CO-LEAD ARTIST: Michael Begay
NATIVE HERITAGE: Tribal Member of the Diné Nation
LOCATION: Baltimore, MD
CO-LEAD ARTIST: Raven Chacon
NATIVE HERITAGE: Diné
LOCATION: Albuquerque, NM
Michael Begay is an accomplished guitarist and bassist, who plays piano and various instruments both Native American and orchestral. Begay is both a performer and educator; he has been a composition instructor in residency for the Grand Canyon Music Festival’s Native American Composers Apprentice Project (NACAP) for over eight years, and just finished his second residency with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra’s Composition Academy. Both programs help educate Native American high school students, in the art of music composition, followed by a world premiere of created works. Begay’s musical style ranges between both aggressive and sounds pleasing to the ear.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and installation artist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a solo artist, collaborator, or with Postcommodity, Chacon has exhibited or performed at Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, REDCAT, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Borealis Festival, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Ende Tymes Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and The Kennedy Center. He is the recipient of the United States Artists fellowship in Music, The Creative Capital award in Visual Arts, The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship, the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for Music Composition, and in 2022 will serve as the Pew Fellow-in-Residence.
I’m not seeking to resolve issues or find solutions to problems, but rather to raise more questions. I’m not interested in moralizing or stating my solutions or even my thoughts. The best thing I can do is bring up questions that I have around it.
― Raven Chacon (Diné)
Chacon and Begay’s SHIFT project, “Native American Composer Apprentice Project”, will mentor, support, promote, and amplify young creative voices on the Navajo and Hopi Nations. The project provides its apprentice composers a complete composer experience, from inspiration to realization, with practical instruction in music theory, notation, instrumentation, and music software, including how to use Native symbolism and music/aesthetic concepts in their own original works, providing them tools to express their unique voices. Organizational partner Grand Canyon Music Festival will co-manage the project.
Grand Canyon Music Festival (GCMF) is an award-winning festival of concerts and education programs presenting outstanding artists, premieres, and commissions by American composers. Its programming combines genres and mediums in ways that enhance the experience for its participants and illuminate through cultural and historical perspectives. GCMF has been developing and producing education programs for its communities since 1984. As part of that work, Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project fosters the practice of composition as it relates to contemporary music and Native culture through a hands-on training program in which students traverse the complete composer experience.