Tuesday, February 15th, 2022
American Composers Forum (ACF) is excited to announce “Liberation! Lifting up our Youth:” a multi-part residency led by artist and St. Paul native PaviElle French and six St. Paul-based arts organizations. Developed from a desire to empower the young people of the community, French will pursue activities over the next nine months that include workshops, commissions, and performances. The focus of the residency will be on “lifting up our youth” to connect, express themselves, and share their thoughts through music. The six participating organizations include: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Walker | West Academy, Schubert Club, Purple Playground, TruArtSpeaks, and American Composers Forum.
“Using artistry and themes of liberation, I see this residency as an opportunity for me to touch base with my community, join some of my artistic collaborators, and empower our Black, POCI, and marginalized youth,” says PaviElle French. “For me, the vision for this project is for us to design the change we want to see through our artistic mediums, help young people discover and access their own power, and share with our global community what liberation means to us.”
The residency includes French’s premiere of her new piece, Sands of Time, with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Additional performers include French’s longtime collaborators Ted Godbout, Ahanti Young, and Kevin Washington. The premiere was originally scheduled for January 20-21, 2022 but due to pandemic-related cancellations has been rescheduled for the SPCO’s season conclusion June 9-12, 2022. Partner organizations (students and families) are being offered free tickets to attend in person, or online, and will be invited to meet with French and her band. More information on the concert and Covid-19 guidelines can be found here. Livestream of the June 11 concert will also be available for free access here.
In May, French and her band will work with students from the Walker | West Academy on a debut collaborative work for Schubert Club on May 22, 2022 at the Fitzgerald Theater as part of the Schubert Club Mix series. Tickets for students and families of partner organizations will be made available at no cost. More information on the concert, including how to purchase tickets, is available here.
Over the summer, Purple Playground and TruArtSpeaks will each host PaviElle French in workshops with their students, who will perform their creations at ACF’s annual Artist Equity Summit in September 2022 (more details to come). Throughout the residency, students and representatives from each partner organization will be encouraged to connect, participate, and attend events together. Adding to the musical dialogue, French will invite her young collaborators to feel free to express what they’ve been experiencing and what they are thinking about today. All programs are free for participants.
A culminating piece will be composed by French, which will be published with a toolbox for teachers by ACF and promoted to other youth programs (adding to ACF’s existing catalog for youth programs).
Vanessa Rose, ACF President & CEO, shares, “Moving through the turmoil of the pandemic and the continued reckoning after George Floyd’s murder, this new collaboration is possible because of PaviElle’s unique vision, versatility as an artist, and strong relationships with all residency organizations. We are delighted to help make it possible.”
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Generous support has been provided by Bill and Susan Sands and the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.
ABOUT PAVIELLE FRENCH
PaviElle is an Emmy Award winning, interdisciplinary artist, hailing from Rondo – a historically Black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow (21-22), as well as a McKnight Artist Fellow (2020), and has received a Sage (Cowles) Award for Dance and Choreography. She is a Global Artists Initiative – Artist In Residence at MacPhail Center For The Arts. And, an American Composers Forum Grant recipient for her classical composition, A Requiem for Zula, (2018) written in celebration of her Mother’s life. PaviElle’s symphony was just featured at the New World Symphony in April 2021, under the direction of Conductor, Edwin Outwater, and Artistic Director, Michael Tilson Thomas. Most recently, she was commissioned by the Sands Family, to create a symphony in honor of their 50th Anniversary. Sands Of Timewill be debuted by The SPCO in 2022.
She has been seen performing locally and nationally, and has graced such stages as First Ave, Ordway Center, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to name a few. She is known for her powerhouse vocals and performing with an equally powerful 6-piece band. PaviElle was voted as Minneapolis City Pages “Best R&B Vocalist of 2015”, her band was named one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of (2015) and was a featured artist on TPT’s “Lowertown Line”, (2015). Growing up in a family steeped in music, she says that she wants to make music that honors and represents the Black Arts aesthetic. PaviElle honed her craft as a youth at: Penumbra Theatre, SteppingStone Theatre and with the collective, EduPoetic Enterbrainment.
ABOUT AMERICAN COMPOSERS FORUM (ACF)
ACF supports and advocates for individuals and groups creating music today by demonstrating the vitality and relevance of their art. We connect artists with collaborators, organizations, audiences, and resources. Through storytelling, publications, recordings, hosted gatherings, and industry leadership, we activate equitable opportunities for artists. We provide direct funding and mentorship to a broad and diverse field of music creators, highlighting those who have been historically excluded from participation.
Founded in 1973 by composers Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus as the Minnesota Composers Forum, the organization continues to invest in its Minnesota home while connecting artists and advocates across the United States, including its territories and the sovereign Native nations. ACF frames our work with a focus on racial equity and includes within that scope, but does not limit it to: diverse gender identities, musical approaches and perspectives, religions, ages, (dis)abilities, cultures, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and broad definitions of being “American.” Visit composersforum.org for more information.
ABOUT THE SAINT PAUL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Renowned for its artistic excellence, remarkable versatility of musical styles and adventurous programming, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. Now in its 63rd season, the SPCO is primarily an unconducted ensemble that performs a broad range of repertoire from Baroque to new music and presents more than 100 concerts and educational programs in the Twin Cities each year. The orchestra’s free online Concert Library receives more than 350,000 visits annually and offers live and on-demand concert videos that can be viewed anytime, anywhere, completely free of charge. Additionally, the SPCO has released 68 recordings, commissioned 162 new works and tours nationally and internationally. Nationally recognized for its commitment to accessibility, the SPCO performs in several venues across the Twin Cities and offers the most affordable ticket prices of any professional orchestra in the United States, including free tickets for children and students. The SPCO’s CONNECT education program reaches over 3,000 students and teachers annually in 10 Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools. thespco.org.
ABOUT WALKER I WEST ACADEMY
Walker|West Music Academy offers music education, concerts, and community events rooted in the African-American experience. Cultivating a space for people of all ages to gather, explore, and grow through music. Founded in 1988, by Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West, for more than 30 years our non-profit community music school has provided affordable, quality music instruction across genres. Our teaching and performing artists offer expertise in jazz, gospel, and other improvisational styles with a culturally salient method of teaching building on traditions with deep roots to help students grow.
Recently named a Regional Cultural Treasure (with funding from the Ford, Jerome and McKnight Foundations), we’re carrying on the legacy of being one of the oldest community schools in the nation founded by Black musicians. From our incredible string department, African drumming, summer music camps, public school residencies, Amazing Grace Chorus, and early childhood partnerships, we foster a space for lifelong learning! Everyone from infants to elders will find something for them at Walker|West. Learn more: https://walkerwest.org/
ABOUT SCHUBERT CLUB
Since 1893, Schubert Club has invited the world’s great recital soloists and ensembles to the Twin Cities and has promoted the superb musical talents of our community through performances, education, and museum programs. One of the first arts organizations in the country, Schubert Club remains today one of the nation’s most vibrant, relevant, and respected music organizations.
Not only a concert presenter, Schubert Club has engaged in music education programs since 1911. Schubert Club currently reaches two thousand youth annually through varied activities such as KidsJam music workshops, Project CHEER free music lessons in neighborhood locations, master classes and scholarship awards. The recently renovated Schubert Club Music Museum, located in historic Landmark Center, holds two exciting new interactive galleries, as well as composer letters from the Gilman Ordway Manuscript Collection. Schubert Club maintains a commitment to affordable ticket prices for all concert presentations, as well as cost-free education programs and museum entrance. For more information visit schubert.org.
ABOUT PURPLE PLAYGROUND
At Academy of Prince teens learn Prince history and write and record their own original songs, with help from teachers, guest speakers and musicians who worked with him. The 5th annual two week summer program begins June13-17, at Urban Ventures in Central Minneapolis. June 20-24th it moves across the river to High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul, where students will continue creating songs with the additional help of PaviElle, and record in HSRA’s professional studio. Academy of Prince also incorporates performance and dance. Students may attend for one week or two (two highly recommended). Tuition is free with a requested fundraising goal of $199 per student. Interested teens REGISTER NOW as space is limited.
Founded in 2006, TruArtSpeaks is an arts and culture organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. We provide development opportunities for artists and arts leaders through direct mentorship, workshops, residencies, public events, conferences, statewide initiatives, and more. Our primary audience consists of artists and educators— with an emphasis on youth and young adults. We believe that art and culture – especially Hip Hop – inspire connection, growth, and social transformation. Visit www.truartspeaks.com for more information.