As the co-founder Emerald City Music, our Executive Director is often asked, "Who on earth would start a classical music organization in 2016?!", to which he pleasurably responds, "Well, us... someone has to change the status quo!" And every so often, we like to take a moment to share how this new effort is going. We highlight some of our successes, hoping it inspires others to create change in their communities, and we also share our challenges so that our own community can rally to help. Scroll down to read this update from Andrew Goldstein, our Executive Director and co-founder.
It's December, and among a flurry of end-of-year activities, the Emerald City Music team is spending our final moments of 2016 thanking our family of donors. This is our first-ever Fall-fund-drive, and we have been so touched by the support that our community has shown us. Every contribution is special, and we celebrate with each donation! (In fact, I have a special bell – the same one we ring during intermission – that I ring to celebrate each gift!)
While talking with Emerald City Music's supporters this month, the question I'm often asked is, "Well, how it's all going?" So, I thought to take a moment to share just that!
Allow me to start by sharing that Kristin Lee (co-founder and Artistic Director) and I are both so thrilled with the launch of ECM's inaugural season this Fall. We have enjoyed the enthusiasm of the audience, the incredible musicality of the 22 visiting musicians thusfar, and the generous coverage from the press. Below is a sample of the feedback we've received!
FROM THE AUDIENCE
You enabled us to create an inquisitive new audience of classical music listeners, many of whom are exploring the genre for the first time:
"Beethoven was no longer the name of an old dead classical musician relevant only to the upper crust but a kind of punk rocker from long ago... he created a story I needed in my life."
"Seeing the chairs totally surrounding the stage, I started smiling really big. So exciting to be that close to the music! Emerald City Music is really on to something here...."
"I almost forgot how emotionally lifted and charged live music can make me feel. ECM reopened my eyes, ears, and heart... fostering an open, welcome, community-oriented atmosphere."
"Emerald City Music is a very different chamber music experience... I loved the music, the thoughtfulness behind each program, being able to meet the amazing musicians, and to share a musical experience with a community of people. Keep doing what you do, ECM!"
FROM THE MUSICIANS
The 22 musicians who visited ECM this Fall have commented on how remarkable their experience has been:
"ECM is... already an important addition to the cultural scene in Seattle." – Philip Setzer, violinist
"...an auspicious beginning to what will clearly be a great new festival." – Colin Carr, cellist
"Both Kristin and Andrew are not only visionary leaders who are passionate about their art, but they also have a wealth of experience which allows them to bring the best chamber music and musicians to your region. Emerald City Music has the potential to become one of the most notable chamber music institutions in the nation." – Gloria Chien, pianist
FROM THE PRESS
Sharing the excitement of the audience and musicians, the press is publishing features like:
"New concert series, new venue, new format, new music, musicians new to Seattle: all came together on Sept. 16 in the first concert mounted by Emerald City Music, and it was a wild success." – CityArts Magazine
"Emerald City Music: ‘Where art and audience collide’ in Seattle: there isn't much separating the musicians and the audience here." – The Seattle Times
"The concerts provide an opportunity for audience members to get up close and personal with the musicians, the pieces and one another." – The Olympian
"The hallmarks of the Emerald City series are high-quality artists not often seen on the West Coast, playing intriguing programs." – The News Tribune
BY THE NUMBERS
You may be curious how funds donated to Emerald City Music advance our mission. Below is a brief overview of our Fall 2016 budget, and how your contribution made an impact!
Airfare & Accommodations: $17,000
Hospitality at Concerts: $750
Piano & Lighting: $2,400
Social Media & Marketing: $1,200
Community Outreach: $4,300
Staff: **Our staff donated 100% of full-time work during the Fall-season.**
September 16, Wanderlust, opening night in South Lake Union
September 17, Free outreach event at Starbucks in Capitol Hill
September 17, Wanderlust, opening night in Olympia
October 2, Free outreach event at Cascade Park in South Lake Union
October 7, Free outreach event at Olympia ArtsWalk
October 7, The Dover Quartet panel discussion at Seattle Pacific University
October 7, The Dover Quartet, concert in South Lake Union
October 8, Free outreach event at Cascade Park in South Lake Union
October 8, The Dover Quartet, concert in Olympia
November 10, Free masterclass at Seattle University
November 11, Darkness Visible, concert in South Lake Union
November 12, Free outreach event at Cascade Park in South Lake Union
November 12, Darkness Visible, concert in Tacoma
November 18, Emerald City Music on KING FM's Musical Chairs
November 20, Free outreach event at Cascade Park in South Lake Union
December 27, Free concert at Skyline, Seattle
December 29, Free concert at Amazon in South Lake Union
December 29, Free concert at Mirabella, Seattle
December 30, Broadcast of The Dover Quartet in KING FM
Undeniably, the biggest challenge we've faced to date is funding. I'm thrilled that the performances and outreach events have sparked a movement of people exploring and finding great joy in chamber music, but this effort cannot continue unless we can put Emerald City Music on more stable financial footing.
Part of the reason for this challenge is that a lot of grant funding is not yet available to Emerald City Music. Most arts-funders (the National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle's ArtsFund, some 4Culture programs, etc.) require at least three years of continuous programs before an organization is eligible to apply for funding. This means that Emerald City Music will be eligible to apply starting in May 2018, and in the meantime relies on individual and corporate generosity.
Emerald City Music's first season is also wildly ambitious, bringing 45 of the top-tier classical musicians from around the world to Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia for a combined 14 performances, and over two dozen outreach and educational events. We are essentially running programs at the scale of the world's most established and innovative institutions, with limited access to the funding that keeps those institutional programs afloat.
That said, we've managed to accomplish a momentous amount this past year, and are looking ahead to the Spring 2017 season of concerts. If we are successful in raising the $97,000 we need in community dollars through our Fall fund-drive, we will be able to sustain Emerald City Music and continue performances in the Spring.
Your renewed support can enable Emerald City Music to continue reaching even more new classical music listeners in our region. You have the opportunity to pass on the great joy and passion you feel from classical music, so that countless others can experience that same feeling. We have made great strides in establishing ECM as one of the most innovative projects of its kind, bringing unique thematic performances to Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia in the inaugural season. But now we need your help!
Help us reach our $97,000 goal by December 31st by making a contribution today! Your donation, big or small, makes a difference. (And I'll be waiting to ring our "donor bell" to celebrate YOU and YOUR commitment to Emerald City Music!)
Thank you for all that you do to make Emerald City Music thrive. Kristin Lee and I – alongside the hundreds of community supporters and musicians – are so grateful for your trust and investment in Emerald City Music's future.