In early January, the Butler School unveiled the Rainwater Fund for American Music, a newly established $5 million endowment created by the late UT alumnus Richard E. Rainwater (B.A., Mathematics, 1966), a Fort Worth investor and fund adviser. The ambition of Mr. Rainwater’s fund is to advance the study of music produced by Americans — from roots to jazz to film music to the concert hall — at The University of Texas at Austin. The gift significantly enhances the Butler School of Music’s capacity to be a fulcrum of research, study and practice of American music past, present and future.
As promised, the newly created Rainwater Innovation Grants will have the most immediate impact on students. Successful proposals for this grant aim to challenge the usual way of doing things and reach unexpected audiences, thus advancing the field of music in a provocative and productive way.
We are now very proud to announce the first undergraduate and graduate student recipients of the Rainwater Innovation Grants, as well as their exciting endeavors.
Kevin Parme, an ethnomusicology PhD student, for "Transnational Dialogues in Traditional Oaxacan Music." He hopes to promote interest in traditional Oaxacan music, and, by extension, Mexican culture, with a three-part initiative, involving dissertation research on brass and wind band music in Oaxaca, a bi-national collaboration with CIESAS (the national center for anthropological studies in Mexico) that involves inviting specialist Dr. Sergio Navarrete Pellicer to campus, and a presentation of Oaxacan music/dance at the Butler School.
prismatx ensemble, a new ensemble dedicated to creating art inspired by art, will present Lunaire Eclipse, a showcasing of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire paired with an original work by timed media artist Rachel Stuckey at the Spiderhouse Ballroom in Austin. The concert will also feature short films by Stuckey paired with music by David Lang, Louis Durey, Casey Martin, Robert Honstein, and Lera Auerbach. The grant will go towards expenses for putting on this event (venue, commission, sheet music, musician compensation).
Lab Orchestra, represented by Nicholas Clark, an undergraduate composition student. Lab Orchestra is a 21st-century-minded chamber orchestra that performs music of all eras in a laid-back Austin context. The funds will partially sponsor a concert for their summer series (Density 512), called "Through the Looking Glass and Other Toys," a concert inspired by childhood that will take place at The Thinkery children's museum.
Austin Camerata, a chamber group that reaches unexpected audiences through performances of chamber music in public spaces outside of the concert hall. It merges with other forms of art, such as storytelling and dance, to create a new medium for the appreciation of chamber music among audiences of all ages/backgrounds. Austin Camerata is organizing a series of concerts this spring, held in venues like the Blanton, ImagineArt Gallery, and the State Capitol. The grant will be used for compensating collaborative artists (dancers, storytellers) and for advertising their concerts.
Joanna Zattiero, a musicology PhD student, for "Popular Music Then and Now: From Musical Archive to Classroom." The project aims to make underutilized archival popular music resources available to public school students and interested community groups. The archival resources (related to popular music from ~1890-1940) will be brought to life through brief presentations covering historical and social relevance, as well as their relationship to modern social and artistic trends, and will then be performed by a professional musician. Finally, the audience will be encouraged to join in the performance and asked to consider how popular music of the past can inform education and musical performance in the present.
Sean Riley, a DMA student, for "Dharma at Big Sur: 3D Cross-Art Collaborative Design Project." He will use the The Foundry at the Fine Arts Library to design and 3D print a six-string electric violin for John Adams's violin concerto. He will commission and collaborate with a mechanical engineering student from the School of Engineering and an architectural artist from the College of Fine Arts to design the violin. The grant will pay for commissioning the work of the artists, and for parts of the violin that cannot be 3D printed. He will use the violin to perform Dharma at Big Sur for the 2017 concerto competition.
Laura Hicken, a PhD student in Music and Human Learning, for "Visual Gaze Analysis to Probe Attention and Cognition in Music Teaching." She is using eye-tracking technology to study the visual gaze of teacher-student interactions in music, using analysis techniques to probe the thinking and perception of musicians and teachers. The grant will help fund the purchase of software and hardware capable of being used in ensemble settings.