2017 CFA Spark Grant

For the fourth year in a row, we are pleased to offer CFA graduate students this exciting $1,000 grant opportunity.

The Spark Grant focuses on empowering College of Fine Arts graduate students outside the classroom—supporting their efforts to kick-start a project or launch a fully-realized artistic collaboration. Winners will receive $1,000 to fund a project within their discipline or with other artists.

On May 3rd we invite all CFA graduate students to an event at the Hawthorne in Kenmore Square. Students may bring a plus-one with them to the event. CFA graduate students will hear pitches from finalists, vote for their favorite project, and enjoy a fine selection of food and drinks with their peers. The winner will be announced that evening. The grant winner will also receive a feature in the CFA’s Spark publication highlighting their talents and the impact of their projects.

Here are the finalists for the 2017 Spark Grant:


Brandi Pick and Beirut Balutis, “Furnace Fringe Festival”

Furnace Fringe Festival is a celebration of new and innovative theatrical works, dance performances, musical acts, and visual arts. Our intent is to give young artists the chance to showcase their work in a more professional environment and offer workshops to teach basic skills in the areas of design, dance, visual art, playwriting, and acting. We also have a mentorship program set up for students ages 14-18 to be apart of so that they may work with someone in their desired area of the arts. Our two main goals are to foster a community of artists who can collaborate in the future through the connections created in the making of and at the festival AND create a scholarship fund for students looking to further their education in the arts. All proceeds from the festival are going into a scholarship we are creating that will be awarded this fall to an undergraduate student.  The festival will happen over a three day period in a variety of spaces all within walking distance of one another. There will be a space featuring three One-Act plays chosen from the playwright submissions. A second space showcasing dance performances. The third space, an art gallery where visual artists can display and sell their work and a performance area where musical acts, and small performances can occur throughout the day and evening. In between the dance and theatre shows there will be small workshops in a variety of disciplines that anyone can take part in. Our hope is for some of these workshop groups to put together a performance or installation to put on display the final day of the festival.

Katherine Beckvold, “The Inner Workings of Humanity”

The goal of this concert is to commission new works for voice and chamber orchestra, inspired by voices of important and relevant female activists. Our values in Boston are often instigated by women. Women such as; Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emma Watson, Elizabeth Warren, Meryl Streep and Coretta Scott King. With the focus of the performance on human rights and collaboration between the music schools in Boston, we are taking individual communities and uniting them as one. When we are able to stand together, we gain strength and are able to accomplish anything we set our minds to. This includes the community gaining the basic human rights of equality. These women’s ideals represent the strong values of Boston, Boston’s Music Schools, and most certainly Boston University. They should be heard.


Ines Andrade, Edoardo Carpenedo, Gracie Keith, “Bendada Music Festival”

Virtuoso Soloists, an innovative chamber music group comprised of three enthusiastic doctoral students (Edoardo Carpenedo, Inês Andrade, and Gracie Keith) and three alumni (Ivana Jasova, Yoni Battat, and Lucio Maestro) of BU School of Music, is seeking a grant to support their efforts to use classical music as a means for cultural dialogue and social outreach between Portugal and the United States. The ensemble has been invited by the Bendada Philharmonic Society to return to the Northeast of Portugal to host the second season of the Bendada Music Festival, where the group will serve as the ensemble-in-residence as well as guest faculty. In addition to teaching and performing at the Bendada Music Festival, Virtuoso Soloists will present a series of concerts in some of Portugal’s most renowned concert halls. Working with young music students from across the country and abroad, and bringing their music to the cities and countryside of Portugal, Virtuoso Soloists will forge strong musical bonds across the Atlantic, and share their passion and vision for classical music with the next generation.


Krishan Oberoi, “Fleeing War and Finding Refuge: Composer Ernst Krenek’s Belief in Multicultural America”

This project is a collaborative, bi-coastal initiative designed to explore and celebrate the intersection of multicultural American aesthetics and immigrant artists. Specifically, the project will highlight the experience of renowned composer Ernst Krenek, who fled Austria in 1938 after he was blacklisted by the Nazi regime. Krenek’s belief in multicultural America was a driving force throughout his career; his first opera, Jonny Spielt Auf, featured an African-American protagonist and was the initial cause of Krenek’s mistreatment by the Nazis. The project will culminate in public lecture-recital performances of Krenek’s deeply personal choral works, in both California and Massachusetts. As a tangible outcome of this project, Krenek’s Santa Fe Timetable, inspired by the composer’s love of Spanish town names in the American Southwest, will be professionally recorded and digitally released online. Following each performance, we will host an informal forum wherein audience members and performers will be encouraged to engage in dialogue about the music and its themes, as well as general discussion about the perspectives of immigrant artists in the United States.


Andre Mestre, Tak-Cheung Hui, Luciano Leite Barbosa, Georg Kari Hilmarsson, Cheng-Yu Wu, “Parallaxis”

Paralaxis is the ongoing result of intense collaboration between four doctoral composers at the BU School of Music and the Taiwanese flute virtuoso Cheng-Yu Wu. Over a period of 10 months, from February to November 2017, we will be working together on a series of brand new compositions for flute and electronics to be recorded, released, and premiered by Mr. Wu. More than anything, this group of pieces will be meant to challenge any preconceptions of what a flute is, and what it can sound like: these compositions showcase the rich history of the instrument, going back to the traverso (the baroque ancestor of the concert flute) and forward to modern variants such as the bass instrument; not only that, but in Parallaxis one hears these instruments being augments in ways that range from subtle sonic enhancement, to theatrical make-believe, to futuristic use of sensors and transducers which transform the entire concert hall in a vibrating resonance box.




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