NEW BRITAIN – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal visited New Britain Monday to announce a National Endowment for the Arts grant, which will provide funding for a performance at the New Britain Museum of American Art
The Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra was awarded a grant for $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will fund five concerts, two of which will take place in the spring, one in the fall and two concerts set to take place in the spring of 2023. Later this year, the orchestra will perform at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Blumenthal visited the museum Monday to announce the grant and recognize both the orchestra and museum..
“It is a recognition of the many contributions that this orchestra has made to our cultural lives in Connecticut, to educational performances and to the simple enjoyment by people during the pandemic,” Blumenthal said. “Our cultural institutions have really become all the more important. They help to bring us together.”
The professional chamber orchestra, which was established in 1997, is based in the Greater New Britain area and presents both traditional and contemporary works to the public. Founder and artistic director Adrian Sylveen said when he first arrived in the United States he had $500 dollars in pocket and a dream. Now 25 years later, the organization consists of 27 professional musicians of many different nationalities.
“I had this idea that perhaps we would create a concert series that would speak to the unity of ‘we the people’ coming from different places,” Sylveen said. “Everyone of us has some sort of immigrant story and with that story comes culture, and with that culture comes music and so forth.”
After submitting it’s ideas for the concert series, the orchestra was awarded the grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Each concert will focus on immigrant stories and will present a different heritage. Sylveen said composers will spotlight, Eastern Europe, Italy, Palestine, and African American culture. The grant funding coincides with the 25th anniversary of the ensemble. Blumenthal praised the concert series and the museum for sharing art and a diversity of cultures.
“This museum in New Britain exemplifies the importance of culture in this time of health crisis because it ends our isolation, it helps it at least and brings us together,” Blumenthal said.