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Composer Stella Sung Awarded Three-Year Residency with Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

New works planned for Ballet, Opera & Philharmonic

Chuck Duritsch
Communications and Media Manager 
Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x1138

DAYTON OH (June 19, 2013) -- The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, the nation’s first merged ballet-opera-symphony orchestra, and international award-winning composer  Dr. Stella Sung are recipients of the Music Alive grant. This grant commissions Dr. Sung to produce new works for Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra as the Composer-in-Residence beginning this summer and running for three seasons.

"I am delighted and honored to have this extraordinary opportunity to work with the DPAA in creating new compositions that incorporate the art forms of music, dance and opera,” said Dr. Sung. “Through a collective new vision, this exciting opportunity will foster deep and innovative ways in which the DPAA can impact audiences and their experiences with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dayton Ballet and the Dayton Opera. I look forward to working with each organization over the coming years and hope the Dayton community will offer its support and interest in the new projects and initiatives that we plan to bring to the community."

Music Alive, a partnership of New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras, assists orchestras by increasing new music opportunities for audiences, artists and administrators; by identifying model practices for sustained partnerships between artists and communities; by helping orchestras fully and comprehensively achieve their missions; and by enriching orchestral repertoire with fresh and inventive music of our time. 

“All of us at the DPAA are thrilled to receive this special grant.  We offer unique creative possibilities for a collaborative project of this type,” said Paul Helfrich, President and CEO. “Stella Sung is an artist very much in tune with the audience of today; one who embraces diverse styles and new technologies.  She will be an outstanding partner for us, and together we will create works that will further demonstrate the strength of our groundbreaking and innovative merger. We're very grateful to be among a select group of five organizations in the U.S. chosen to participate." 

Dr. Sung’s residency will begin in the summer of 2013 and unfold over the course of the next three seasons. It will feature signature events integrating the three art forms and provide a national model of arts integration. The new pieces that she will create include a one-act opera, a chamber work for dance, and music for educational performances. She will also become part of an educational program reaching over 50,000 students annually and will create works that integrate dance, vocal and instrumental music. This uniquely long-term partnership offers a new and exciting way to advance these goals.

“It's great news the DPAA and Stella Sung were awarded this prestigious and highly competitive grant,” said DPO Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman. “DPO audiences and musicians alike had a great experience with Stella's Rockwell Reflections during the 2011–2012 season, and the Music Alive grant means we'll be seeing more of Stella and hearing more of her music in the next three years. Stella’s gift for writing music that's fun to play, fun to hear and singable means she's a perfect match for us at the DPAA. I expect great things from this collaboration.” 

“Collaboration and creativity are certainly at the heart of what the DPAA is all about, and the creation of new work is perhaps the ultimate collaborative and creative process,” said Thomas Bankston, Dayton Opera’s Artistic Director. “How exciting it is that we have been given the opportunity to enter into that process with the acclaimed composer Stella Sung through the grant we have been awarded from Music Alive. The creation of new music for ballet, opera and orchestra out of the combined artistic resources of DPAA coupled with the proven compositional expertise of someone like Dr. Sung is certain to create work that is as unique and groundbreaking as our organization.”

“I am so excited to be working with Stella in the upcoming seasons. Her creativity flows from collaboration so I look forward to picking her brain,” said Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke. “I can tell she will be easy to work with and open to brainstorming just from our recent Skype conversation. Along with other projects will be the debut of a new dance piece and score our orchestra will perform.”

With the ongoing support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the ASCAP Foundation, this residency program has evolved into a unique and groundbreaking multiyear collaboration between orchestras and composers. The four other orchestras that received Music Alive grants are Albany Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

About Dr. Stella Sung

Stella Sung uses digital and multi-media applications in her concert and symphonic compositions as well as in music for dance and ballet. As a collaborative artist, her large-scale and award-winning work, The Circle Closes, calls for the use of digital lighting design which is synchronized with the music. Her solo piano compositions, Toccata and Tango Zarabanda, have been selected by Santiago Rodriguez, artistic director for the 2014 Florida International Piano Competition, as required competition pieces for all semi-finalists. She is working on a full-length opera, The Red Silk Thread, which will feature several technological aspects in the production, including the use of advanced projection.

Sung is the recipient of the 2007-2010 Phi Kappa Phi National Artists Award, as well as a 2009-10 "Meet the Composer" award. She is a two-time winner of a Florida Individual Artists Fellowship, sponsored by the Division of Cultural Affairs for the State of Florida, and the 2005 recipient of a Florida Artists Enhancement award. She was a Fellow at the prestigious MacDowell Colony and was the recipient of the Norton Stevens Fellowship. Other awards have been from the National Endowment for the Arts, the German Ministry of Culture, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the Division of Cultural Affairs of the State of Florida. 

She is an active composer for film and has recently completed the score for the full-length documentary film Voices in the Clouds. Her music was featured in the short animation film Atlas' Revenge (based upon Sung's orchestral work of the same title), which was selected as the First Place winner at the 2010 SIGGRAPH conference (Time and Space category). Commissions have included works for world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the German Ministry of Culture (Rhineland-Pfalz) and several orchestras across the U.S. Several documentary films have been made about Sung's work.
She holds the Bachelor of Music degree (piano performance) from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), the Master of Fine Arts degree (Composition) from the University of Florida, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree (piano performance) from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, Dr. Sung is director of the Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology, and Entertainment (CREATE) at the University of Central Florida, and is Professor of Music in UCF's School of Visual Arts and Design (Digital Media), College of Arts and Humanities. Dr. Sung holds a Pegasus Professorship, the highest honor awarded to distinguished faculty members at the University of Central Florida.

About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, it is the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is also the proud recipient of a 12-13 season grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  

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