Colburn School’s Center for Innovation and Community Impact Awards Social Innovation Grants to Support BIPOC Community

(Friday, April 29, 2021, Los Angeles) – The Colburn School’s Center for Innovation and Community Impact has announced the recipients of the 2021 Social Innovation Grants that directly support members of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. Grant recipients will each be awarded up to $2,500 and will have 12 months to complete community engagement projects that benefit the BIPOC community or commission new works involving BIPOC composers or choreographers. The Social Innovation Grants are a part of Colburn School’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, which are generously funded by foundations and individuals from around the country.

“Colburn School’s mission is founded on the belief that the pursuit of an exceptional performing arts education is accessible to all,” said Nathaniel Zeisler, Dean for Community Initiatives. “The Center for Innovation and Community Impact upholds that commitment with several community-forward initiatives designed to support artistic development by considering our larger culture and society. We are very proud to offer the Social Innovation Grants and support our young grant recipients and their inclusive artistic pursuits.”

Grant recipients and projects:

Eder Rivera (Conservatory of Music, Oboe)
The Honduras Oboe Foundation (H.O.F.). The foundation was created to give low-income communities the opportunity to study the oboe through scholarships that provide students with access to music education and study abroad experiences. H.O.F.’s mission is to promote musical and instrumental education through the social inclusion of teaching an unconventional instrument. In the next year, Eder will work with the oboe communities in the United States and Honduras to create a culture of excellence in oboe instruction, as well as international exchange through music. Eder will use the funding to purchase oboes, supplies, and pay for the instruction of several students in Honduras.

Gregory Lewis (Conservatory of Music, Violin)
The Heartbeat Music Project (HMP). HMP was founded in 2016, and is a student-led organization based on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. HMP’s mission is to provide tuition-free music education to Navajo Youth through an annual Summer Academy and Winter Workshop. The organization strives to remove all socioeconomic barriers preventing students from receiving a music education, by taking actions including providing daily ground transportation, instruments, and two meals. Also central to their mission is an emphasis on Navajo cultural studies and the incorporation of traditional Navajo music into their curriculum. Greg is a founding member of the Heartbeat Music Project and will utilize the funds to purchase a combination of instruments and high-speed internet hubs so students can participate in remote instruction.
Read more on the Colburn School website

Max Opferkuch (Conservatory of Music, Clarinet)
Recording Album for Clarinet and Strings by Black Composers. Funding will enable Max to record an album of works by Black composers for clarinet and strings during the 2021-22 academic year, centered around Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Clarinet Quintet in F-sharp minor. Other works are in development, but possibilities include Strum or Starburst by Jessie Montgomery and Adoration by Florence Price. The ensemble will record in collaboration with Colburn School’s AV team in one of the Colburn halls at a future date.

Melissa Muñoz (Conservatory of Music, Trumpet)
Brass Out Loud. Brass Out Loud is an organization dedicated to uplifting and inspiring brass players everywhere. The organization is especially interested in supporting brass players who have felt underrepresented in the music world. After seeing many brass workshops with a majority white cis male faculty, Brass Out Loud committed to hiring Black, Indigenous, People of Color, female, trans, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ musicians. Funding for this project will support Brass Out Loud’s annual Virtual Workshop, set for January 7-9, 2022.
Read more on the Colburn School website

A performing arts institution located in the heart of Los Angeles, the Colburn School trains students from beginners to those about to embark on professional careers. The academic units of the School provide a complete spectrum of music and dance education united by a single philosophy: that all who desire to study music or dance should have access to top-level instruction.

  • The Community School of Performing Arts welcomes students of all ages, from seven months old to adults. It offers over 120 classes each year in orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, voice, jazz, music theory, drama, and ensembles including orchestra, choir, and chamber music.
  • The diploma- and degree-granting Conservatory of Music is distinguished by a unique all-scholarship model, renowned faculty, and outstanding performance opportunities. It prepares the very highest level of collegiate musicians for professional careers.
  • The Trudl Zipper Dance Institute develops performers of all levels, from aspiring professionals in the Dance Academy to beginners starting in Youth Dance. Students of all levels receive training in ballet, tap, musical theater, and modern genres as part of a comprehensive dance education.
  • The Music Academy is a highly selective training program for gifted young pre-collegiate musicians, designed to prepare students for conservatory study and performing careers at the highest levels of achievement. This residential program balances performance, musical instruction, and academics.
  • Created to serve all units of the School, the Center for Innovation and Community Impact empowers the musical and dance leaders of tomorrow by nurturing students’ passion and ability to serve their communities, preparing them for sustainable careers, and embracing the development of new ideas. The Center embodies Colburn’s commitment to developing young artists with the curiosity, skills, and commitment to make a difference in their field.

Each year, more than 2,000 students from around the world come to Colburn to benefit from the renowned faculty, exceptional facilities, and focus on excellence that unites the community. Learn more at
Instagram and Twitter: @ColburnSchool

PR Contacts:
Jennifer Kallend

Lisa Bellamore