Wurtz premiere receives praise at AMP concert

The Kontras Quartet gave the world premiere of Amy Wurtz’s String Quartet No. 3 at Ganz Concert Hall in Chicago. Photo: Anne Ryan / AMP

Amy Wurtz’s String Quartet No 3 received high praise from critics in its world premiere, performed by the Kontras Quartet at the American Music Project concert Sunday, June 5 at Ganz Hall in Chicago.

Reviewing for Chicago Classical Review, Landon Hegedus said of the AMP commission, “This is urgent, anxious music, wrought with taut but deep-felt emotion and brought exquisitely to life thanks to the Kontras Quartet’s attentive interpretation.”

Writing in Third Coast Review, Louis Harris said the delayed premiere of Wurtz’s quartet “was worth the wait.”



AMP grant applications are now open for the 2022-23 season

“Music” by Thomas Eakins, 1904.

AMP grant applications are now open for the 2022-23 season and will be accepted through September 10.

Grants will be awarded for events featuring music by American composers exclusively, with performances taking place from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.

Grant submissions in recent years have seen a decreasing emphasis on American composers of the past. Therefore, for the first time we are requesting that at least two of the works on the program be both substantial (longer than 12 minutes) and written before the 21st century–i.e., before the year 2000.

Awards will be announced October 10.

Click here to apply.

AMP to return live in June with wide-ranging concert by Kontras Quartet

The Kontras Quartet will perform a concert presented by the American Music Project June 5 at Ganz Concert Hall.

The American Music Project will return to live performance this spring with a concert by the Kontras Quartet June 5 at Ganz Concert Hall in Chicago. While the Chicago-based foundation has awarded grants to groups in recent years, this will be the first live concert presented by AMP since 2016.

As is AMP’s mission, the program will offer a wide range of music by American composers past and present, including the world premiere of Amy Wurtz’s String Quartet No. 3. The American Music Project launched with the premiere of Wurtz’s Piano Quintet in 2014.

The program will also include Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 2 (“Company”), John Elmquist’s Sacred Traces, Vincent Persichetti’s String Quartet No. 3, and selections from Frederick Tillis’s Spiritual Fantasy No. 12.

“We are delighted to perform this program for the American Music Project,” said Kontras violinist François Henkins. “Not only are there some underperformed gems, like the Frederick Tillis and Persichetti quartets, but we will also be premiering Amy Wurtz’s String Quartet No. 3, and revisit a Kontras commission, Sacred Traces by John Elmquist.”

The concert will take place 3 p.m. Sunday, June 5 at Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Avenue. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students.

NOTE: Due to Roosevelt University’s Covid policies, all concert attendees must register in advance. To purchase tickets and reserve a place, please email tickets@americanmusicproject.net.

AMP Grant Awards announced for the 2021-22 season

Boston Public Quartet

After going on hiatus last season due to the pandemic, the American Music Project today announces grant winners for the 2021-22 season.

Boston Public Quartet

The Boston Public Quartet will perform three American chamber rarities: Arthur Foote’s Piano Quartet, Florence Price’s Piano Quintet and Jeraldine Saunders Herbison’s Piano Quartet.

Salt Creek Song Festival

The Salt Creek Song Festival in Nebraska will present a wide array of 20th- and 21st-century American art song in four programs ranging from Argento, Barber, Hoiby, Beach and Price to Heggie and other American composers of today.

Zafa Collective

The Zafa Collective will present an array of chamber works by Marta Ptaszynska, the prolific Polish-American composer and longtime composition professor at the University of Chicago.

AMP grant applications are now open for the 2021-22 season

“The Violinist Leila Kalman 1924”; painting by George Bellows.

After going on hiatus this past season due to financial stresses and performance limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the American Music Project will once again bestow grants for performances of music by American composers in the 2021-22 season. Applications are online and may be submitted starting today.

Grant applications must be submitted by August 31, 2021. Grants will be awarded for performances taking place from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022.

Awards will be announced October 18.

Click here to apply.

AMP grants paused for 20-21 season

“The Cellist” by Joseph DeCamp, 1908.

The American Music Project is pausing grant submissions and awards for the 2020-21 season due to Covid-19.

“With great regret, I’m sorry to announce that we will not be able to make any AMP grants for performances of American repertoire in the 20-21 season,” said Lawrence A. Johnson, AMP founder and president, on Thursday. “Fundraising for the American Music Project has always been difficult under the best of circumstances. Due to the current financial challenges, it would be irresponsible for the foundation to allow people to submit applications for grants we may not be able to afford.”

The American Music Project plans to renew its grant program in May of 2021 for the 2021-22 season.

AMP Grant Awards announced for the 2019-20 season

George Crumb

George Crumb Festival

The Music Institute of Chicago will mark the 90th birthday season of George Crumb with an immersive three-day festival of the American iconoclast’s music, March 27-29, 2020. Works to be performed include Night of the Four Moons, Sun and Shadow (Spanish Songbook II), Three Early Songs, Vox Balaenae and the complete Makrokosmos, Books I-IV.

Horatio Parker’s Choral Anthems 

Canticum Novum Choral Ensemble will perform and record the Choral Anthems of Horatio Parker (1863-1919). This project by the Iowa City ensemble will mark the premiere professional recording of this important yet little known part of the pioneering 19th-century American composer’s oeuvre.

150 years of Chamber Music by African-American composers 

The Detroit-based AEPEX Contemporary Performance will present several concerts of a program exploring the vast range of piano and chamber music by black composers from Blind Tom Wiggins in the mid-19th century to contemporary composers of today.