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Duke Foundation Gives Nearly $1 Million to Jazz Collaborations

The new Creative Inflections grant program's first beneficiaries include Wayne Shorter, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Jen Shyu

Esperanza Spalding and Iphigenia cast
Esperanza Spalding (far right) and the cast of …(Iphigenia) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., December 2021 (photo: Jati Lindsay)

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) has announced a new initiative to provide grants to jazz artists for innovative collaborations with performing-arts presenting organizations. The Creative Inflections program will provide grants of up to $200,000 to an inaugural class of seven artists and five organizations who will develop multidisciplinary works that focus on social-justice themes.

Creative Inflections is designed to explore new ways to deliver jazz to its audiences, especially younger and millennial fans. It thus encourages both artists and institutions to take risks and to function as equal partners in creating new work.

The initiative launches with nearly $1 million in combined funding for five new works:

  • “In the Green Room: Layering Legacies of Asian and Black American Women in Jazz,” a project by composer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/dancer Jen Shyu; composer/pianist Sumi Tonooka; and the Asia Society to explore innovative ways of elevating the stories and legacies of Asian and Black women in jazz.
  • … (Iphigenia), an opera composed by saxophonist Wayne Shorter with libretto by bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, debuted by ArtsEmerson.
  • “The Jazz Without Patriarchy Project,” a multidisciplinary art and music installation by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington in collaboration with the Carr Center that explores how gender inequity has affected the jazz genre and envisions a more equitable jazz future by requiring new standards for transformation in the field. 
  • Ogresse: Envisioned, a multimedia, animated interpretation of a song cycle written and composed by celebrated vocalist and 2020 Doris Duke Artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, presented by the Walker Art Center.
  • “The Healing Project,” a multidisciplinary abolitionist project by pianist/composer/director Samora Pinderhughes in partnership with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that explores the realities of resilience, healing, incarceration, policing, violence, and detention in the United States.

Visit the Duke Foundation website for more information.