NKU String Project awarded grant from Ecological Stewardship Institute

For immediate release…
Wednesday – Aug. 28, 2013


HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University String Project has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the NKU Ecological Stewardship Institute (ESI) for an environmental composition project that will engage local youth classes in studying how composers depict the environment in their music and teach them to write their own melodies and harmonies that express their personal imagery of the world around them.

Nature and the environment are not new themes to music or composers. In fact, nature has been an important theme in many works of music. Vivaldi wrote a set of concertos about the different seasons, Smetana wrote music depicting his beloved Moldau River, and Respighi expressed the vastness of the great pines in his homeland. With the magnificence and awe of our natural planet, it is not surprising that many composers gained inspiration from their surroundings.

With teaching, composing and arranging leadership from Paul West, one of the NKU String Project’s master teachers, the students will create their own pieces of music for performances that will be presented beside nature-based compositions from masters like Antonio Vivaldi. This is not simply a fun project, it is a project that will utilize intellect and emotion as well as individual expression and group collaboration, all while cultivating holistically educated young string musicians.

The ESI was conceived last year by a trans-disciplinary faculty team as a means for leveraging the university’s substantial expertise in the area of ecological stewardship. Since its inception, ESI has provided support for undergraduate research and initiatives from across disciplines that impact the environment via research or creative activity such as music and art.
Dr. Jan Hillard, associate provost for research, graduate studies and regional stewardship, has coordinated ESI and helped establish funding for the program. This year’s projects will focus on water quality monitoring and the Ohio River.

The NKU String Project provides a symbiosis of extremely affordable community string education, offering beginning and intermediate string instruction to youth and adults, while providing an opportunity and laboratory for NKU music majors to acquire hands-on teaching experience. The program is changing the outlook of string education in northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati while exponentially increasing the experience and expertise of the university’s undergraduate music education majors.

In addition to this exciting project, the NKU String Project is also the invited demonstration/performing group at the National String Project Consortium’s pre-conference at the American String Teachers Association National Conference, which will gather the most prominent string performers and educators in the nation in Louisville next March.

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