Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Programs
One of the primary goals of Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota is to provide support to promising young musicians. The Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 concurrent with the granting of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. From 2002 to 2006 multiple scholarships were provided to three outstanding young musicians. Composer/Pianist Roger Zare studied at the University of Southern California and is now at the Peabody Institute of Music. Matthew Harrison received his Bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in the Spring of 2006 and entered a Master’s degree program there in the Fall of 2006. Soprano Monica Pasquini completed her Senior year of undergraduate study at Rollins College in Florida in the Spring of 2007.
In April of 2007 the Artist Series of Sarasota began a new expanded statewide scholarship and performance award program under the guidance of Scholarship Coordinator Joy McIntyre. Monies for the Scholarship and Performance awards are provided by the organization’s Scholarship and Operating Funds, as well as from fund raising activities.
The competition rotates each year between singers, pianists, and string instrument players and upon completion of its tenth competition in 2016, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota had awarded over $270,000 in scholarships.
Over the years the organization has been fortunate enough to be able to bring in renowned music professionals to judge its competitions, which has attracted the interest of students far beyond the borders of Florida. In a move to attract more young musicians as well as industry professionals from across the nation to Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota and to the Sarasota-Manatee region, the 2016 “National Competition for Voice” marked the program’s transition from a statewide competition to a national one, with $24,000 in awards and prizes. The competition was open to young singers in two age-based categories, 18 to 21 and 22 to 28, who live in the United States. The judges for the 2016 competition, which took place on April 16, 2016, included legendary tenor George Shirley, recipient of a National Medal of Arts presented by President Barak Obama in September 2015; Mikael Eliasen, dean of vocal studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; and distinguished soprano Irene Gubrud, a first-prize winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Voice Competition. Drawing further focus to the competition was a concert held on Friday, April 15, by mezzo soprano Lauren Eberwein as part of the International Touring Initiative of the Curtis Institute.
To further celebrate its 20th anniversary, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota also initiated another new competition for young musicians who attend high school in Sarasota and Manatee counties. This competition, presented in partnership with the Sarasota Music Club, is open to 10th through 12th grade students in Sarasota and Manatee counties, with $25,000 in prize monies awarded to help cover the winners’ music education expenses. The inaugural competition was held on April 2, 2016, with nine talented area students being chosen to receive scholarship funds from a field of 42 students representing 19 schools and 11 music disciplines.
THE SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING
With leadership gifts from Artist Series Co-founders, Jerold Ross and Lee Dougherty Ross and Virginia Toulmin the initial funding was begun in 2002. In 2006 Virginia Toulmin made a $100,000 gift to the organization which was increased by an additional $71,000 in donations and pledges. Since that time additional targeted donations, income from invested funds and separate endowed gifts have allowed Artist Series Concerts to continue and to expand the program to its current status as a national competition for young musicians.
Through visionary gifts Artist Series Concerts now makes several annual awards as part of its National Competition Program. Current named gifts include: the Virginia B. Toulmin Award, the Lee & Jerry Ross Award, the Herb and Edie Winston Award, and the R. Lawrence Thienes Award.
Gifts from Katherine Lauder and Catherine Mariani (in honor of her husband Mario) are used to partially fund additional awards.
Funds raised annually by our volunteer arm, Artist Series Concerts Friends, funds both awards and expenses related to our competitions and outreach programs.
MARY THIENES-SCHUNEMANN AWARD
The Mary Thienes Schunemann Award was initiated in 2007. Music is defined as the art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, rhythm, and timbre. Mary’s life (1960-2007) as stated by a friend was, “…a wellspring of song, she gave her music with ceaseless generosity to all who wished for it. We think of her outpouring radiant joy, sunlight, color, beauty, humor, outrageousness; trying to make the world more beautiful…spontaneous…seeking on earth what was a true reflection of the spirit. She had depth of soul, and appreciated inner and outer beauty equally.”
Her husband Sven wrote, “She lived for the connection of one soul to another, finding interest in everyone she met – a lesson she presented to me many,
And so, it is both joyful and appropriate that Mary Thienes-Schunemann’s life be remembered annually with the giving of a gift that will assist a musically talented young person in his or her discovery of what is “…continuous, unified, and evocative” – to explore that which we call music. Initiated in 2007 by Mary’s father, Dr. R. Lawrence Thienes, the scholarship fund continues to receive gifts from those whose life Mary touched. In 2012 Dr. Thienes completed his pledge to permanently endow the award. With each award the Artist Series is pleased to provide a brief history of Mary’s life in music in the hope that it will serve as inspiration for the recipient.
THE DONALD BRITT AWARD
As part of the Artist Series Scholarship Program, each year up to 12 semi-finalists come to Sarasota to participate in a live competition in which six receive awards. Arts advocate and activist, Donald Britt, has provided a fund through 2020 which will give cash awards to the additional six semi-finalists that will help defray their out-of-pocket costs of participating in the competition. In his words, “The purpose of this award is to recognize the valiant effort exhibited in competition for those that do not move to the finals. After watching a full day’s worth of music, I saw happiness to dejection. I was inspired to create this award upon the discovery that no funds exist to acknowledge the Semi-Finalists best efforts. To be invited to this competition is in itself an accomplishment. Now, no aspiring musician shall leave empty handed, knowing there is an award for their attempt. “
THE HERB AND EDITH WINSTON AWARD
As Artist Series Concerts Scholarship Program evolves, new additions are always welcomed. Edith Winston funded her first award in 2011 and continued to add new amounts. In 2014 an additional $50,000 gift facilitated the creation of a endowed named fund.