Arts4All Blog

CSMA Receives Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions Grant

Posted November 14th, 2017  |  By A4A.admin

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We are excited to announce that we have been selected as one of the first ten recipients of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s prestigious Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, a five-year, $8 million initiative celebrating the foundation’s 50th anniversary that will support the creation and premiere of new works by world-class performing artists in Bay Area communities. Each local nonprofit organization that was selected will receive a grant of $150,000 to commission major new musical compositions from world-class artists in genres including chamber, electronic, jazz, opera, and hip hop.

We will commission jazz pianist (and CSMA alumnus) Taylor Eigsti’s “Imagine Our Future,” a jazz composition affirming that creativity and imagination are essential to shaping tomorrow’s world. Eigsti, a two-time GRAMMY nominee, will create a 45-minute work for piano and ensemble, with elements crowdsourced from Bay Area students. He will engage young people in a “social composition” process drawing on their words, sounds, images and colors for musical inspiration. Local students will be invited to submit their own ideas and contributions for “Imagine our Future,” which Eigsti will integrate into the piece to develop a cohesive musical storyline. In addition, he will hold masterclasses at CSMA in 2019 and work with student videographers to create a documentary about the project. The completed work is scheduled to premiere in April 2020.

We are excited to work with Eigsti to bring this opportunity to nearly 100 local elementary, middle and high schools. “We are absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions,” said Vickie Scott Grove, Executive Director of CSMA. “This commissioned work presents a unique opportunity to connect a young internationally-recognized artist (and former CSMA student) with students from our diverse local communities in the creative process. The work will validate the importance of every student’s voice in imagining and shaping the future through creativity.”



Eigsti began taking jazz piano lessons at CSMA at age six. By age twelve, he performed for President Clinton alongside Dave Brubeck. At age 15, he began teaching at Stanford Jazz Workshop. Eigsti is now a seasoned instrumentalist and composer living in New York City.

“It’s an immense honor to receive this commission, which will allow me to embark on this artistic journey of ‘social composition’,” said Eigsti. “I am looking forward to this creative challenge, highlighting the importance and diversity of visions of the future from a cross-section of Bay Area youth, using music and live performance to tie together a collective story. As a composer, there is no greater joy than to discover a piece as it takes shape organically, and I’ve never been more excited for a compositional adventure. I am also thrilled to be working with CSMA, an organization that has helped guide me musically in various ways over the course of 27 years.”

Tags: music-schoolsupport