Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen has led new works with the San Francisco Symphony this season that are NEA-funded | Credit: Minna Hatinen

If you want to know what’s happening in the world of classical music, funding is a good place to start. The National Endowment for the Arts named its latest round of grant recipients today, Jan. 11, with more than $33 million going to artists in every state.

Because NEA money is tied to specific projects, not general operating costs, today’s announcement serves as something of a preview of performances to come from many of the Bay Area’s and Los Angeles’ biggest arts organizations.

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The San Francisco Symphony gets support for the roster of newly commissioned works the orchestra is premiering this year — pieces by John Corigliano, Fang Man, Mason Bates, and more. San Francisco Opera’s grant will cover performances in the company’s centennial season, 2022–2023, which will officially be announced next Wednesday, Jan. 19. The LA Phil finds extra backing for its Power to the People! festival, originally planned for March 2020, now scheduled for May and June 2022. And LA Opera receives funding for its new production of Verdi’s Aida, running May 21 – June 12.

More Bay Area opera companies are among the listed recipients. With its grant, Pocket Opera will work on a Mozart adaptation for kids, A Pocket Magic Flute, part animated and part live-action. Opera Parallèle’s efforts will go toward a reimagined version of Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie’s Harvey Milk. West Edge Opera will continue its Aperture program, commissioning new operatic work from teams of composers and librettists.

In Los Angeles, there are a number of exciting projects too. Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is hosting composer Shelley Washington as an artist-in-residence this year. Los Angeles Master Chorale shores up support for its May 8 program, “United We Sing,” led by guest conductor Rollo Dilworth. Pacific Opera Project gets funding for its March production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and VOX Femina Los Angeles will use its grant to underwrite the choir’s 25th-anniversary season.

This latest round of support from the NEA is just some of the good funding news for the arts in California this month. Yesterday, Jan. 10, Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2022–2023 state budget proposal. Included in his vision is $30 million allocated to California’s designated Cultural Districts, overseen by the California Arts Council.

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