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Ariel AVANT: Q&A with Artist Curators

Ariel’s own roster artists/collaborators support the innovative work of their colleagues across the industry by joining Ariel AVANT’s 2020 “Impact Performance” judging panel as artist curators – Violinist Francesca Anderegg (Northfield, MN), Composer Reinaldo Moya (Northfield, MN), Pianist Erika Ribeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and the Tesla Quartet (New York, NY). These artists explore social impact in their own work, from the cultural exploration projects of Francesca, Reinaldo, and Erika — the literary “Letras Sonoras” and the photographic travelogue of “Images of Brazil” — to the Tesla Quartet’s new “Recomposing Climate Change” project. We asked each artist curator three questions about their work and the larger state of the arts. Read on to learn more!

Ariel AVANT: What’s an emerging opportunity that can be developed in the classical music performance world / how can classical music expand its impact in the present moment?

Francesca Anderegg: Obviously, there has been this huge pivot towards online streaming. I think the effort that classical musicians are making to demystify the genre can work well in a streaming medium – breaking down the boundaries between audience and performers, and creating more personal connections. To expand the impact of classical music, musicians will have to help process our collective emotions of grief and loss as we navigate this time of social distancing, as our routines and lives change in unimaginable ways.

Reinaldo Moya: For me, the main goal should always be about increasing access to the music for as many people as possible. We shouldn’t overlook any opportunity that places you in front of an audience where people can be inspired to become musicians, or become involved in music. This can mean outreach, educational presentations, or some other kind of interactive performance. I also watch a lot of youtube, and have been thinking about the potential for engaging with audiences through that platform, classical music’s presence on there is fairly small, and not particularly diverse. 

Erika Ribeiro: We live on a delicate moment where a deep reflection on how to develop and pursue new paths by humanity is absolutely necessary. That classical music allows us on this deepening is widely commented, however, in fact, the present time requires a bold approach that brings people closer to our so valuable repertoire and content.

In that sense, opportunities that have a visual content (including visual arts, literature, theater, etc) with a kind of communication related to the music may be welcome. The challenge is how to combine such arts with the performance of classical music enabling new formats that are interesting to the audience and that can actually improve their own nature.

Tesla Quartet: Right now we are faced with a unique situation that the classical music world hasn’t experienced in roughly 70 years. Musicians who are facing an immediate future with no performances have an opportunity to reimagine the concert experience for an audience that is spread throughout a community rather than gathered in a concert hall. Social media and other online platforms are fertile soil for this type of experimentation.

Ariel AVANT: What could leaders of the classical music sector prioritize, to empower artists to achieve their visions?

Francesca Anderegg: Leaders of the classical music sector can help by ensuring that a variety of voices are heard at all levels of arts institutions.

Reinaldo Moya: I work with students who didn’t grow up listening to, or playing classical music, so I’ve learned some lessons about how people from outside the world of classical music look at what we do: most young people don’t think about musical genres. They have incredibly omnivorous musical tastes. They are pretty open-minded and curious. I think that we in the classical music world need to understand that most people will never only listen to classical music, and that’s ok. If we understand the way in which our work intersects meaningfully with other genres and styles of music and can make that connection clear, I think we can engage and keep a whole new audience. This in turn would allow these audiences to trust the musicians to follow them as the artists pursue their own distinct paths.

Erika Ribeiro: The role of leaders is of great importance so that new artistic initiatives are carried out in an orderly manner. Therefore, this requires them to be up to date and mainly open to new ideas. It is also important that they think about music in a more inclusive way than before, both in repertoire and in the search for new audiences – and therefore opening up new ways of communicating with it.

Tesla Quartet: What the audience connects and responds to the most is the passion the artists convey for the music they perform. That passion is contagious and will stick with the listener much longer than the actual music they hear. If leaders in the classical music sector prioritize artist-curated programming, they are more likely to empower artists to feed their creativity and communicate their passion.

About the Artist Curators

Francesca Anderegg, Violin, Northfield, MN
Hailed by The New York Times for her “virtuosic panache,” violinist Francesca Anderegg delivers insightful accounts of contemporary and classical music. Known for inventive programming, composer collaborations, and precise interpretations, Anderegg is a musical explorer of the first order.

Reinaldo Moya, Composer, Northfield, MN
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system, later graduating from The Juilliard School with both masters and doctorate degrees. Mr. Moya is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer, the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House, and the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award. His music has been performed in Germany, Colombia, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, and throughout the United States.

Erika Ribeiro, Piano, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Renowned for her remarkable musicality, transparency, and the spontaneity of her interpretations, Brazilian pianist Erika Ribeiro is a truly 21st-century artist always on the search for new performance approaches, and combining diverse styles in her playing and programming.

Tesla Quartet, New York, NY
Praised by Gramophone Magazine for its “tautness of focus and refinement of detail,” the Tesla Quartet brings polish and prowess to both new and established repertoire through high profile performances, teaching engagements, and dynamic community outreach.

Impact Performance Competition Guidelines

Ariel AVANT’s Impact Performance prize goes to the most compelling interdisciplinary and/or multimedia performance designed to generate productive conversation and offer positive means of action addressing a social justice issue, particularly one related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) prioritized to be achieved by 2030. Applying artists should also propose one or more new works (of at least 10 minutes total) which will be commissioned for the performance itself and integral to its implementation. 

In an effort to mitigate existing bias, the competition will be judged by three tiers of judging panels made up of varying ratios of concert presenters, industry thought leaders, and Ariel roster artists, all from diverse backgrounds. The best ideas win, with four levels of recognition: Grand Prize Winner, Second and Third Place winners, and a Heart winner, an honorable mention for a proposal “with heart.” The grand prize includes a $20,000 touring fund to support five performances with paired engagement events, a $10,000 development and commissioning fund, and a two-week incubation residency for beta testing at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Second and third prizes are honorariums of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.
The AVANT competitions are open to classical music soloists and chamber ensembles of every background, regardless of age, ensemble instrumentation, race, gender identification, sexual orientation, or any other factor. 
The only eligibility requirements to apply are the following:

  • An active performance history of at least two years
  • Established membership of at least two years (in the case of chamber ensembles)
  • The total number of touring artists/collaborators (including accompanying technicians) must range from 3-6 people
  • Applicants must be able to tour in the United States during the Grand Prize touring period (approximately September through December 2021)
  • Commissioned works must be completed and delivered to artists/collaborators well in advance of the Grand Prize touring period
  • Applications Due: June 1, 2020
  • Semi-Finalists Announced: July 2020
  • Finalists Announced: August 2020
  • Grand Prize Winner Announced: September 2020
  • Approximate Touring Period: September – December 2021

For Full Competition Guidelines, Visit:

Competition Timeline:

Applications Due: June 1, 2020
Semi-Finalists Announced: July 2020
Finalists Announced: August 2020
Grand Prize Winner Announced: September 2020
Approximate Touring Period: September – December 2021