New England Conservatory Alumni Win Grow Your Art Grants During Maria Schneider Residency

Mike Lawson • News • March 10, 2021

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New England Conservatory’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship team announced the winners of this year’s Grow Your Art grants. Totaling $13,500, the grants have been awarded to NEC alumni Emily Eng, Darynn Dean, Rafael Natan, and Linda Numagami. They will support a microgrant program for Black, Latinx, and Native American music students; a series of concerts and film screenings around women in jazz; an accessible School of Arts and Social Justice; and a clarinet festival.

Grow Your Art grants are available to current students and alumni within 10 years of graduation. Finalists pitch their proposals live to a panel of selectors, who ask questions and offer advice and encouragement. Prizes are awarded to individuals and ensembles in order to develop the business side of their musicianship. Projects are judged on factors including value and intended benefit to others, viability of project budget, and future sustainability of project.

This year’s panel was comprised of this year’s Grow Your Art residency guest composer and bandleader Maria Schneider, President Andrea Kalyn, and Dean of Community Engagement and Professional Studies Tanya Maggi.

The residency culminates in a digital concert featuring NEC students coached by Maria Schneider and performing her music, which was aired on March 10.

The Pitch Competition was streamed live via video, and can be viewed here


Emily Eng | Lift Music Fund First Prize, $7500

Making achievement in music more accessible and equitable by awarding monthly microgrants to Black, Latinx, and Native American students. Eng graduated in 2018 and studied conducting with Charles Peltz.

Darynn Dean | The Resolution Tour Second Prize, $3000

A virtual series of 7 live concert and film screenings that explore the stories of women in jazz, gender, and justice. The LA-based Dean graduated in 2019 and pursued voice and jazz studies with Dominique Eade and Frank Carlberg.

Rafael Natan | School of Arts and Social Justice at Makeshift Boston Third Prize (tie) $1500

The School of Arts and Social Justice brings together artists and social movements, creating innovative and accessible education for all. Natan graduated in 2015 with a degree in oboe performance, and continued to study contemporary improvisation at NEC with Hankus Netsky, graduating in 2017.

Linda Numagami & Benjamin Adler | Clarinet Maestro Festival Third Prize (tie) $1500

Featuring the teaching philosophies of Yehuda Gilad and making them accessible to all clarinetists. Numagami graduated in 2015 and studied Viola Performance with Roger Tapping.


NEC also applauds these finalists for their excellent work and vision.

Hunter McKay | Abacus Video Album

To produce and market a professional video album from our tour with a catalog of backstage and live promo content to grow our audience. McKay is a current D.M.A. student slated to graduate in 2023, studying saxophone and jazz composition with Frank Carlberg and Donny McCaslin.

Ye Huang | City is our sound, online is our stage

Connecting Boston businesses and space owners with local musicians. Showcasing music in space around the city and presenting in online video form. Huang graduated in 2020 with a degree in saxophone and jazz performance, and studied with Jason Moran.

Thomas Cooper | Black Virtuosity

Fermata uncovers the extensive world of black virtuosity in classical music with composers Joseph Bologne and Florence Price. Cooper is a current student pursuing an M.M. and scheduled to graduate in 2021, studying violin with Soovin Kim.

Gabriela Martina | States

An album of new compositions written by Gabriela Martina, States of mind and the States we thought we knew. Martina is a current student on track to receive an M.M. in 2021, studying jazz with Frank Carlberg.

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