Media release

Three local composers receive $30,000 fellowships to make music for a year

The recipients were chosen from a pool of 33 applicants by a panel of out-of-state judges who are professional composers and musicians

Anthony “AM.” Andrade Jr. of Providence, Enongo Ahou Lumumba-Kasongo of Providence and Kristina Warren will receive $30,000 grants from the Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

The awards are considered to be among the largest no-strings-attached grants available to musical artists in the United States.

“Providing the financial support these artists need in order to advance their craft is an investment in them, and in growing a sector that makes Rhode Island such an amazing place to live,” said David N. Cicilline, president and CEO of the Foundation.

A native of Rumford, Andrade is Music Director and one of five co-directors and co-founders of The Haus of Glitter, a dance company and performance lab and preservation society.

The fellowship will enable Andrade and his colleagues at The Haus of Glitter to finish recording, sound engineering and sharing their premiere visual album, which will accompany their dance opera, “The Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins.”

“I’m so grateful to my mother and father, who fought for me to have access to music exposure and training as a child, and I owe it to them to fight for the music thumping in my heart. I believe in The Haus of Glitter with my whole heart and I want my music practice to honor the rhythms, melodies and truths that we share together as a chosen artist family,” said Andrade.

Lumumba-Kasongo is the David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music at Brown University in addition to serving as Faculty Director of the Black Music Lab at Brown, and a member of Brown’s Science, Technology and Society Steering Committee. Her most recent performances include the Root 100 Annual Gala at the historic Apollo Theater in New York, the Gizmodo 20th Anniversary Party at The Cutting Room in New York and the Fusion Festival in Lärz, Germany.

To date, every album she has released has been self-produced. The Fellowship will enable her to expand her collaborative possibilities and enable her to develop new methods for sharing her future work, including building an online platform that will offer her more creative freedom than Spotify and Apple Music.

“I plan to develop my next album through deep collaboration with some of my favorite vocalists and producers in order to expand my sound and my creative approach more generally. Using a range of recorded and written materials from my next studio project, which is tentatively titled ‘returns,’ I ultimately want to develop a platform that enables artists beyond myself to provide greater context for their creative works through the presentation of non-linear, multimedia listening experiences,” said Lumumba-Kasongo.

Warren composes and performs electroacoustic music. Her work, which fits squarely in the growing genre of experimental music, draws inspiration from the perception-centered sound art of the mid and late 20th century. The work of composer-performer Pauline Oliveros, with its fluid gestures and innovative harmonies, is a particular inspiration. Warren aims to draw attention to how we listen to music and sound, so her compositions offer a reflective, immersive experience.

The Fellowship will enable Warren to record a new electroacoustic album combining analog and digital electronics with acoustic instruments such as piano and concertina. In addition, she plans to invest in additional touring gear and studio equipment. Lastly, the funding will enable her to tour more around New England and undertake new collaborations and expand on existing projects with other regional artists.

“The Fellowship will offer more time and space to develop my compositional practice, both solo and collaboratively,” Warren said. “Having lived in Rhode Island since 2017, I feel very proud of the rich, complex sound scene we have in this smallest state, and I would love to get out and represent Rhode Island and have more dialogue with other artists and audiences in the region.”

Andrade, Lumumba-Kasongo and Warren were chosen from a pool of 33 applicants by a panel of out-of-state judges who are professional composers and musicians. They were selected based on the quality of the work samples, artistic development and the creative contribution to their genre, as well as the potential of the Fellowship to advance their careers as emerging-to-mid-career artists.

The selection panel also named three finalists: Luna Abreu-Santana of Providence, Saulo Castillo of Providence and Will Mason of Tiverton. They will receive $1,500 stipends.

Applicants had to be legal residents of Rhode Island. High school students, college and graduate students who are enrolled in a degree-granting program and artists who have advanced levels of career achievement were not eligible.

Established in 2003, the MacColl Johnson Fellowships rotate among composers, writers and visual artists on a three-year cycle. The next round will be awarded to writers. The application will be available on the Foundation’s website after July 1.

Rhode Islanders Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson were both dedicated to the arts all their lives. Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1990, earned a degree in creative writing from Roger Williams College when she was 70. Mr. Johnson invented a new process for mixing metals in jewelry-making and then retired to become a full-time painter. Before he died in 1999, Johnson began discussions with the Foundation that led to the creation of the Fellowships.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through civic leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is improving the lives of all Rhode Islanders.