The Advanced Training School of the Central Institute for Restoration (Italy)
- Selected by: International Advisor, Lamberto Dini (Italy)
The Central Institute for Restoration (ICR) was founded in 1939 with the aim of conserving and restoring Italy's vast cultural and artistic heritage, threatened at the time by the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1941, the first specialist course in Europe for the training of professionals in restoration was created in ICR, subsequently leading to the development of the Advanced Training School (SAF), creating professional restorers for works of art, who could work in all conditions, wherever needed.
Encouraging an attitude of humility, students are taught, “We are not great artists, but we come into close proximity with great, important works of art and for us knowledge is important, so also curiosity, intelligence in what we do.” The Director of the ICR, Alessandra Marino, describes a restorer as having, “a complete understanding of the work, of the materials of which it is composed, on how it fits into the historical and cultural context of the period as well as the present.”
With a high ratio of staff to students, with one teacher for five students for practical work, a total of 110 students are taught in two locations – Rome and Matera in Southern Italy. Each year, 25 students, including a few international students, start the taxing five-year master's course studying inorganic and organic chemistry, biology and physics, and all studies essential in order to understand the objects being restored. Restorers, historians, chemists, physicists, biologists, zoologists and anthropologists all work together as a team at the ICR.
Students carry out theoretical and practical studies in the school’s laboratories and in the field, with the practical field studies accounting for 60% of the total coursework. Students can, from the start, find themselves coming face to face with works of the highest quality, while at the same time having to guarantee the absolute safety of these works. This is particularly true when dealing with the aftermath of damage caused by natural disasters, especially earthquakes.
Students also learn through active involvement in international projects in varying locations, including the restoration of the murals of the Umayyad Palace in Jordan and more recently underwater work to restore a submerged Roman villa in Greece.
Since its foundation, the school has produced around 900 graduates. Most have become professionals in the conservation and restoration of Italy’s rich cultural and artistic heritage, but some have travelled or returned overseas, joining leading international institutions including the Louvre, the Rijksmsuem and the Getty Research Institute.
The school comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture who finances most of its annual operations budget. The school in Matera receives further financial support from the local authorities. Directors of the two school locations, Francesca Capanna, herself a former ICR graduate, and Giorgio Sobrà say the Grant from the Japan Art Association will be used to fund 30 collaborative research projects for students over the next two academic years.
Démos (Philharmonie de Paris) = France
- Selected by: International Advisor, Jean-Pierre Raffarin (France)
Démos is a musical education program run by the Philharmonie de Paris. Since its establishment in 2010, it has provided musical education to children between 7 to 12 in underserved localities or rural areas; areas where classical music is not traditionally promoted.
The organization not only lends children musical instruments but also provides lessons for up to four hours a week for 3 years – all without charge. Two professional musicians and a social worker work together to teach groups of 15 children. Their aim is to not only teach musical skills, but also provide emotional care and to promote the children’s personal development. At the end of this process, all instruments are given to children who want to continue learning music.
Once a month, 7 groups get together to form an orchestra of 105 children and annually, these orchestras perform concerts at local concert halls. Additionally, they also perform an annual concert at the end of June at Philharmonie de Paris.
In initiating this project, the wish of Laurent Bayle, Directeur général of Philharmonie de Paris, was to promote Démos insertion into the community of children "on the fringes," less favored than others. This is why the Démos program aims to gradually cover the entire territory.
Currently, Démos has nearly 4000 children enrolled in their program across the country; resulting in 38 Démos orchestras. For the future, Démos is targeting a number of orchestras up to 60 by 2022.
Démos is based on the pedagogy developed since 1995 by the Cité de la musique educational teams, enriched by other experiments carried out around the world, such as “Take A Bow” by the London Symphony Orchestra or El Sistema in Venezuela.
Mr. Bayle says, “We established Démos because linking with children in underserved areas is important for us and the El Sistema project showed us that musical education could lead to all kinds of other improvements in the world of education. We think the way music is transmitted between the teachers and the children is very important.”
Démos popularity has been increased by its patron, Lilian Thuram, the very popular soccer player whose personality is in perfect harmony with his spirit. He holds the record of selections in the French national team of football and world champion in 1998. In addition, Démos inspired a film La Melodie directed by Rachid Hami in 2017, which was a great success.
After studying at Démos for 3 years, 50% of the graduates continue to study music or get involved in classical music in one way or another. Démos’s annual operating cost is about 8 million euros. One third of the budget is provided by the French Government, another third comes from the private sector, and the final third by local governments.
Shakespeare Schools Foundation（ U.K.）
- Selected by: International Advisor, Christopher Patten (U. K.)
The Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF) is a UK cultural education charity that has been organizing the Shakespeare Schools Festival, the world’s largest youth drama festival, since 2000. By enabling young people to engage with the timeless language and stories of Shakespeare, SSF helps them gain the self-esteem and confidence to grow and succeed in the future.
The Festival, held every autumn, involves nearly 30,000 young people between the ages of 7 and 18 from 1,000 schools throughout the UK, including ethnic minority pupils, those living in poverty, and young people with special educational needs. Preliminary workshops are held at each school to train teachers, so it is not necessary for them to be experts on theater or the English language.
The Festival culminates during a two-month period that three or four schools per night perform abridged Shakespeare plays such as Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest in over 130 professional theaters. Over 65,000 people attend these evenings, which often provide their first experience of Shakespeare.
Ms. Ruth Brock, Chief Executive of the Foundation, says, “Shakespeare’s extraordinary stories and beautiful language really do span the 400 years since they were written. They deal with crucial themes common to the human condition, and offer young people an understanding of love, conflict, war and animosity. This is why we believe Shakespeare remains relevant to our youth today.”
A student from London who participated in the Festival last year commented, “I came to appreciate the fact that something like Shakespearean language can bring people of different nationalities, ages and abilities together.”
Over a quarter of a million young people across the UK have participated in the Festival over the past 17 years. In 2016, performances were held at Westminster Abbey and elsewhere to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Support has come from some of the most prominent figures in the theater world, including Sir Tom Stoppard (Praemium Imperiale laureate in 2009) and Dame Judi Dench (Praemium Imperiale laureate in 2011). Stoppard adapted The Merchant of Venice for the Festival.
SSF obtained foundation status in 2016, and according to Mr. Andrew Jackson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, participating schools pay a registration fee that covers about half its costs. A quarter of the costs are covered by box office receipts and commercial activities such as sales of programs and T-shirts, and the remaining 25% comes from fundraising. Mr. Jackson points to the universal relevance of the Foundation’s work with Shakespeare’s plays, saying “The themes of Shakespeare transcend all time. They transcend nationality.”
Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association (Lebanon)
- Selected by: International Advisor, William Luers (USA)
In 2006, right before the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, young actress Maya Zbib (now 36) and fellow artists founded the Zoukak Theatre Company in Beirut, and started using the tools of drama therapy and psychosocial interventions, working with displaced children and women in schools from the south of Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut.
This was followed in 2008 by Zoukak opening a studio which served ever since in part as a free-access space for practical and critical exchange and as a rehearsal and creation space for local performing artists. It also provides space for the Theatre Company to explore the use of drama therapy. In the studio, Zoukak staff conduct workshops on performance, dance and education as well as providing training courses in drama therapy. The space also provides residencies for creation for artists invited from overseas.
As part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, in 2010-2011 Zbib was mentored by American theater and opera director Peter Sellars and received valuable experience. They have developed a strong and lasting professional relationship.
There are said to be over two million refugees in Lebanon. Zoukak continues to offer psychosocial support to Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Sudanese refugees, and to women subjected to domestic violence, with the goal, as outlined by Zbib, of “empowering individuals, and allowing them to relate to themselves and to society.”
Aside from this psychosocial work, Zoukak is a Theatre Company that creates their own productions – often based on themes connected to their context.
They see that the official version of Lebanese history taught in schools stops at the end of the French mandate and does not cover the Lebanese civil war and other parts of Lebanese contemporary history. So they have created a performance based on oral recollections of Lebanese history which has now toured villages all across Lebanon. They have given the performance extra meaning by creating a forum for the audience to be able to explore what history means from various vantage points on stage after the performance.
Last April, Zoukak received its first grant from the Drosos Foundation in Switzerland, to be paid out over four years, and have used it to expand the Theatre Company’s headquarters. In addition to studio and rehearsal spaces, they will open a 100-seat theater this November. In the future, the company plans to use revenue from the theatre to fund their own operations.
Ms. Zbib says, “We are now in a new phase of the company. We want to offer young people the chance to share our tools of theater making and psychosocial intervention techniques and develop a young audience.”
Zoukak has a small team of 25 members in all. At its creative heart is Ms. Zbib, along with Lamia Abi Azar, Omar Abi Azar, Junaid Sarieddine, Hashem Adnan, Mohamad Hamdan and Soumaya Berri, all in their 30s.
As the Lebanese government does not support the Arts financially, annual operating expenses all have to be covered by external funding. Although the amount varies from year to year, it is between 80,000 and 200,000 dollars.
Five Arts Centre (Malaysia)
- Selected by: the International Advisor, Yasuhiro Nakasone (Japan)
The Five Arts Centre is a collective of artists and producers founded in 1984 by Krishen Jit (d.2005), one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned theater directors; fellow theater director Chin San Sooi; and dancer-choreographer-educator Marion D’Cruz who was only 30 at the time, in Kuala Lumpur, capital of the culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse Malaysia where Malay, English, and Chinese are all spoken.
Founder member D’Cruz recalls, “Our goal was to provide opportunities and venues for experimental articulation of distinctly Malaysian narratives.”
Over the past 30 years, Five Arts Centre has fulfilled this goal, acting as a nexus for diverse artistic activities focused primarily in the five fields of Theater, Dance, Music, Young People’s Theater and the Visual Arts – inspiring the community and supporting young artists with a wide range of programs including experimental theatre and dance performances, exhibitions and installations, a contemporary gamelan ensemble, children’s programs, workshops, forums and training programs for directors.
Currently, Five Arts Centre’s 13 members are from various fields and generations: four in their 60s, four in their 50s, two in their 40s, and three in their 30s. Ongoing “friction” between the generations acts as a positive stimulus, while each member pursues his or her own artistic endeavors, with the younger members in their 30s and 40s acting as the core of the Centre’s activities in recent years.
Producer June Tan (aged 42) has been a member for 10 years and is in charge of the program for emerging and experimental artists. She says of the program, “It can be a platform for either emerging artists or someone who wants to try a new way of working, a new artistic form. The strength of Five Arts is in its diversity which we hope can mirror the Malaysian society at large.”
Acclaimed director, Mark Teh (aged 35), is the Centre’s youngest member but speaks powerfully about its ambitions: “We want to provide platforms for young artists, young producers, young writers, young thinkers in all areas of the arts; be they dance, theater, possibly film and even new media. But we also want to engage with inherited and older histories, traditions, questions that are still important and are still relevant.”
Five Arts Centre’s annual budget of 300,000 Ringgit (approximately US$73,000) is covered by Government grants and funding from private enterprises. The Centre has also been collaborating with Japanese artists for the past 20 years and is supported by the Japan Foundation. In recent years, plays directed by Mark Teh as well as other performances have toured Asia and Europe.
In 2006, the Centre partnered with a Malaysian satellite TV broadcaster to establish the Krishen Jit Astro Fund, which not only provides grants for Malaysia-based artists but also offers economic support to people who contribute to the cultural development of Malaysia.
Yangon Film School (Myanmar / Headquarters: Berlin, Germany)
- Selected by: International Advisor, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (Germany)
The Yangon Film School (YFS) was established in 2005 by UK-born Anglo-Burmese filmmaker Lindsey Merrison, who lives in Berlin. Her own association with Myanmar began in 1989 when she accompanied her Anglo-Burmese mother on a trip to her Burmese homeland and later filmed a documentary, Our Burmese Days, there. Her next film brought her into contact with creative young Burmese desperate to learn about filmmaking. Merrison realised their wish when, in spite of numerous constraints, she returned with a group of experienced filmmaking colleagues from Australia and Europe to hold the very first Art of Documentary Filmmaking workshop in Yangon, Myanmar in 2005.
She has since worked extensively to expand the School’s curriculum into a fully-fledged three-year study programme offering, besides introductory courses in documentary filmmaking and editing, classes in film history, analysis, sound design and postproduction, screenwriting, fictional filmmaking and production. So far, the School has provided training free of charge for over 160 students from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. Merrison herself travels to Yangon from Berlin at least four times a year to oversee the School’s activities.
Many of the documentaries made by the School’s students and graduates have won awards at international film festivals. When more than 130,000 people lost their lives in the 2008 cyclone, YFS students and graduates immediately went to the delta region to record the devastating damage and interview survivors. The result was the documentary Nargis – when time stopped breathing. However, censorship was harsh under the military dictatorship that lasted until 2010 and screening the documentary in Myanmar was at first impossible.
“It was illegal to film at the time,” says Merrison. “The government tried to cover up the disaster when they were not able to get aid quickly to the people affected. Our students filmed the aftermath of the cyclone and created a very moving work. To this day it remains one of the films of which I’m most proud.” Having won a number of international awards, the documentary was shown for the first time in Myanmar in 2012 at the Wathann Film Festival.
One of the cinematographers on Nargis was 40-year-old Tin Win Naing, who is also one of the School’s very first graduates. His work as a documentarian attracted unwanted attention from the military regime at the time, forcing him to flee over the border to northern Thailand for three years in 2009. He is currently working on a documentary based on those experiences – and also now teaches cinematography to a new generation of students at YFS.
The School’s annual budget of approximately 600,000 Euros is currently funded by grants from the European Union, Germany’s Goethe Institut and the Finnish Foundation for Media and Communication (VIKES). Yangon Film School hopes to use the Grant for Young Artists towards funding a feature film produced in a documentary style.
In 2006, YFS graduates founded the School’s production arm, Yangon Film Services, a social enterprise which produces films on behalf of local and international non-governmental organisations, among others. The School’s goal is to find a large permanent home for YFS and hand over operations to a Myanmar-run administration.
While there has been a certain amount of progress in media deregulation since the country began moving towards democracy in 2011, Merrison says: “I hope that being selected as a grant recipient will convince the Myanmar government that it is worth thinking of YFS as a key partner for the development of the creative media industries in Myanmar.”
The Zinsou Foundation(Benin)
- Selected by: International Advisor, Jean-Pierre Raffarin (France)
In 2005, twenty-one year old Marie-Cécile Zinsou established the Zinsou Foundation in the West-coast African Republic of Benin. The Foundation was established to provide free access to the Arts, to promote African Art and Culture and to increase educational advancement through cultural and artistic exercises.
Their headquarters are based in Cotonou, the biggest city in Benin. At the heart of the headquarters lies an exhibition space where, for the past 9 years, 23 exhibitions of African Art have been held. In November last year, the Foundation opened a museum in Ouidah, a one-time slave trade town, 30 km west of Cotonou. This Contemporary Art Museum is the first facility of this kind in Benin. The building itself is a ninety-year old, two-story mansion that has been refurbished as a museum to house a permanent display of contemporary African Art.
Ms. Zinsou says that she had the idea to transform uninhabited buildings into Art spaces after a visit to Naoshima in Japan. Naoshima is an island in Kagawa Prefecture that is known for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures and on a visit there two years ago, Ms Zinsou was introduced to the "Art House Project" where uninhabited houses were transformed into galleries. The Foundation has a large collection of African Art and it hopes to increase the number of buildings available for use for the Arts by the "Naoshima method."
The Foundation has a multitude of activities based on the Arts. It runs art workshops twice a week where students can learn how to paint, draw and make art works. It has an ambitious program of exhibitions that are linked to various educational programs and it brings school students from the many schools in Cotonou to the building in a wonderful, colorful bus, the "Culture Bus." It also has 6 mini-libraries (each with 2000 books) in Cotonou and once a week, they show movies there too. In addition to these regular activities they have also been involved with starting a "Contemporary Dance Festival".
One of the key elements to all these activities is that they are free to the public, thus ensuring that in the first 9 years of their existence, 4.6 million people out of a total population of 10 million have participated in or experienced one of the many activities. The Foundation's annual budget of one million Euros comes from the Zinsou family and 50 international companies who recognize the vital work being done by the Foundation.
Well-known African artists have offered their support for the Foundation's activities. From the beginning, Beninese sculptor Romuald Hazoumè, famous both in Africa and the West for his gasoline canister masks, gave his backing by providing work for the Foundation's first exhibition. He will also take part in the tenth anniversary events.
Mr. Zomahoun, Benin's Ambassador to Japan, who founded "Takeshi Japanese Language School" in Cotonou in 2003, providing free Japanese lessons, often talks with Ms. Zinsou about education that enriches the people of Benin. He says, "It will be wonderful if people understand Benin and Africa better through the cultural and artistic activities of the Zinsou Foundation."
JuniOrchestra of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome
- Selected by: International Advisor Lamberto Dini (Italy)
This youth orchestra was established in 2006 by Mr. Bruno Cagli, Honorary President of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. The Accademia, which was founded in 1585, is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world and Mr. Cagli believes that "the future of music will be created by nurturing new musicians and new audience together - so we need to give young children a proper musical education."
The core members range in age from 12 to 19 and if we include the courses of Children Choirs, the total number of members exceed 550. The JuniOrchestra has two primary courses, one for children of 4 to 6 years old and the other for children between 7 to 12 years old.
The orchestra endeavors to popularize classical music among young people under the motto "concerts for the youth by the youth." It also encourages children from underprivileged backgrounds to participate and provides a variety of scholarships.
Being true to the spirit of "children helping children," it is keen to encourage involvement with charitable activities and provides yearly concerts for the pediatric wards of the hospitals in Rome, with any profit being donated for the treatment of sick children.
Mr. Cagli is known as a prominent researcher of the Italian composer Rossini. "Rossini was born into a musicians' family and at the age of 6 or 7, he acted as a conductor/singer in the family. Many musicians have started their careers at an early age."
The core members of the JuniOrchestra range in age from 12 to 19. In addition, they run two junior courses: one for children between 4 to 6 years old and the other for children between 7 to 12 years old. The JuniOrchestra consists of 260 players, and there are also choral courses for Children Choirs bringing the total number of students to over 550.
Children from underprivileged backgrounds are encouraged to participate and are helped by the provision of musical instruments and scholarships. Being true to the spirit of "children helping children," they are encouraged to engage in charitable activities and to take part in the annual concerts for the pediatric wards of the hospitals in Rome. The profits are donated for the treatment of the children.
The members of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia participate by teaching the children and supporting their activities. According to Maestro Simone Genuini, who has been conducting the JuniOrchestra since its foundation, "the most important point we emphasize when we teach children is that they should learn to listen. Listening is the decisive factor."
The Accademia's headquarter is in the "Auditorium Parco della Musica," a multi-purpose hall designed by Renzo Piano, the 1995 Praemium Imperiale Architecture Laureate, and completed in 2002. The JuniOrchestra practices in every Auditorium hall, and public events usually take place in the main concert hall. Their repertory covers composers throughout more of three centuries, including Corelli, Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet, Bernstein and Ligeti.
The yearly budget for running the JuniOrchestra and other youth programs is 750,000 Euros. It is financed by ticket sales, events performing fee and donations from the lottery. This year's Grant will be used for, amongst other things, scholarships for underprivileged members of the JuniOrchestra.
Sphinx Organization(Headquarters: Detroit, USA)
- Selected by: International Advisor William Luers (USA)
This organization was founded by the 42-year-old African American violinist, Aaron Dworkin in 1996 and is dedicated to the development of young Black and Latin American classical musicians. Motivated by Dworkin’s own experience of being the only African American musician in an orchestra and by seeing that there were only a small number of Blacks and Latin Americans in the audience, he determined to bring about cultural diversity to the world of classical music.
Gradually, through these activities, it has become an organization that is known throughout the US. In the 15 years since its foundation, the Sphinx Organization has produced many musicians who have gone on to work professionally and the number of Black and Latin American musicians in American orchestras has doubled from 2% to 4 %. Founder Aaron Dworkin himself has been recognized as a great “reformer of music education” and has been appointed by President Obama as a member of the National Arts Policy Committee.
There are many famous musicians who give their support to the Sphinx Organization, such as Yo-Yo Ma and the late Isaac Stern, sometimes playing with the students and sometimes teaching them. The organization has expanded, opening offices in New York and Chicago and has become more international, opening an office in London and working with other orchestras in Venezuela and in London. 60% of The Sphinx Organization’s annual budget of $3.2 million is made up of donations from foundations, corporations and individuals.
Dworkin is passionate about the future, saying, “Blacks and Latin Americans combined represent only 4 % of all the members of America’s orchestras. We have to try harder to bring cultural diversity to classical music, while maintaining artistic quality.”
Southbank Sinfonia (UK)
- Selected by: Christpher Patten, International Advisor
Southbank Sinfonia is an orchestra of young professionals, recently described by the British media as ‘a dashing ensemble who play with exhilarating fizz, exactness and stamina’. Southbank Sinfonia is firmly established as Britain’s leading orchestral academy, providing the most talented musicians with a much-needed springboard into the profession.
A distinctive and integral part of the programme is the orchestra’s work alongside leading performing arts organizations. This includes the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Southbank Sinfonia is also privileged to collaborate with acclaimed artists such as Patrons Vladimir Ashkenazy and Sir Thomas Allen.
Southbank Sinfonia is based in the crypt of St. John’s Church Waterloo. Rehearsals are held in the church, where they perform regular Rush Hour Concerts on Thursdays, free of charge and open to the public. The name 'Southbank' refers to an area along the south side of the River Thames near Waterloo Bridge, which is the city's cultural hub and home to a number of the country’s leading arts organizations.
About a third of the orchestra's members are from outside Britain. Past and present members have come from various European countries as well as Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. Southbank Sinfonia is proud to have enabled the majority of its graduates to embark upon fruitful careers in the music profession.
The orchestra started out in 2002 as a small exciting endeavor and has grown year by year into a significant organization in the orchestral community. The Sinfonia’s educational programme has also expanded greatly over the past decade. Southbank Sinfonia is run by a staff of ten, and is funded entirely by private donations. Of the annual budget of £750,000, around £300,000 comes from private trusts, foundations, and corporate supporters. £150,000 is earned from performances, and the remainder generously donated by individuals.
Royal Court Young Writers Programme (UK)
- Selected by: Christpher Patten, International Advisor
The Young Writers Programme at the Royal Court Theatre in London discovers and develops young writers and provides them with the tools to write plays good enough to be staged at the Royal Court, one of Britain’s most renowned theatres. The scheme was launched in 1991 as part of the theatre’s mission of encouraging new voices from diverse backgrounds.
Leo Butler, once a course participant, is the resident tutor. He says that the first half of the group is often about writers exploring their inner self to find their unique voice and to find out what they really want to write about. They are then required to complete a piece of work that can at least be called a finished play but may need revision. The most valuable part is then being able to share their work with other members on the group.
Participants are also able to attend special guest lectures by acclaimed playwrights, directors, designers and choreographers, including Tom Stoppard, 2009 Praemium Imperiale laureate for Theatre/Film.
In 2010, half of the plays performed at the Royal Court Theatre were penned by young playwrights who completed the programme. A notable participant in one of the past programmes was Lucy Prebble whose play ENRON was staged at the Royal Court and went on to have a successful run at one of London’s main West End theatres.
The Royal Court Theatre came to prominence in the mid-1950s as a theatre company that challenged the artistic, social and political orthodoxy of the day. Since then, it has been known as a “writers theatre,” dedicated to unearthing and cultivating new talent, and presenting the public with innovative modern drama. Since 1973, it has organized a regular Young Writers Festival seeking submissions of plays to be performed at the festival. This year it has reduced the minimum age of eligibility, accepting works by writers as young as eight years old.
Christopher Campbell, the theatre’s Literary Manager, says that playwrights and the theatre have a higher profile in Britain than in other countries, and wield greater cultural influence. Theatre-going is an integral part of the culture, he says, and the role of the Royal Court Theatre is to discover the next generation of playwrights, and ensure that their work finds an audience.
Asian Youth Orchestra
- Selected by: Yasuhiro Nakasone, International Advisor
The Asian Youth Orchestra was founded in 1987 by Richard Pontzious, an American working as conductor and teacher in Asia (primarily Japan and China), together with the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin with financial aid from Hong Kong's business world.
The orchestra aims to provide a showcase for Asia's brightest young musicians and to nurture their musical talents by exposing them to rich and varied artistic experiences while offering the chance to work with first−class international musicians.
Since its inaugural concerts in 1990, the AYO has played 307 concerts in 76 cities around the world. In 1997, they performed the world premiere of Tan Dun's Symphony 1997 Heaven, Earth, Mankind with cellist Yo−Yo Ma in Hong Kong and Beijing, to mark Hong Kong's reunification with China. They have performed in major locations including New York's Lincoln Center, the White House, the United Nations, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Berlin's Konzerthaus.
This August, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its inauguration, the AYO toured China, Korea and Japan with its founder/artistic director Richard Pontzious and the British conductor James Judd, playing in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Tianjin, Japan's Saga, Beppu, Kyoto and Tokyo.
Mr. Pontzious emphasises the achievement of the orchestra saying, "Every year the members change but their enthusiasm, passion and eagerness to learn never change."
The AYO's activities are funded by individuals and businesses based in Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan. Many former members of the AYO are now performing in symphony orchestras around the world as conductors, chamber musicians and soloists.
- Selected by: Otto Graf Lambsdorff, International Advisor
World-renowned violinist Gidon Kremer was born in the city of Riga on the Baltic Sea in Latvia, one of the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and in 1997 celebrated his 50th birthday by founding the chamber orchestra, Kremerata Baltica. The orchestra brings together the top young musical talent of the Baltic States. Acting as both soloist and artistic director, Kremer is at the helm of what has grown into one of Europe’s paramount chamber orchestras.
Through his work with the ensemble, Kremer shares his own wealth of musical experience with emerging Baltic musicians, while applying his own unique energy to the promotion of musical and cultural life in the Baltic States, that has flourished in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, as well as the strengthening of the Baltic people’s national and ethnic identity.
The 25 young members, with an average age of 27, enter the ensemble after passing a stringent audition. Half of the current members have been with the group since it was founded. Kremerata Baltica is supported by the Ministry of Culture of Latvia, with the members receiving a regular salary. The Ministries of Culture of Lithuania and Estonia join Latvia to provide financial support totaling about 375,000 euros a year.
In addition to their concerts in the Baltic States, the orchestra completes, every year, five world tours comprising of 60 concerts, as well as appearing at numerous music festivals. They performed in Japan in 2004, 2007 and 2008. In November this year, they will visit Japan again, bringing new programs to Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka.
Kremer himself performs with the ensemble at their concerts around the world and is also joined at times by renowned conductors and soloists including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Simon Rattle, Mischa Maisky and Yo Yo Ma.
Kremer says, "I emphasize one very simple thing: not to become a routine orchestra. I always encourage members to take risks, to have adventures, to enlarge the repertoire and to make interpretation instead of imitation."
In 2002, Kremerata Baltica won the Grammy Award for its recording After Mozart. In 2006, they played all 5 Mozart violin concertos in one evening in Salzburg, and its live performance was released in July 2009.
Kremer says, "With this grant, we will be able to accomplish one or two more projects on our schedule, and these are adventurous projects in the spirit of Kremerata Baltica."
Italian Youth Orchestra
- Selected by: Lamberto Dini, International Advisor
The Italian Youth Orchestra, affiliated to the Music School of Fiesole, is a training center for professional orchestra musicians. It was officially inaugurated in a performance in 1984 under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Every year, auditions are held to find promising young people aged between 18 and 27 who will receive training for two years. Tuition is free, as are board and lodging. The orchestra’s training is provided by world-famous conductors. During the training period, the orchestra goes on concert tours across Europe and teams up with leading professional orchestras in joint performances. More than a thousand former students have already found work as professional orchestra musicians in Italy and all over Europe. The grant was used for improvement of school facilities.
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
- Selected by: Raymond Barre, International Advisor
In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian-American scholar and friend Edward Said began a workshop for young musicians from Israel and Arab countries. The purpose was to build mutual understanding despite differences. In 2005, the resulting orchestra performed a historic concert in Ramallah, a Palestinian city that symbolizes ethnic strife. The orchestra is managed by the Barenboim-Said Foundation based in Seville, Spain. Participants range in age from 14 to 28. The grant was used for scholarships for orchestra members form Egypt, Syria, Iran and Israel.
The State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (FESNOJIV)
- Selected by: William Luers, International Advisor
The FESNOJIV was originally founded in 1975 by Venezuela’s former Minister of Culture, José Antonio Abreu. Its main aim is to recruit children from lower-income Venezuelan families and educate them through the playing and performance of classical music. Today, 250,000 children from as young as 2 and a half upwards participate in the program and as many as 210 orchestras have been established throughout the country as a result. With the conviction that music can turn adversity into hope and save children from crime, the FESNOJIV provides free musical instruments to children and teaches them. Those children with outstanding talent are provided with housing and a salary in Caracas. The grant was used for purchasing musical instruments. The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela had a concert tour in Japan in December 2008,
Kusatsu International Summer Music Academy, Japan
- Selected by: Yasuhiro Nakasone, International Advisor
Kusatsu Academy started in 1980 as the first regular summer music academy in Japan. The purpose is the acquisition of superior playing techniques, and moreover a pursuit for musical experience and knowledge through direct personal contact with internationally renowned artists from around the world. With an emphasis on training that elicits the young musician’s deepest sensibilities the academy has created a wonderful environment of the next generation of musicians. More than 6000 students have studied at the Academy. The Academy held a concert in Tokyo in 2006 inviting young musicians from neighboring countries in commemoration of the grant.
The Young Sound Forum of Central Europe
- Selected by: Richard von Weizsäcker, International Advisor
The Young Sound Forum of Central Europe was created in 2000 when a group of talented young musicians came together in Germany to form an orchestra aiming to play outstanding pieces of contemporary music.
In 2003 the orchestra undertook a "Concert for Terezin" in the Czech town of Theresienstadt at the National Socialist concentration camp with a collaboration of Czech musicians. Polish young musicians joined them later and the Forum became an orchestra connecting more than 50 members of those three countries. They meet for work phases and intensive rehearsals before concerts. In 2005 a concert took place in the International Meeting Place in castle Kreisau in Poland. This was the main meeting place of the so-called Kreisauer Circle, the most important resistance group against Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist regime. In September 2005, they performed in Tokyo and Osaka.
De Sono Associazione per la Musica, Italy
- Selected by: Umberto Agnelli, International Advisor
The De Sono Associazione per la Musica was founded in 1988 in Turin by a group of private citizens under the patronage of Italy's Piedmontese industries to financially support young musicians and composers by awarding scholarships. In 20 years of activity the De Sono has been helping 150 young artists to perfect their skills. By now many of them have achieved success as soloists, conductors or composers and as main parts of important Italian and international orchestras. The De Sono has also published 41 volumes(essays and doctoral dissertations on musicological subjects) and organized 100 free admission concerts. In the last 5 years, thanks to the grant, 10 musicians have been able to study in Italy, 40 in Europe and 3 in the United States.
European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO)
- Selected by: Edward Heath, International Advisor
The European Union Youth Orchestra was inaugurated in 1978 to demonstrate cooperation through music of the EU member nations, and to train dedicated young musicians and give them an opportunity to work with some of the world’s finest conductors. Claudio Abbado was the Orchestra’s first music director. The 140 players who make up the orchestra are selected each year from the candidates aged between 14 and 23 throughout the EU countries. The musicians are brought together during school and college holidays at Easter and in the summer to rehearse before giving public performances. Most EUYO players go on to be professional musicians. The grant was used for a series of concerts including a Good Will Tour to Eastern Europe in 2003.
The Résidence du Festival, France
- Selected by: Raymond Barre, International Advisor
The Résidence du Festival was inaugurated in 2000 by the Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation to offer young filmmakers from around the world accommodation in Paris for 4 months and a half and a program of seminars and professional contacts to help them realize a feature film project. They are selected by 7 French filmmakers including Olivier Assayas. They devote their time at the Résidence to writing a script for their own film project. They receive advice from established directors and scriptwriters to further their work, and meet people in the industry in order to advance their project. The grant helped towards ensuring the international distribution of the first two feature films to have been made by filmmakers who stayed at the Résidence in 2000 and 2001.
Ulster Youth Orchestra, Northern Ireland
- Selected by: Edward Heath, International Advisor
The Ulster Youth Orchestra was initiated by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1993. It's aim is to enable young people from the whole of Northern Ireland to achieve their musical potential through the provision of the highest quality of tuition. The UYO brings together young musicians, aged 14 to 21 from all sections of the community, once a year for a 10-day summer course, and concerts. Members of the orchestra are selected by audition every year from the youth orchestras in the region. The UYO had not had the opportunity to perform in England since its inception. The grant enabled the UYO to make a concert/study tour to the mainland in 2001. They also performed as a part of the Festival of British Youth Orchestras in Glasgow.