New York State Music Fund supports MASS Ensemble residency

harp outfitsThe Artswego Performing Arts Series at SUNY Oswego has received a $38,000 grant from the New York State Music Fund to support an upcoming residency for the MASS Ensemble.

The MASS (Music Architecture Sonic Sculpture) Ensemble blends music, technology and visual arts in its productions. It will stage “Critical MASS,” a performance art piece that will turn Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre into a giant stringed instrument, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.

The group’s residency work will include an installation art exhibition, “E=MC2 Closesound: A Musical Exploration by MASS Ensemble,” from Sept. 5 to Oct. 9 in Tyler Art Gallery. MASS Ensemble members will also present outdoor concerts in the college quad; discussions on the creative process, the business of art and the interplay of science and music; a workshop on instrument making; and a yoga and sound seminar.

The New York State Music Fund was created when the New York State Attorney General’s Office resolved investigations against major record companies that had violated state and federal laws prohibiting “pay for play,” also called “payola.”

The settlement agreement stipulated that funds paid by music businesses would support music education and appreciation for the benefit of New York state residents. The Attorney General’s Office enlisted the services of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, one of the nation’s largest and most experienced philanthropy services, to develop and manage the grant program.

An advisory panel made up of leaders from a cross-section of the music world evaluated and recommended 153 of the 304 applications the fund received for its first cycle.

Awards to the 153 grantees represent every region of New York state and range from $15,000 to $750,000. Diverse forms of popular or experimental music, including hip-hop, indie rock, fusion and reggae, account for about 37 percent of grants; more than 13 percent celebrate a spectrum of jazz; 30 percent include new classical music. The state’s ethnic or racial minority communities are served by 45 percent of the programs, while 47 percent target low-income communities.

For more information about the appearance of MASS Ensemble at SUNY Oswego, contact the Artswego office at 312-4581 or

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PHOTO CAPTION: Living instruments—The MASS Ensemble will participate in an early-October residency at SUNY Oswego through a grant from the New York State Music Fund. As part of the college’s Artswego Performance Arts Series, the ensemble will present a performance art piece, installation art exhibition and a number of educational workshops and seminars. The group blends music, technology and visual arts in its work. The New York State Music Fund, created when the New York State Attorney General’s Office resolved pay-for-play investigations against major record companies, is administered by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

(Posted: Jul 19, 2006)