We are thrilled to announce that our Entrepreneurs of the Month for February 2023 are the winners of the 10th Annual Jacobs School of Music Innovation Competition. The OECD has been bustling with activities the past few weeks in preparation for our big event which took place last Saturday, February 4. With a record number of applicants, the proposals made for a diverse and exciting competition. Read on to learn more about this year’s winning projects.
First Place Winner: $6,000
Sadie O’Conor, Unsung Opera
“We’re all really devoted to this project and are fortunate to have a really talented large group of people. Now I’m excited to go and tell them so we can get to work!” – Sadie O’Conor
Unsung Opera is an interdisciplinary collaboration of performers and scholars to stage and record historical operas written by women. These works were influential in their own time but were unjustly kept out of traditional repertoire and thus they have never been recorded. The project will culminate in April with performances of the selected operas in Bloomington. Because the operas involve important feminist issues, we will work with local women’s’ organizations so these historical works can truly serve our community. The final performances will be recorded and published online for free to benefit existing scholarship and music lovers everywhere. Our new company is devoted to breaking down biases and limits of opera, enabling us to cultivate an industry where previously stifled voices can be heard.
Second Place: $1,000
Christian Courage Barda, TUTTI: The Disability and Arts Advocacy Project
“I’m honored that the Jacobs and Kelley schools are coming together to help me fight ableism in the arts.” – Christian Courage Barda
TUTTI is a social justice project that advocates for disabled people in the fine arts, with an emphasis on physical disability in the performing arts. In its first stage, TUTTI will survey and interview a diverse group of disabled performing artists to collect information that will be included in a 20-minute presentation. This presentation, given by Barda, will also include a short opera scene demonstrating accessibility in opera, as well as reflections on the current and future states of physical disability within the performing arts. This presentation will be recorded and featured on a new website that host a blog with posts by a variety of disabled performing artists, as well as a concise handbook for directors and arts administrators for how to discuss accessibility with their artists. In TUTTI’s second stage, Barda will speak at diversity and inclusion arts administration conferences as an authority on navigating accessibility for artists, as well as at TEDx and similar events. In stages beyond, TUTTI will explore other types of disability (developmental, mental, etc. and other areas of the arts such as education and composition.
Asher Bennett: IU Double-Reed Day
The annual IU Double Reed Day seeks to become the premier double reed event in Indiana, providing a day of world-class reed making and performance classes and one-on-one learning to oboe and bassoon students and hobbyists. IU Double Reed Day invites IU double reed faculty, guest artists, and oboe and bassoon students to teach, mentor, and inspire other double reed players, creating and developing a regional community of interconnected double reed artists.
Giovani Malcolm: Speak Up, Speak Out: Giving Voice to Activism through Art Song
Speak Up, Speak Out is a two-fold project curated for yearly performances and an ongoing database of contemporary and classical music art songs on Black activism and injustices. This project stemmed from the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the work to shed light on mass incidents of racism in American history. The yearly recital program incorporates classical, gospel, dance, and poetry to reflect on historical and contemporary injustices Black individuals face daily. In addition to the performance project, a database serves as a hub for students to access and perform these pieces as a part of their programs. This project gives Black students access to the music they can materialize and easily relate to.
Gus Richter: Ultrasonics for the Rest of Us
The project is the creation of a device that enables the recording and real-time monitoring of an ultrasonic signal. The user will be able to connect a microphone to the device and listen to a modified version of the audio signal. The primary modification to the signal is the frequency-shifting of ultrasonic components to an audible range of human hearing. The user will also be able to mix the ultrasonic material with the non-ultrasonic material and apply layers of musical processing, such as polarity inversion and dynamic compression.
Isaac Smith: Controller Concerto
This game/concerto hybrid is designed to be a two-dimensional platformer game with a unique twist: all its musical content will be generated by the player as they interact with the game. The goal of the game will be to traverse the obstacles as quickly as possible in such a way that doing so skillfully produces a cohesive piece of music. The aim is to match the thrill of performing an instrumental concerto within an equally engaging gaming experience.
Isaac Terceros: Santa Cruz Musical Arts Center
Santa Cruz is the largest and richest city of Bolivia and is the world’s 14th fastest growing city. In spite of this, the city does not have a space to host high-quality music productions and promote cultural innovation. The Santa Cruz Musical Arts Center is proposed to solve this problem. The Santa Cruz Musical Arts Center will be the nation’s largest performing arts center, as well as an architectural and cultural emblem of the city. The Center will include an archive of ethnomusicological, folk and native traditions, as well as a library of Bolivian contemporary composers. It will create an extraordinary platform not only for a unique dialogue between expression within the country, but also between Bolivian musical arts and the world.
Congratulations to all the participants who spent many hours preparing their attractive proposals and pitches, including Adriana Torres (Art Song Through Our Voices), Corey Chang (East-West Collaboration), Haesu Choi (Mutual Audition), Gavin Craun (The Opsymatic Project), Alex Alani and Arpan Ojha (Project Oboe) and Elijah Gardner (Starlight Classic).
Our deepest thanks go to the judges, Professor Donald F. Kuratko (Kelley School of Business,) Senior Executive Assistant Dean Travis Brown (Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering,) Assistant Dean Melissa Dickson (Jacobs School of Music,) and Assistant Director for the Arts Holly Warren (City of Bloomington).
The competition was funded with more support this year than ever before thanks to a very generous donor, Frank Graves, as well as the IU Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and IU Ventures.