Adventurous Programming

Sweet Musiqa: Houston arts group wins a major national award

Sweet Musiqa: Houston arts group wins a major national award

News_Nancy_Musiqa_artistic board_Karim Al-Zand_Rob Smith_Anthony Brandt_Pierre Jalbert_Marcus Marone
Musiqa's five-member artistic board. Photo by Mark Dean

As institutional funding declines and government agencies' pockets deplete, performing and visual art nonprofit organizations that vie for every dollar are compelled to find ways to differentiate themselves from the massive network of companies that contribute to the creative economy.

For Musiqa, whose five-member artistic board consists of composition faculty members at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and University of Houston's Moores School of Music, what distinguishes it are activities that render new music relevant. When considering the ongoing commissions and world premieres, interactive performance components and engaging educational strategies, Musiqa gained the attention of Chamber Music Association/American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (CMA/ASCAP).

CMA/ASCAP has endowed one of eight 2013 Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music awards to Musiqa. 

 "The Adventurous Programming award is the highest national honor that a group like ours can receive."

"The Adventurous Programming award is the highest national honor that a group like ours can receive," Anthony K. Brandt, artistic director, tells CultureMap. "It's particularly gratifying that Houston audiences have been going along for the adventure from the beginning. I'd like to thank our public for their interest, enthusiasm and support."

Among the offerings that impressed CMA/ASCAP's jury were partnerships that bridge across artistic genres, such as collaborations with Houston Ballet, informal Loft Concerts at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and National Endowment for the Arts-funded school programs, Around the World with Musiqa and Musiqa Remix.

These multi-sensory presentations encourage various access points into the art forms, enriching the concert goers' experience.

Brandt will accept the award at the 35th Chamber Music America National Conference in January in New York, where he will receive a plaque and a check for $500. Though the amount may not seem significant, it's the national awareness that brings Houston's arts scene into focus that's more valuable.

Most of the recognition went to groups in the East Coast, with the exception of San Antonio-based SOLI Chamber Ensemble and Slumgum Jazz Ensemble in Altadena, Calif. Da Camera of Houston received the award in 2007 and 2009.