Artswego receives award for adventurous programming

SUNY Oswego’s Artswego Performing Arts Series was one of only five presenters to receive Chamber Music Association/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming on Jan. 17 in New York City.

The awards recognize those demonstrating extraordinary commitment to 20th and 21st century music, especially focusing on works written within the past 25 years.

Artswego won in the category of small presenters of mixed genres. Presenting entities winning awards in other categories included the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Earshot Jazz Society, Carlsbad Music Festival and Painted Bride Art Center. In addition, four performing ensembles won CMA/ASCAP adventurous programming awards.

Dr. Julie Pretzat and Trevor Jorgensen, representing SUNY Oswego’s music department, attended the awards in New York City and participated in a roundtable conversation where winners presented their success stories.

Contemporary work

Artswego and the college’s music department “have worked diligently to introduce the work of contemporary composers,” said Mary Avrakotos, Artswego coordinator. “The result of this work over several seasons is the balance evident in 2008-09, with over half of our music presentations featuring contemporary or newly composed repertoire.”

Multidimensional programming included such activities as Haitian-American composer and electric violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, among the performers in the visiting original work “Hudson River Quadricentennial Concert,” conducting an extensive creative residency with young musicians in the area. Performers in the college’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series and other shows often take part in outreach programs, with local schools and members of the community, that discuss the creative process as well as their most recent compositions.

Other events featuring contemporary music during the 2008-09 timeframe included the Guitar Symposium, Kitka in Richard Einhorn’s “The Origin” and Ke-Nekt performances by the Amelia Piano Trio, Dorian Wind Quintet and Matt Wilson’s Arts and Crafts as well as a tribute to composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Avrakotos found wide acknowledgement that the program attained “a remarkable balance between two concerns in our rural area—acquainting new members of our audience with elements of the classical repertoire and challenging our continuing community audience with new and ambitious work.”

The honor helps Oswego build its case as one of 31 semifinalists in the prestigious Creative Campus award competition, she added.

About Chamber Music America

Chamber Music America, the national service organization for the ensemble music profession, promotes artistic excellence and economic stability in the field, and to ensure that chamber music is a vital part of American life. With a membership of over 6,000—including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artists’ managers, educators, music businesses and advocates of ensemble music—CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions.


ASCAP is a membership association of more than 365,000 composers, songwriters and publishers of every music genre. Founded in 1914, ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and governed by its members. ASCAP grants permission to those who wish to perform copyrighted music publicly, licensing non-dramatic public performances, and distributes royalties to its members.

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(Posted: Jan 20, 2010)