Chorus Austin is proud to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $10,000 by the Austin Community Foundation. The funds will be used to underwrite the commission of a major new choral work, The Contemplations of Hafiz, by noted Austin composer Donald Grantham. The work will receive its world premiere as part of the Chorus Austin’s “Past, Present and Future” concerts May 28 and 29 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

“For more than 50 years, Chorus Austin has provided the best in choral music – both masterworks and new pieces – to the Austin and Central Texas community,” said Angela Fleming, chair of the Chorus Austin Board of Directors. “This grant from the Austin Community Foundation will give us additional resources to add a major new, multi-movement work to the body of choral repertoire,” she said. “We thank the Austin Community Foundation and the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund for approving this generous grant,” Fleming said.

“We also thank the Sarah and Ernest Butler Family Fund at the Austin Community Foundation for a grant of $1,000, which we will use to support our musical offering to the community,” Fleming said. “We look forward to working together to create meaningful support for classical choral music in Austin and Central Texas.”

Chorus Austin continues its 50th anniversary celebration this season with the commission of the work by Donald Grantham. Founded as the Austin Civic Chorus in 1965 as part of Austin’s City Parks and Recreation Department, “for all Austin-area residents who like to sing,” the group soon incorporated as an independent nonprofit musical organization. In 1999, the acclaimed Handel-Haydn Society joined with Austin Civic Chorus under the umbrella of Chorus Austin. The group has continued to grow in size and stature over the past five decades into one of the staples of Austin’s classical music scene.

Today, more than 200 of the area’s top singers, all auditioned, provide a rich variety of choral performances ranging from the old masters to contemporary classics, under the baton of nationally recognized Artistic Director and Conductor Ryan Heller. Each year, Chorus Austin hosts a full season of seven or more concerts, including large-scale productions by its 180-voice Symphonic Chorus and more intimate concerts by its 32-voice Chamber Ensemble. This year also marks the first full season for Chorus Austin’s Youth Chorus composed of 25 students in fifth through eighth grades.

The Austin Community Foundation fosters an ecosystem of philanthropy to create meaningful change in Austin, providing efficient and effective giving tools for donors, impactful grants for nonprofits and collaborative leadership around the most pressing needs in our community. Through the generosity and vision of its donors, past and present, the Austin Community Foundation granted more than $20 million in 2014, mostly through donor advised funds. Founded in 1977, it is the third largest charitable foundation in Central Texas by grants distributed.