I awoke to the wonderful news that Francisco Nuñez has been awarded the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” – $500,000 over five years with no strings attached. He’s the founder and artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York. The Foundation isn’t totally clear about how they select their grant recipients, but I like to imagine them simply saying, “there’s someone who will do amazing things with our help.”
My brief history with Nuñez goes all the way back to March, when his concert session with the Young People’s Chorus at the ACDA National Convention was among the most compelling performances I attended. I was then pleased to learn that my students might get to work with him next May in the Michigan All-State Choir. I was even more pleased to find out that I’d be working with him this winter when he is coming in to conduct the 75th Anniversary MSVMA Teacher Choir. (I’m looking forward to being in a musical situation where someone else is making the decisions…the fact that it’s Mr. Nuñez is such a great bonus!)
As I’ve read more about his work today, what has most moved most me is his ability to dream big. Witness his success in persuading “name” composers to write pieces for children’s chorus in this article he wrote in January for NewMusicBox.
It makes me want to dream bigger! What status quo am I accepting? Where should I be pushing harder? What is possible if I really pursue it?
Thank you to the MacArthur Foundation for recognizing his genius. And thank you to Francisco Nuñez for reminding me of what is possible!