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Music proposal wins first Enrichment Award

05/26/1998

A "brainstorm" by the Miami University music department to highlight the millennium transition will become reality thanks to a President's Academic Enrichment Award totaling $95,000.

The project was selected in the first round of competition for the new university award program, made possible through a $6.5 million gift from the late Arretha Sheriff.

"Music at Miami for the Millennium: Harmonizing Excellence, Hearing Diversity" was developed after faculty "brainstormed and dreamed" about a potential project that could catapult the music department into national prominence, according to Pamela Fox, chair.

Music at the end of the 20th century is in a transition, she said, explaining that the department's project will reflect on the mixture of musical styles present at the close of the 20th century. The proposal calls for:

• Identifying two internationally prominent composers and commissioning each of them to write a 10-15 minute composition. Both composers will be invited to campus for a weeklong residency.

The two new works are to be designed to combine western and non-Western elements and demonstrate global synthesis as well as to showcase the department's performance strengths. They will be premiered on campus by faculty and student musicians in 1999 or the spring of 2000.

In addition, performances will be held for area school children and a major concert scheduled in Cincinnati.

• Developing 'The State of Music at the Millennium Colloquia Series" that will include a three-semester series of speakers from all musical disciplines.

Fox explained that throughout history, the decades between the 90s and the 20s have been the time when new musical styles emerge. For example, it was between the 1890s and the 1920s that tonality--the organizing principle of classical music--was rejected.

Most music historians believe that the early 21st century will see a stylistic synthesis emerge from the current fragmented music scene.

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