Alarm Will Sound, the contemporary music ensemble known for its stylistic breadth and commitment to innovation, has selected Allison Loggins-Hull and Alyssa Pyper as the first recipients of support from the Matt Marks Impact Fund. The fund offers seed money and collaborative workshops to develop and premiere exciting, ambitious projects with Alarm Will Sound that have potential to make significant cultural and social impact.
Both Ms. Loggins-Hull and Ms. Pyper will draw directly on their personal identity and experiences to create work for Alarm Will Sound. Ms. Loggins-Hull says, “When my son was 4, he had a teacher who brought up Michael Brown’s story during class… It taught me that despite my son’s very young age and innocence, we were going to have to have these conversations with him sooner than we had hoped.” Ms. Loggins-Hull discovered she could communicate more clearly with her son through letters, following in the tradition of other African-Americans who have done the same. These texts will serve as the foundation for Love Always.
Ms. Pyper’s work is inspired by her experiences as a gay Mormon. She felt particularly alienated by the infamous “November 5th Policy” which stated that Mormons married to same-sex partners were to be declared apostate, and that their children be barred from any covenants until the age of 18, at which time they must also renounce their parents’ union. “I watched LGBTQ friends grapple in its aftermath with resurgences of individual and collective traumas; I watched active Mormons offer up declarations of faith: ‘We can’t understand the Lord’s will in these things, but we must stand by our Prophet and his Word.’” Salt Crust, Ms. Pyper’s proposed work, offers her perspective on what it means to be Mormon and gay, and what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal culture. The work weaves together contemporary classical, folk-rock, and the avant-garde.
Alarm Will Sound will begin working with the recipients in the upcoming months and premiere their works in the 2019-20 season.
Ms. Loggins-Hull and Ms. Pyper were selected from forty-nine applicants by a panel consisting of members of the ensemble and composer Mary Kouyoumdjian. Gavin Chuck, Alarm Will Sound’s Executive Director, notes that the applicant pool reflected the Fund’s mission: “We told applicants that we would take a risk with them on work that shakes up the way classical musicians make music and that expands the diversity of people we make music with. Applicants responded with daring proposals, much of it from under-represented artists.” 44% of applicants identified as women, and 20% as belonging to an under-represented community.
Alan Pierson, Alarm Will Sound’s Artistic Director, says, “We’re all so excited to be working with Allison and Alyssa on these projects. Both projects are rich, personal, and challenging, and are going to move audiences. And making their stories and their voices part of our repertoire will move the field of classical music to be more inclusive. This is part of our mission and was very important to Matt Marks, whose values live on through this Fund.”