Anchorage Concert Association (Anchorage, AK)

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Dancers in a expectacular embrace forming a star with their bodies

Detail from the dance and music residencies of Pilobolus and the St. Lawrence String Quartet presented by the Anchorage Concert Association.

The Anchorage Concert Association was founded in 1950 by a group of classical music enthusiasts committed to bringing the finest classical artists to perform for the people of Anchorage. Since then, the Concert Association has presented more than 600 performances of the world's finest music, dance, and theater. It is the largest institution for the arts in the Anchorage community and provides a key anchor in the touring schedules of artists for the Northwest. Audiences come from Greater Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, all over the Kenai Peninsula, and as far away as Barrow. An average of 100,000 people of every age, income, and cultural background attend Concert Association performances during each season.

Since its inception, the Concert Association has included education programs in its regular season schedule. Master classes, lectures, demonstrations, and workshops are held in local elementary schools, high schools, universities, and community centers, and in partnership with other arts organizations.

In FY 2003, the organization received an NEA Creativity grant of $15,000 to support the dance and music residencies of Pilobolus and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Members of the dance group Pilobolus held school performances and lectures, as well as dance master classes, before participating in performances with the string quartet in Anchorage and Fairbanks. The collaboration between the two groups was a rare treat; their only other appearances together were in New York City and Standford, Connecticut.

Instead of the usual one-day workshop, the two groups participated in a four-day community workshop in Anchorage, sharing their expertise on the creative process of jointly choreographing dance and composing music. At the end of the workshop, students performed what they learned for the community. More than 2,200 children and young adults ages 9-22 were reached by the residencies through the workshops and in-school activities.

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)