Tuesday, December 3, 2019

In January 2017, 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 have had 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 very proud to announce the 2019 - 2020 undergraduate and graduate student recipients of the Rainwater Innovation Grants, as well as their exciting endeavors.

Luke Berringer (BA) | $5000 grant

Improvisation de ballet: A Musical Exploration of Modern Improvisational Dance

Lab Orchestra will collaborate with the similar undergraduate-run group Dance Action. Around five student dancers will perform and choreograph the works. This launches Lab Orchestra’s mission to reach out to other departments within the College of Fine Arts, and will strengthen a sense of collaboration.

David Fong (BA) | $3500 grant: 

Mothership: The Musical

The grant will fund a workshop that will foster connections between UT Austin students across a wide range of fine arts disciplines (Butler School of Music, Theater and Dance, Arts and Entertainment Technologies). The overarching themes of the musical resonate with cultural anxiety about the future of our society, the addiction epidemic, and the sustainability of our planet, all humorously tucked into a satirical space drama.

Matthew Kundler (DMA) and Jose Flores (BM), $5000 grant: 

The Diversity Initiative’s Call For Scores and Concert Series

Funds from the Rainwater Grant will help create a summer concert series in Austin promoting the music of composers from underrepresented communities. In addition to these performances, a portion of the grant will be used to fund the first call for scores focusing on brass compositions by minority composers.

Sarah Milligan (BM) and Renuka Jayasinghe (BM) | $2500 grant:  

Jazz Girls TX

Funds will be used to help bring nationally recognized female jazz artists to our camp, exposing young musicians to outstanding women performing jazz. We will thus give jazz girls role models who are successful in the industry and who can inspire them to continue pursuing their dream.

Cristina Saltos (MM) | $5000 grant:  

Seeing One Another, Seeing Ourselves: A Multi-Community Educational Collaboration

This multimedia music history and human rights pedagogy initiative will break down existing barriers between the academy and the community. This project will engage UT performance students, musicologists, and Austin musicians in creating three twenty- minute podcasts and an accompanying website that provide engaging and accessible curricula for young children and families based on the interests of communities of color.

Ellie Yamanaka (MM) | $4000 grant:  


This collaboration between the Butler School of Music and the Department of Dance will realize a public performance of Carlos Salzedo’s rarely performed work for harp ensemble and dancers.

Michael Zapruder (DMA) | $5000 grant: 

The Changelings: An Immersive Climate Change Musical

The grant will fund the next stage of development of The Changelings—allowing artist travel, and supporting a public workshop/performance/talk back session. Using unexpected approaches and modalities (musical and theatrical), The Changelings will contribute new, innovative and surprising perspectives on the critically important issue of climate change.

Joanna Zatteiro (PhD) | $5000 grant: 

Sight/Sound and the American West: Interactive Digital Mapping Through Song

The project aims to create an interactive digital sonic atlas of the American West in the late nineteenth century through examination of cowboy, pioneer, mining, and other related folk songs popular between approximately 1850 and 1900.