About a year ago, Alarm Will Sound started conceiving a special fund to increase our impact on today’s culture. Two aspects of our work call for the special attention of a dedicated fund: building on our success as artistic risk-takers through performances that are even more forward-thinking; and diversifying the pool of composers and artists with whom we collaborate. We approached foundations with this idea, and almost immediately, they contributed $65,000. Soon after, individual donors joined with additional pledges of $15,000. We hope that you and others can help us raise an additional $20,000 to reach $100,000, an amount that will sustain this work on an ongoing basis.
Our original name for the fund was the Artistic Risk and Impact Fund, but we are now renaming it in memory of Matt Marks, one of our founding members, who passed away suddenly on May 11. Matt was passionate about expanding the boundaries of classical music through stylistic diversity and the inclusion of artists who have been historically excluded from our field. He was integral to the formation of Alarm Will Sound’s identity, and his work as a performer, composer, and community organizer extended his impact.
The Matt Marks Impact Fund will be a living memorial that embodies his values and continues to push Alarm Will Sound — and the entire field of classical music — to be more innovative, diverse, and inclusive.
Projects with the greatest potential impact often also involve significant uncertainty. Groundbreaking and experimental work frequently requires collaborating in novel ways with unconventional artists, and sometimes, it needs exploratory time and investment before its true impact can be demonstrated. Experimentation, novelty, unconventionality, and uncertainty can make it difficult to find funders and stakeholders for a project.
Within the established system for funding new commissions, support often goes to the most established artists, leaving out a vast pool of artists who are not well-established. Through the Matt Marks Impact Fund, our goal is to help break this cycle: workshops with under-represented composers will help them establish a track record through the creation and performance of new work. Expanding the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of the artists with whom Alarm Will Sound makes music will enrich our culture and make a difference in our society.
Over the past weeks, many friends and colleagues have reached out to share stories with us about Matt and the impact he had on their lives. We hope that we can continue to spread his passion for new music through the Matt Marks Impact fund and expand the number of artists who have opportunities to create and explore.