Les Délices awarded $15,000 grant from the NEA


[CLEVELAND]— Les Délices is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a Grants for Arts Projects award of $15,000. This grant will support the first installment of the ensemble’s three-year Mythology Project (details below). In total, the NEA will award 1,135 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling more than $37 million as part of its second round of fiscal year 2024 grants.

Projects like Les Délices’ exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

Says Les Délices Executive Director Laura Potter, “The National Endowment for the Arts is a crucial funder for innovative projects that link artists with communities to foster creativity, engagement and greater mutual understanding. We are grateful for the NEA’s support for our work to expand the scope of early music, inviting new perspectives from cultural traditions outside of the dominant Western perspective and creating rich dialogue that connects early music with contemporary concerns.”

About the Mythology Project

The Mythology Project is a three-year commissioning project that responds to the historical Cantata genre while making space for composers from historically underrepresented groups to expand and diversify the early music canon. Throughout the creative process, we will explore what power the unique combination of myth and music has for us today. For the initial commission and associated performances we will be working with Greek-Chinese tenor Nicholas Phan, Vietnamese-American composer Viet Cuong, and Cleveland-based poet Dave Lucas to bring to life the Loss of Memory myth, attributed to Lieh Tzu from the book Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies. The themes of this traditional Chinese myth lie at the intersection of science and ethics against a larger background of challenging fate.

Our project will harness the storytelling power and emotional immediacy of the cantata to explore a myth about a man who is plagued by chronic forgetfulness as he ages. His family goes to extraordinary lengths to find a cure, ultimately enlisting a scholar who uses inhumane and mysterious tactics to cure the memory condition, only to find the man enraged to be cured, and fearful that he will never again find peace in “a moment’s oblivion.”

The project will encompass the composition, premiere and recording of a 15 minute newly commissioned work with the title A Moment’s Oblivion, scored for voice with an ensemble of five period Baroque instruments. Additional Baroque repertoire on the program weaves together two different themes in the Memory myth: forgetting and memory loss as a balm, as represented in Montéclair’s La Bergère and Le Dépit généreux, and the idea of personal journey in seeking truth or resolution (Marais’ Labyrinth and Couperin’s famous Mysterious Barricades).

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.