Hartford Symphony Orchestra Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

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Grant to Support HSO’s Musicians Care Project, a Healthcare Initiative Currently Piloted in West Hartford, CT

HARTFORD, CT – May 8, 2014 – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa has announced that the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The HSO is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support Musicians Care Project.

Musicians Care Project is a community engagement initiative of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and seeks to enhance the quality of life for people of all ages whose healthcare needs prevent them from taking part in traditional music performances by providing live, interactive musical experiences. According to the WolfBrown study entitled Music and Health Care, “Music offers health benefits throughout life, from those born into the neonatal intensive care unit for whom music mediates medically-necessary stress, through those in hospice care at the end of life who can use the music to transcend physical symptoms and declines.”

Piloting the program at Hebrew Health Care in West Hartford, Hartford Symphony Orchestra chamber ensembles performed concerts for the residents, including performances on specific units of the facility. During a Musicians Care Project performance, a nurse at Hebrew Health Care noted about a patient whose motor skills improved while listening to the music: “Watch her feet! Her eyes are still closed, but she is actively participating in this program. Magic!” As the program continues to grow, additional performances and activities will be scheduled with a variety of health care facilities throughout Greater Hartford, aiming to serve a broad range of patients and residents and bringing to them the beauty and joy of live music.

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The NEA is pleased to announce that the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

Marking its 70th Season in 2013–2014, the Hartford Symphony is the second largest orchestra in New England and is widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. The mission of the HSO is to perform live orchestral music of the highest quality for ever expanding audiences, and to increase, through its educational programs, the understanding and enjoyment of that music by residents in Connecticut. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Carolyn Kuan, the HSO plays to audiences numbering more than 110,000 at more than 230 concerts annually.  For more information about the HSO, visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.