The Paul Dresher Ensemble (Musical Traditions) was formed in 1984 to perform works created by artistic director Paul Dresher. The company has commissioned work by the world’s leading new music composers including John Adams and Terry Riley and in the last several years has collaborated on projects with the Bay Area’s leading arts organizations including Hewlett grantees such as the San Francisco Ballet, Margie Jenkins Dance Ensemble and the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Led by Dresher, a former Guggenheim Fellow, the company performs in different incarnations: as a music theater troupe, as the 7 piece Electro-Acoustic Band and sometimes as a soloist. In addition to sharing its Oakland studio space and audio equipment with numerous local artists the company supports the development of new work by commissioning work by young composers and presenting workshops to school groups in conjunction with productions that tour locally and nationally. Despite reductions in touring income and institutional funding due to the economy, the company’s substantial cash reserve, lean staff and prudent executive leadership positions it well to develop new work in the Bay Area, and play a leading role in developing new instruments, new sounds and new experiments in musical forms. With renewed support The Dresher Ensemble will adapt to the current economic climate by increasing individual donor giving and board development and reconfiguring the ensemble to facilitate smaller-scale touring.
About the Grantee
55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA, 94102-3916, United States
Grants to this Grantee
for general operating support
The Paul Dresher Ensemble is a contemporary music organization dedicated to today’s most innovative and irreverent composers. Engaging more than 3,000 audience members each year through productions and tours of opera works and experimental music theater, the group performs contemporary compositions with a combination of traditional acoustic and contemporary electronic instruments. During the grant period, the organization plans to continue performing locally and nationally, to formalize its technical and production support services for local artists into an artist residency program, and to increase individual donations through increased board involvement in fundraising.
for the 2021 50 Arts Commissions for folk and traditional arts
In recognition of the Hewlett Foundation’s 50th anniversary, the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions initiative supports the creation and premiere of 50 exceptional works of performing arts. This grant will support Musical Traditions in commissioning, developing, and presenting “The Rebirth of Aspara: Artistic Lineage, Cultural Resilience, and the resurrection of Cambodian Arts from the Ashes of Genocide.” The lead artist is classical Cambodian dancer, choreographer, and singer Charya Burt. The work will combine re-imagined traditional dance, as well as music and poetry, to explore how Khmer arts have embodied the essence of Cambodian culture from ancient mythology to its post-genocide revitalization.