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Mondavi Center Mellon Grant Expands Classical Music Initiatives

The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis has been awarded a three-year, $580,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to engage more students and other audiences in classical music. This is the single largest foundation grant awarded to the Mondavi Center in the 10-year history of the organization since the Center for the Arts Campaign, which funded the construction of the venue. The grant will support initiatives designed to deepen the experience of classical music for artists, audience members and UC Davis students.

“We have a longstanding belief in the power and beauty of classical music to enrich lives,” said Don Roth, executive director of the Mondavi Center. “This generous grant will give us the opportunity to deepen our work to engage audience members with classical music by supporting nontraditional and less formal concert formats; building artist residencies that bring community members and artists in closer contact; providing online audience engagement activities; and pursuing strategies to connect UC Davis students to the power of classical music.”

The grant will fund initiatives in four areas of focus:

  • Programming: presenting new and challenging classical works in non-traditional spaces, such as the Mondavi Center’s Studio Classics series presented in a “night club” cabaret setting.
  • Artist residencies: bringing established classical artists and orchestras onto campus and into the community.
  • Audience engagement: providing accessible enrichment tools that give context, connection and feedback opportunities.
  • Student engagement: launching the Aggie Arts Classical Music Initiative, a student-driven program to build UC Davis student attendance at classical music events.

“The funds will allow us to pursue aspirations and initiatives that otherwise would not be possible to implement in the current economic environment,” said Roth. “We are grateful that the Mellon Foundation has been willing to invest in such ideas and that they retain a belief in the importance and power of classical music.”

The grant to the Mondavi Center will count as part of The Campaign for UC Davis, a university-wide initiative to inspire 100,000 donors to contribute $1 billion in support of the university’s mission and vision.

In addition to the Mondavi Center award, the Mellon Foundation’s total support to UC Davis, for a variety of initiatives over time, exceeds $5 million.

The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis, is one of Northern California’s premier arts destinations. The Mondavi Center presents nearly 200 performances each year by both professional and student artists in music, dance, theater, film and the spoken word. The Mondavi Center’s main performance space, 1,801-seat Jackson Hall, features next-generation theatrical equipment and superb acoustics that make it a favorite for the world’s greatest musicians, speakers and dance and theater companies. The center’s 200-seat Vanderhoef Studio Theatre provides high-tech space for rehearsals, film screenings and intimate musical experiences.

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