On November 15, 2011, Lisa Oman, founder and executive director of Composers and Schools in Concert, (CSIC), fulfilled a personal and organizational goal when she presented a check to Josh Murray, Director of the Rio Americano High music program.
The money was half the ticket sale revenue from CSIC’s premiere event, Commissions in Concert 2011, which was held on October 27th and paired renowned composers with high school music ensembles for a single night of original music. Rio Americano High was one of two high schools on the bill for the world premiere event; the other half of the ticket revenue will go to Berkeley High, which shared the stage. The high schools achieved transformative musical collaborations with acclaimed composers and musicians Christopher Caliendo, Omar Thomas, and Steve Horowitz, and Fred Frith.
CSIC’s mission– to help revive gutted music programs and develop the next generation of American artists, by bringing acclaimed composers into schools for musical collaborations– will only be further accomplished through similar events throughout the country. “One of the primary reasons I launched Composers and Schools in Concert was because I was concerned about diminishing support for school music programs,” says Lisa Oman. She is thrilled to present checks to the Rio Americano and Berkeley High music programs, the direct result of their collaborations and subsequent concert with the composers. “What I want people to get from this is that it really works—composers and schools working together can make money. This event, the commissions, the great new music and the money it raised for these two high schools, is the proof,” says Oman.
Audio recordings of the world-premiere pieces, as well as a video recording of Commissions in Concert 2011, are available online at http://composersandschools.com. A live performance of the Steve Horowitz piece can be heard on December 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM PDT at Hertz Hall on the University of California, Berkeley campus performed by the Berkeley High Concert Orchestra.