NEA grant to help fund HIP Music Festival

Dec. 04, 2012 @ 04:32 PM

DURHAM – Mallarmé Chamber Players has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that will help support a new music festival early next year. The $10,000 grant will support the North Carolina HIP Music Festival, to be held Jan. 27-Feb. 3.
Mallarmé was among 153 non-profit groups receiving the NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant, which goes to groups that make the arts available to underserved audiences.

The HIP Music Festival grew out of Mallarmé’s historical Bach concerts, in which musicians play on original instruments, using the techniques musicians of the period when the music was composed would have used. The acronym HIP means “historically informed performance,” and can encompass the physical structure of the instruments, to different tunings and pitches, said Suzanne Rousso, artistic director of Mallarmé.

Rousso, who plays viola, will be playing a Baroque-era viola, which uses a bow shaped differently from a modern bow. The instruments in the ensemble also tune to pitches that are different from modern standard tunings, she said.

The HIP Music Festival has been in the works for some time, and Mallarmé planned to present the festival even without the NEA money, Rousso said. “The NEA grant is really a feather in our cap,” she said. It will allow Mallarmé to support musicians who now will be able to give more classes and workshops in schools throughout Durham and Chapel Hill.

Mallarmé is teaming with the music departments of UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University, along with several local and national music ensembles, to present the festival. In addition to Mallarmé, other participating music groups are Aliénor, a Durham ensemble that promotes new music for harpsichord; Baroque and Beyond, a Chapel Hill group that plays music on historical instruments; Ensemble Vermillian, an ensemble based in Davidson and Berkeley, Calif., and specializes in music written for cello and recorder; and the Vivaldi project of Washington, D.C., which explores the music of violinist Antonio Vivaldi.

The festival will have master classes, workshops, listening sessions and open rehearsals as well as concerts. Many events are free, but some concerts require tickets.

Among the highlights of the festival will be a master class by Michael Maniaci, countertenor, at UNC, and a concert by Mallarmé featuring a performance of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

A HIPster pass to all events is available, as are individual tickets. For tickets and a complete description of festival events, visit, or call 919-560-2788. For information about workshop registration, visit