Omomuki Arts Grants are currently available to musicians, composers, and music-related non-profit organizations for project-specific funding; and to choreographers for the commissioning of original music and its live performance. Priority is give to new, original works.


2021 Recipients

SmallsLIVE Foundation
The SmallsLIVE Foundation for Jazz Art & Education is a non-profit arts organization based in New York City. During the Covid-19 pandemic, SmallsLIVE has been sponsoring live-streamed concerts from New York’s infamous Smalls Jazz Club. The Omomuki grant funds the SmallsLIVE Keep the Cats Working Fund to sponsor ten performances in 2021 in order to keep musicians working during this period.


Jazz at Lincoln Center
The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education, and advocacy. The Omomuki grant funds in part two original compositions commissioned by JALC: an untitled work by bassist Endea Owens inspired by the life and work of Ida B. Wells, particularly her crusade against the lynching and wrongful imprisonment of black Americans; and “Red Summer” by trumpeter Josh Evans about the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Hoop Spur, Arkansas. Both pieces will be premiered in spring of 2021 at JALC as part of their Freedom, Justice, and Hope program.


The Juilliard School
The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, dance, and drama. The Omomuki grant supports a scholarship for an undergraduate student in Juilliard’s jazz program.


2020 Recipients

SmallsLIVE Foundation
The SmallsLIVE Foundation for Jazz Art & Education is a non-profit arts organization based in New York City. During the Covid-19 pandemic, SmallsLIVE has been sponsoring live-streamed concerts from New York’s infamous Smalls Jazz Club. The Omomuki grant funds the SmallsLIVE Keep the Cats Working Fund to keep musicians working during this period.


Davis Whitfield
Davis Whitfield is a pianist and composer who performs regularly at New York’s jazz clubs and has toured the United States, France, and Spain. In 2008, while still in high school, he was appointed Assistant Director for the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra. He graduated from Berklee College of Music on a Presidential Scholarship. The Omomuki grant funds the production of his debut album of original works of music, influenced by Coltrane, Monk, Ravel, and Tyner.


The Juilliard School
The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, dance, and drama. The Omomuki grant supports a scholarship for an undergraduate student in Juilliard’s jazz program.


Liz Story
Liz Story is an American pianist and composer. She has published twelve albums of solo piano work for Windham Hill, RCA and DMI, and has received four Grammy nominations. Story was classically trained and studied classical piano at Hunter College and Juilliard in New York City, and jazz piano with Sanford Gold and Dick Grove. Her music style defies traditional description, and her works cross many musical genres. The Omomuki grant funds the create of a sheet music archive for her 1983 debut album, Solid Colors.


2019 Recipients

The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem / The Hudson Review
In September, in a program sponsored by The Hudson Review, we took the senior class of The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem (80 students) to see Porgy and Bess at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera, after a classroom lesson and discussion on the opera’s history. Following the opera, soprano Golda Schultz (who played Clara in the production) spoke to the students about her personal history.


Jill McCarron
Jill McCarron is a New York City-based jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. She was a semifinalist in the 1993 Thelonious Monk Competition, and won first place in the 1995 Great American Jazz Piano Competition. She has performed at venues including Dizzy’s Jazz Club at Lincoln Center, the Carlyle Hotel, Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, The Blue Note, Knickerbocker Bar and Grill, the Iridium, and the Harvard Club of New York.


Princess Lockerooo
Pricess Lockerooo is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Her performances and dance workshops throughout the world promote the joyous dance form “waacking,” which originated in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles during the 1970s disco era. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Apollo Theater, and has appeared on numerous television shows. Her work has brought her to over 27 countries throughout Asia & Europe. The Omomuki grant funds in part her Waack To the Future: Africa dance competition in Brookly in July of 2019, a portion of the proceeds from which were donated to Dancers Responding to AIDS.


Toshiko Akiyoshi and Yasushi Nakamura
Toshiko Akiyoshi is a New York City-based jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. She is the recipient of fourteen Grammy Award nominations, and in 2007 was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. Yasushi Nakamura is a New York City-based jazz bassist who graduated from the Juilliard School in 2006. He records and performs all over the world at venues including BlueNote, Birdland, Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Omomuki grant funded a performance at the Japan Society 2019 Gala in New York City.


The Juilliard School
Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, dance, and drama. The Omomuki grant supports in part the Juilliard Jazz Composer’s Ensemble and the Juilliard Dance Division.


Living the Classical Life

Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant contributed to the filming of interviews with Russian concert pianist Ilya Itin, American cellist Joshua Roman, American actress and singer Melissa Errico, and Slovak Violinist Filip Pogady.


Gabriel Lubell
Gabriel Lubell is a composer and scholar whose music has been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe by numerous soloists and ensembles, including the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Intercontinental Ensemble, Tesla Quartet, and Barkada Quartet. Lubell earned a Doctorate in Music Composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has held teaching positions at Knox College, Indiana University, and Macalester College, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Kenyon College. The Omomuki grant commissioned Song of the Little Owls, an original composition for shakuhachi (Japanese flute) and bassoon, which premiered at Kenyon College in February 2019.


2018 Recipients

Steve Sandberg
Steve Sandberg is a three-time Emmy-nominated composer whose songwriting for the Dora the Explorer series helped make the show a landmark in children’s television. He won a BMI composers award before attending Yale University, where he majored in musical theory and composition. His studies there with African art historian Robert Farris Thompson kindled his interest Afro-Caribbean music. He has played with, arranged and composed for some of the great salsa artists of the 1970s and 1980s, including Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, and Daniel Ponce (featuring Tito Puente); appeared in Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo opening for the legendary João Gilberto; toured with David Byrne; and has conducted and arranged for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The Omomuki grant funds an October 2018 public concert in New York City of his original classical world music, in collaboration with jazz violinist Zach Brock.


Zach Brock
Described by Lincoln Center Presents as “One of the most virtuosic and emotive voices of contemporary jazz violin” and by Phil Markowitz as “smashing all the previous conceptions of jazz violin,” Zach Brock received a Grammy Award in 2017 for his work on Snarky Puppy’s album Culcha Vulcha, and was named the “Rising Star Violinist” of 2013 by Downbeat Magazine. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at the Tudo é Jazz Festival in Brazil. He has been a featured soloist for two Sundance Festival feature film scores, and is currently an Artist In Residence at Temple University in Philadelphia.


Gabriel Lubell
Gabriel Lubell is a composer and scholar whose music has been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe by numerous soloists and ensembles, including the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Intercontinental Ensemble, Tesla Quartet, and Barkada Quartet. Lubell earned a Doctorate in Music Composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has held teaching positions at Knox College, Indiana University, and Macalester College, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Kenyon College. The Omomuki grant funds the professional studio recording of his original composition The Curious Journey of the Ryō-un Maru, inspired by events surrounding the 2011 Japan tsunami.


Junko Ichikawa
Pianist Junko Ichikawa has given recitals as a soloist and chamber musician and performed with orchestras throughout the U.S., Europe, and her native Japan, including as a soloist with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and solo recitals at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City’s Symphony Space, and by special invitational aboard CUNARD’s Queen Mary 2. She is a graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, New York University, and Mannes College of Music; earned her Doctor of Musical Arts at Rutgers University; and has studied for the past fifteen years with the legendary pianist and pedagogue Seymour Bernstein. The Omomuki grant funds a public solo performance in August 2018 at the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.


Princess Lockerooo
Pricess Lockerooo is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Her performances and dance workshops throughout the world promote the joyous dance form “waacking,” which originated in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles during the 1970s disco era. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Apollo Theater, and has appeared on numerous television shows. Her work as a teacher, performer, and judge has brought her to over 27 countries throughout Asia & Europe, most recently performing at Supernova in Taichung, Taiwan, and at Old School Night in Osaka, Japan. The Omomuki grant funds in part her Waack To the Future dance competition at the New York City LGBT Center, a portion of the proceeds from which were donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.


Harold O’Neal
Harold O’Neal is a Tanzanian-American pianist and composer “whose style has been pegged by critics as straddling the line between jazz and classical music.” His work has been featured in the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, and on Public Radio International. The Omomuki grant funded in part the production and release of his second album of piano solos, Piano Cinema.


Joe Powers & Yosuke Onuma
Yosuke Onuma is one of Japan’s foremost jazz guitarists. His unique style is characterized by the exclusive use of finger-picking. Joe Powers is a harmonica virtuoso known throughout the world as a premier Tango artist, yet his musical interests also include Jazz-Fusion, Classical, Blues, Pop-Rock, Brazilian, Hip-Hop, and Latin.


The Juilliard School
Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, dance, and drama.


Xu Cheng
Mr. Cheng attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and made his orchestral debut with the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra in Perugia, Italy. He is currently a fourth-year student at The Juilliard School in New York City, and has been accepted into their Accelerated Bachelor of Music / Master of Music degree program. He is a participant in Juilliard’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship and Omomuki’s GMHC music program. The Omomuki grant funded a March 2018 public salon concert of the works of Ravel, Brahms, and Chopin.


Living the Classical Life
Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant contributed to the filming of interviews with French concert pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and American soprano Nadine Sierra.


2017 Recipients

Chien-Hao Chang
Chien-Hao Chang is one of Taiwan’s most promising young dance artists. A former member of the Bulareyaung Dance Company, Mr. Chang creates original work for CHANG Dance Theater, which he founded with his two younger brothers in 2011. In their debut performance that same year, CHANG Dance Theater presented choreography by Tsung-Lung Chen, and Mr. Chang received a Taishin Arts Award for his performance. In 2014, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Mr. Chang participated in the International Choreographers Residency Program at the American Dance Festival, where he developed a new work titled “Hui.” Mr. Chang’s first solo work, Hui has since been presented at a number of international dance festivals in Asia and Europe. The Akatonbo fellowship subsidizes a grant from the Asian Cultural Council and will enable Mr. Change to come to New York for six months starting in December 2016 to see performances, take dance and movement classes and workshops, and observe the wide range of movement traditions that are performed and taught in this international milieu.


Shawn Head & Eric Charnofsky

Shawn Head is shakuhachi flutist and composer whose goal is to popularize the shakuhachi in both traditional Japanese and modern Western forms. He is the youngest non-Japanese shakuhachi flutist to receive a Shihan (Master’s Certification). He earned his undergraduate degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has studied with shakuhachi masters including Michael Chikuzen Gould and Kaoru Kakizakai. His compositions, which combine Japanese traditional music with a distinct western compositional style, have been commissioned by organizations including Performers and Artist for Nuclear Disarmament to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima nuclear bombings.
Eric Charnofsky is a pianist and composer who holds degrees from California State University and The Juilliard School. He currently teaches keyboard ensemble at Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Charnofsky served on the faculty in the pre-college division of the Juilliard School, and was an Associate Faculty member for eight summers at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

The Omomuki grant will commission Mr. Charnofsky to compose, and Mr. Head to record and perform, an original work for shakuhachi flute.


Dr. Ray Iwazumi & Toshiki Usui

Dr. Ray Iwazumi is a Japanese-American violinist, composer, writer, and teacher. He completed his B.M., M.M., and D.M.A., degrees, and was awarded the Richard French Prize, at The Juilliard School; and completed two Masters degrees in violin and chamber music at the Brussels Royal Conservatory. His research on Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six Sonates pour violon seul, Op. 27 is highly regarded, and his performances of the same critically acclaimed. He is currently on the faculty at The Juilliard School.

Toshiki Usui is a Japanese pianist who studied at Tokyo University for Fine Arts and Salzburg Mozarteum. He made his international debut after winning the Cantu International Competition in Italy. He tours extensively throughout Europe, the U.S., Central America, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as for charity concerts under the aegis of the U.N.

The Omomuki grant funded a public salon concert with Mssrs. Iwazumi and Usui in New York City in November of 2017.


Seymour Bernstein

Seymour Bernstein is an American pianist, composer, teacher, and army veteran. He has performed in Asia, Europe, and throughout the Americas, and is the recipient of numerous awards including First Prize and Prix Jacques Durand at Fontainebleau, two Martha Baird Rockefeller grants, and four State Department grants. He is the author of four books, including With Your Own Two Hands, and the subject of the 2015 documentary film Seymour: An Introduction. Mr. Bernstein is one of the most sought-after clinicians in this country, and maintains a private studio in New York City. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Music and Music Education at New York University. The Omomuki grant funded a public recital and reception of one of Mr. Bernstein’s students, the British pianist Clair Hiles.


Harold O’Neal

Harold O’Neal is a Tanzanian-American pianist and composer “whose style has been pegged by critics as straddling the line between jazz and classical music.” His 2011 album Marvelous Fantasy is a collection of original solo piano compositions influenced by the works of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy and an homage to music of silent films. His work has been featured in the New York Times, on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, and on PRI. The Omomuki grant funded a private concert in advance of the release of his most recent album of original piano compositions, Piano Cinema.


Living the Classical Life

Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant contributed to the filming of interviews and performances with pianist Seymour Bernstein, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, composer John Corigliano, and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.


Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing is a three-time Emmy Award-nominated composer, pianist, and recording artist. She has released five albums of original piano composition, and has performed for audiences in the U.S., Spain, Argentina, and Germany. Her most recent release is Wisdom of My Shadow, which contains the track “Torii Gates,” in tribute to the people Hachinohe whose sacred Shinto shrine gates were lost in the 2011 tsunami, recovered two years later on the Oregon coast, and returned to Japan and re-erected in their original place in Okuki Bay in 2016. The Omomuki grant funded a performance of “Torii Gates” at the Portland, Oregon Japanese Garden for a visiting delegation of public officials and schoolchildren from Hachinohe.


2015 – 2016 Recipients

Liz Story

Liz Story is an American pianist and composer. In the 1980s, Story emerged as a prominent figure in new age music while frequently touring the United States, and as a recording artist at Windham Hill Records and RCA Novus Records. She is one of the foremost pioneers of contemporary solo piano. Her music style defies traditional description, and her works cross many musical genres. She has published twelve albums of solo piano work for Windham Hill, RCA and DMI, and has received three Grammy nominations. The Omomuki grant funded a free performance by Ms. Story for clients of GMHC, a leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy in New York City.


Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated composer, pianist, and recording artist. She has released five albums of original piano composition, and has performed for audiences in the U.S., Spain, Argentina, and Germany. Her most recent release is Wisdom of My Shadow, which contains the track “Torii Gates,” in tribute to the people Hachinohe whose sacred Shinto shrine gates were lost in the 2011 tsunami, recovered two years later on the Oregon coast, and returned to Japan and re-erected in their original place in Okuki Bay in 2016. The Omomuki grant funded in part the publication of her CD, and its distribution to those involved with the return of the Torii to Japan and to those in Okuki Bay affected by the 2011 tsunami.


Living the Classical Life

Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant funded the filming of interviews with pianists Jeremy Denk and Caroline Oltmanns, and opera singer Deborah Voigt.


PoLin

Po-Lin Tung
Mr. Tung is a London-based dancer. He spent four years in the Dance Department of Taipei National University of the Arts. Since then he has performed in Taiwan, the US, and Mexico with Fang Yi Sheu and Artists, the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Tania Perez Salas Dance Company, Ballet Inc., and Zest Collective Contemporary Performing Arts. He joined Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in September of 2015. Omomuki provided travel funds that assisted Mr. Tung in training with Tania Perez Salas Dance Company and performing with them at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and at the Los Angeles Music Center in June 2015; and a travel grant to The Netherlands and England to study and audition for European dance companies, leading to his current position with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.