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Chamber Music America Grants $180,000 to Female-Led Jazz Ensembles

Camille Thurman, Simone Baron, Endea Owens, and Mara Rosenbloom are among the artists benefiting from CMA's new Performance Plus program

Camille Thurman
Camille Thurman (photo: Guinara Khamatova)

Chamber Music America (CMA) recently announced the distribution of $180,100 through its new Performance Plus program. Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the program supports U.S.-based female-led jazz ensembles by connecting them with an experienced jazz artist-educator for six evaluative listening sessions with the goal of enhancing the ensemble’s performance. The listening sessions will culminate in a recording session, resulting in a high-quality demo for use by the grantee ensemble.

The list of 11 inaugural grantees follows:

Amanda & Associates (Brooklyn, NY)
Leader: Amanda Ekery | Artist-Educator: Sylvie Courvoisier

Arco Belo (Potomac, MD)
Leader: Simone Baron | Artist-Educator: Linda May Han Oh

Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses (New Orleans, LA)
Leader: Aurora Nealand | Artist-Educator: Tim Berne

The Bounce (East Lansing, MI)
Leader: Gina Benalcazar | Artist-Educator: Rodney Whitaker


Camille Thurman Quartet (Newburgh, NY)
Leader: Camille Thurman | Artist-Educator: Charles Tolliver

Endea Owens & The Cookout (New York, NY)
Leader: Endea Owens | Artist-Educator: Curtis Lundy

Johnaye Kendrick Ensemble (Tacoma, WA)
Leader: Johnaye Kendrick | Artist-Educator: Jim Knapp

Kavita Shah Quintet (New York, NY)
Leader: Kavita Shah | Artist-Educator: Miguel Zenón

The Mara Rosenbloom Trio (New York, NY)
Leader: Mara Rosenbloom | Artist-Educator: Amina Claudine Myers


Nadje Noordhuis Ensemble (Brooklyn, NY)
Leader: Nadje Noordhuis | Artist-Educator: Maria Schneider

Santa Bikini (Easton, PA)
Leader: Laura Watts | Artist-Educator: Frank Lacy

An additional 14 grants totaling $68,800 were awarded by CMA through another new program called Ensemble Forward, which supports young New York City-based ensembles that perform Western European classical and contemporary chamber music.