ETHELS FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS INC

Rating: 5 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 331 West 57th St #494 New York NY 10019 USA

Mission: The mission of ETHEL’s Foundation for the Arts, founded by the string quartet ETHEL, is to inspire and create music for the 21st century by presenting adventurous performances; commissioning established and emerging composers; educating young musicians through innovative methodologies; and expanding audiences through outreach and new technologies.
Results: ETHEL's 2012-13 season commences with a nationwide tour of “Tell Me Something Good,” a celebration of the culture and sounds of the 1970s featuring rock icon Todd Rundgren. Other highlights include: a preliminary performance/workshop of “ETHEL’s Documerica” as part of the Park Avenue Armory’s week-long “Under Construction” series in New York City; the world premiere in the Netherlands of “Cross Avenue;” a new work by composers Jeroen Strijbos and Rob van Rijswijk; collaborative projects and concerts with virtuoso guitarist Kaki King; ongoing performances with Native American flutist Robert Mirabal; appearances as the official house band of TEDxManhattan; performances as the Resident Ensemble at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Balcony Bar; and newly commissioned works by Mary Ellen Childs, Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Ulysses Owens Jr., James "Kimo" Williams, Hannis Brown, Lainie Fefferman and Dan Friel. Off-stage, ETHEL continues to receive acclaim for its third album, Heavy (Innova Recordings, 2012), which has been described as “another beautiful reality of contemporary music” (All About Jazz). Over the past three years, ETHEL has premiered over 50 new works by 20th- and 21st-century composers, including pieces that were commissioned by the quartet or composed by ETHEL. Recent premieres and noteworthy performances include: Phil Kline’s SPACE at the gala reopening of Alice Tully Hall; RADIO by Osvaldo Golijov at the debut of WNYC Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Space; ETHEL’s TruckStop®: The Beginning at BAM’s Next Wave Festival; ETHEL Fair: The Songwriters at opening night of Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival; WAIT FOR GREEN with choreography by Annie-B Parson, commissioned by arts>World Financial Center; ETHEL's HonBiBaekSan by Dohee Lee at Meet the Composer’s 3-City Dash Festival; ETHEL’s HomeBaked series featuring commissioned works by emerging NYC composers Andy Akiho, Anna Clyne, Judd Greenstein and Matt Marks, as well as premieres by Rick Baitz and Randall Woolf at the Tribeca New Music Festival; and works by contemporary music luminaries such as Julia Wolfe, John Zorn, Steve Reich, John King, Raz Mesinai, David Lang, Scott Johnson, Kenji Bunch, Don Byron, Marcelo Zarvos and Evan Ziporyn. ETHEL has initiated innovative collaborations with an extraordinary community of international artists that include David Byrne, Bang on a Can, Kaki King, Ursula Oppens, Loudon Wainwright III, STEW, Ensemble Modern, Jill Sobule, Dean Osborne, Howard Levy, Joshua Fried, Andrew Bird, Iva Bittová, Colin Currie, Thomas Dolby, Jeff Peterson, Steve Coleman, Stephen Gosling, Jake Shimabukuro and Polygraph Lounge. ETHEL has appeared as a guest artist on a dozen music labels and was recently featured on: A Map of the Floating City by Thomas Dolby (2012); The Duke by Joe Jackson (2012); John the Revelator: A Mass for Six Voices by Phil Kline (Cantaloupe Music, 2008) with vocal group Lionheart; and the Grammy Award-winning Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman (Concord Records, 2009). The quartet also serves as the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon Music Festival as part of the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project. ETHEL recorded Oshtali: Music for String Quartet (Thunderbird Records, 2010), the first commercial recording of American Indian student works.
Target demographics: ETHEL reaches audiences inside and outside traditional concert demographics. Number and composition vary according to the variety of venues in which the group performs and are generally younger and more diverse than is typical for contemporary concert music.
Geographic areas served: Based in New York City; quartet tours U.S. and abroad
Programs: PERFORMANCES AND PROJECTS: ETHEL's Foundation supports contemporary concert music through exciting, innovative performances by the string quartet in collaboration with an exhilarating array of composers and musicians. ETHEL has been working since 2006 on TruckStop®, our ambitious collaborative commissioning and compositional initiative inspired by the rich musical and cultural diversity we’ve observed during our over ten seasons of touring. COMMISSIONING: ETHEL's Foundation has developed a robust commissioning program for mid-career and established composers, which in ten years has generated more than 40 new works from diverse voices including Phil Kline, Julia Wolfe, and Neil Rolnick. The Foundation also commissions innovative emerging composers, and to that end, we recently launched ETHEL’s HomeBaked to commission younger artists who live and work in ETHEL's hometown of New York City. ETHEL's HomeBaked captures new and distinct flavors in the quartet's own artistic research kitchen. Commissioned artists to date include Andy Akiho, Anna Clyne, Matt Marks and Judd Greenstein. EDUCATION: ETHEL's Foundation supports Native American Composers Apprentice Project (NACAP). Since 2005, ETHEL has been quartet-in-residence at NACAP, a project of the Grand Canyon Music Festival. Every September, ETHEL tours schools on Navajo and Hopi reservations in the Four Corners region to work with young Native American composers. The Foundation helps to support a range of residency activities by ETHEL to inspire and encourage younger musicians. These programs include lectures, workshops, performances and master classes at colleges, music schools and universities. Topics include improvisation, composition, and collaboration. OUTREACH ETHEL performs free and affordable concerts throughout the year. In 2009-2010, the quartet is featured at several free concerts in the outer boroughs of New York City as part of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series. ETHEL also embraces new technology to expand audiences through initiatives such as ETHEL's Listening Library, an online archive where web visitors can listen to new music for free, increasing the composers' outreach and visibility. Material from the Listening Library will be the core of quarterly online podcasts that will introduce contemporary concert music to an ever-widening audience via the web.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

If anyone ever assumed chamber music was for fuddy-duddies, they would completely get over it if they witnessed Ethel at work. Ethel makes chamber music feel as physical and intense as the shreddingest rock music -- without sacrificing any artistry or delicacy. They're the future, and future sounds great.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The way they devise their concerts, which are unique, thought-provoking and exciting (great combo), and always superbly performed.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I was fortunate enough to look after Ethel when they performed in the Melbourne International Festival for the Arts (Australia) a few years ago. I also saw them perform in the 10 Days on an Island Festival, Tasmania (also in Australia) in 2009. They are the most talented musicians, creating a really honest and vibrant sound. As a professional outfit, they are highly commited to their audience and their mission. The quality of their work is superb, and their dedication to maintaining that standard is truly inspiring. Can't wait to see them here again!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Travel the world, team up with Indigenous cultures from all over, and produce wonderful music together. They have so much to give!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

The players in Ethel have unique and generous personalities and a vivacity and authenticity in the way they share music. This communicates to people of all ages who are interested in music that is living, both in that it is newly composed and that it is in touch with a broad range of styles. I think the players of Ethel are in the best possible position to relate to young people in sharing their open and energetic approach to music and the process of creating and performing it. Their dedication to educating and empowering young people, especially those not likely to have the advantages other might, is an inspiration to all musicians and most especially to those lucky students.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

have contact with even more students. And play the music they have created, an experience that will inspire and empower those children for any area of growth in their lives.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I've seen Ethel perform numerous times, great chops and always a great experience, wide ranging repertoire. Caring, committed band members that 'give back' to community

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the quartet's sheer talent, commitment to emerging composers and social justice, multi-disciplinary approach

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

Ethels Work with the Navajo has been extraordinary. For the last 4 years they have come to the middle of the Navajo Reservation (Chinle Az) and worked with a group of young aspiring composers in my high school music room. The development of self esteem I see from the students in the program is astounding. This year two of those students have applied and auditioned for multiple music schools including Berklee. The interview teams have been very impressed with their composition skills and are encouraging composition scholarships for the students. How altruistic Ethels work is! The music and ove of music is at the highest level-only exceeded by their caring and encouragement given to the students they work with.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Chinle Arizona working with High School students in my classroom.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Raise more money to allow more students the opportunity to be involved.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Working with Ethel , the performances of the student compositions and seeing the growth in each kid.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Amazingly dedicated and kind people. Very well organized and hard working.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand programs working with artists and students, exposing the general community to important artists, encourage greater creativity in the youth of our country developing a sense of Americas Music History in the process, the unique Americana blend.

Ways to make it better...

My colleagues in the district were more aware of how great an opportunity this is for our students.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Reaching a larger appreciative audience, raising funds to continue their giving back to communities through their artwork.

One thing I'd also say is that...

They make a differnece and the world a better place.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

i've worked with ethel, i've listened to ethel, my wife has worked with ethel, and we've all seen what they have accomplished. i'd compare them to the OTHER great american new music string quartet, but they are so different...i've never heard another quartet improvise like that, that is, better than most composers can write! very intimidating. they are changing the very place of string quartets and modern music, joining in with all kinds of musicians. of course no one plays their way...they are the most distinctive sounding quartet i've heard. and tecnical monsters, to be SURE!!!!!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

concert, rehearsal, recordings

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their vision and expertise and energy.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

r u serious?

Ways to make it better...

no idea

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I am an arts professional and an audience member interested in Ethel's work. I saw them perform in two lovely venues on Kauai, in Hawaii. Their connection with the audience was palpable and their enthusiasm for a breathtaking variety of music, infectious. I had heard their recordings, and was bowled over by the heartbreaking beauty of the first live performance I heard in a stunningly intimate venue on Kauai. Thoroughly hooked, I attended a concert at a different venue a few days later where they shared the stage with a variety of talented Hawaiian artists, effortlessly connecting with a very different audience and circumstance.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

concert and in recordings. I have been especially thrilled by their live performance, as they connect widely disparate musics in the Duke Ellington "If it sounds good, it IS good"" aesthetic tradition.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the breadth and depth of their musicality: deep understanding and expression of a wide variety of musical styles and traditions.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

Ethel is one of the most creative music groups I've ever encountered. Every event they do breaks the mold of how to create music, how to present it, and what is created. Particularly admirable is how they reach across seemingly-impossible divides between types of music and musicians, working together on a musical and personal level to create a hybrid that is at once unique and also encompasses both "cultures." And they're GREAT players, the best.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

give even more to the music community.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

Steelgrass Farm is a center for music, agriculture and the arts on the island of Kauai. Ethel's week-long residency here was a transformative event for our rural population, which is highly underserved from a cultural perspective. Ethel's free public concerts, in particular an interactive collaboration with students from Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha, one of the few Hawaiian-language schools in the world, were the highlights of the year's musical events for everyone on our island.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a rural area which is highly underserved from a cultural perspective

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give them more money and a larger organizational staff to plan further outreach.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their exceptional communications skills, and ability to bridge cultural and educational gaps in a way that leaves audiences both excited and empowered about mnaking their own music.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

the ensemble, who are not only superlative musicians, but great at making their enthusiasm contagious to audiences.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

come back to our rural area more often.

Ways to make it better...

Ethel had been able to stay longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the difficulty of finding adequate funding to allow them to bring their extraordinary blend of talent and inspiration to more audiences.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Funder, audience member, observer, fan. Ethel's music is a shot in the arm for those of us who need contemporary programming. BUT their participation in the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the Native American Composers Apprentice Program has shifted the course of outreach in chamber music, and certainly in the Four Corners area. Witnessing their work with this program makes you wish the media paid more attention to the good work of artists. ETHEL is the picture of dedication, professionalism, creative thinking and role modelling.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

rural northern arizona

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the personnel

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

unusual human beings

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world?.....

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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