, Executive Director, The Chicago Philharmonic Society
Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Co-Artistic Director, Eastman BroadBand, Professor of Composition, Eastman School of Music
Jeffrey Zeigler, Solo Cello Artist, Formerly with the Kronos Quartet
Victoria Paterson, Executive Director, American Modern Ensemble

3:30pm – Performance by the Eastman Saxophone Project

The Eastman Saxophone Project (ESP) strives to promote the popularity of the saxophone through innovative programming and versatile performances, thereby providing an exciting and invigorating concert experience for a diverse audience.

Since their founding in 2010, the Eastman Saxophone Project has quickly become one of the most recognized saxophone ensembles in the world. They made their New York debut at Steinway Hall in 2011, were the featured ensemble at the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance National Conference, and have appeared on National Public Radio through WXXI’s Backstage Pass. The ensemble made their Kennedy Center debut in 2015, and completed a tour of China in 2016, where they were the featured ensemble in music festivals in Beijing and Shanghai. In addition to multiple outreach concerts, ESP performs two full-length productions a year in Rochester, New York.

4:30pm – 6:00pm – Cocktail Reception


For 2015, the Paul R. Judy Center collaborated with Chamber Music America to present the pre-conference day at the Chamber Music America National Conference, January 2015 in New York City.

Chamber Music America Pre-Conference Day

How to Succeed In A Changing Musical World








Presentation slides from Thursday, January 15, 2015 – Click on the links below to download presentation slides

John Nugent and Marc Iacona – What Makes it Work? – The Elements of Successpdf

Judith Ricker – Keeping Your Brand Hotpdf

Michael Reed – You Don’t Have to Be a Geek… to Make Technology Work for Youpdf

Steve Haase – Putting Your Audience Center Stagepdf

Darrell Grant – Don’t Go It Alone: Enrich Your Performances Through Collaborationspdf

Grants Program

Grants Program
This grant program is intended to provide funding for research, events, and initiatives related to innovative ensembles. Applications for funding will be accepted on an annual basis; grants will range from $500-$2,000.
Proposals will be accepted under the following categories:

– Research Support
– Event Support
– New Initiative Support

The next deadline for grant applications is September 1, 2016. Grant applications will be submitted through a form on our website, which will be available in mid-July, 2016. Check back soon, or email us at info@polyphonic.org to be notified when the application form becomes available. Thank you!

2015 Grant Awards

New Initiative Category

Present MusicMilwaukee, WI
ComposeMilwaukee, a new community engagement program that consists of a series of workshops and performances that actively engage the audience in the creation and performance of new music.

Research Category

William RobinBrooklyn, NY
Research into the social history of new music in the United States from 1980 to the present through the lens of innovative ensembles.

Event Support Category

Charlotte SymphonyCharlotte, NC
Romeo & Juliet: a multidisciplinary performance featuring a live outdoor plazacast in collaboration with Charlotte Ballet, Opera Carolina, UNC Charlotte School of Art + Architecture and PlayMakers Repertory Company

ContemporaneousNew York, NY
ORBIT: an immersive concert experience based in four neighboring art gallery spaces featuring works by female composers

DunyaBelmont, MA
Othello in the Seraglio, a music drama featuring 16th and 17th century European and Turkish musical sources along with original music by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, presented at Oberon/American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA and Le Poisson Rouge in New York, NY

Ensemble Dal NienteChicago, IL
The Party, a 5-hour long communal listening experience at Mana Contemporary, celebrating the ensemble’s 10th anniversary

Intersection Contemporary Music EnsembleNashville, TN
Key of Intensity, a concert featuring works for medium ensemble and the Ondes Martenot, along with original choreography

Inverted Space EnsembleSeattle, WA
Commissioning, performance, and display of new graphic score works in collaboration with neighborhood art walks and an Earle Brown performance-retrospective

Nouveau Classical ProjectNew York, NY
Mysterium Novum: an interactive synesthetic music and art installation

2014 Grant Awards

New Initiative Category

Alarm Will Sound
Alarm System, a new initiative comprised of workshops and performances featuring collaborations with composers outside of conventional classical music networks

International Contemporary Ensemble
OpenICE, a new international initiative offering free programming in three major areas: Live Concerts, Online Innovation, and Education

Research Category

Gamelan Dharma Swara
A new research project studying the current operational, programming, and funding models of gamelan groups and similar ensemble

Daniel S. Isbell
A new research project – Musical Code-Switching: Musical Interactions in Alternative Music Ensembles

John Pippen
A new research project studying artistic innovation, organizational structure, and operational sustainability in three new music ensembles

Event Support Category

Hotel Elefant
speakOUT spring 2015 concert featuring works written by female composers

New Vintage Baroque
A trio of concerts in the 2014-15 season exploring the theme of “Vice”

Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble
May, 2015 concert featuring the audience as active creators using the iAlvin app

Third Coast Percussion
March, 2015 performance at Constellation in Chicago, featuring the premiere of three new percussion quartets

The Weckmann Project and Musica Nuova
December, 2014 staged production of the Christmas Oratorio by Heinrich Schutz

An Arts Leadership Program Module

An Arts Leadership Program Module
This new Arts Leadership Program module will engage students in development of new ideas related to innovative ensembles and organizational/business practices. The module will include Arts Leadership Program courses as well as the development of experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom. Initial courses envisioned include:

– “Creating and Sustaining a Professional Ensemble” (Spring 2014)
– “Excellence, Innovation, and Uniqueness: Developing Your Creative Career in Music” (Fall 2014)

The Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program (ALP) is designed to prepare Eastman students for a rapidly changing musical culture and an increasingly competitive and diversified marketplace. The ALP includes a certificate program, a variety of course offerings, an internship program, a guest speaker series, and more – all with the goal of providing students with the tools they need to succeed as a 21st century musician.

For questions about any of these programs please email info@polyphonic.org. Thank you.





About the PRJ Center

About the PRJ Center

Judy_slider2The Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research is a division of the Orchestra Musician Forum at the Eastman School of Music. The Center’s research and programming emphasizes the 21st century evolution of the innovative ensemble, influenced by both the symphony orchestra and the chamber music traditions, with a focus on creative, artist-centered ensembles that reflect new models of artistic innovation, organizational relationships, and operational sustainability.

What is an “innovative ensemble,” you ask? Here is our definition:An innovative ensemble is a musical group that explores new and creative models of operation, programming, and presentation, which are a crucial part of the ensemble’s identity. The Paul Judy Center finds that innovative ensembles typically embody one or more of these new models:

  • Non-traditional instrumentation, or instrumentation that is flexible
  • Artist centered, possibly artist-run, and/or innovative methods of organization and management (these ensembles typically do not have collective bargaining agreements)
  • New and engaging ways of connecting with audiences
  • Participatory concert atmospheres
  • Performances in unique venues and drawing in new concert-goers
  • Multimedia or interdisciplinary components
  • Innovation in music programming (Not necessarily focused on new music; can combine musical genres or show unique threads and themes between works, or present unique perspectives or concert formats of music old or new)

Click the following link to read a 2013 paper which studied a number of innovative ensembles in an effort to explore their approaches to all facets of being an ensemble in the 21st century: Alternative Ensembles: A Study of Emerging Musical Arts Organizations

The Paul R. Judy Center currently supports the following three initiatives: Grants Program, Biennial Conference / Festival, An Arts Leadership Program Module. Click on the tabs above for more information.