Second only to the Houston Symphony in the number of composers featured annually the Foundation for Modern Music (FMM) provides a uniquely dedicated and growing performance platform for modern day composers and performing artists. Founded in 1986, with concerts beginning in 2002 at one central location and audiences initially averaging only 300 per year, FMM now presents citywide concerts in venues such as the MFAH, Zilkha Hall, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Rothko Chapel, and others with annual attendance of over 6,000 and growing.
Inspired by the legacy of former Artistic Director and composer/pianist Robert Avalon following his untimely death in 2004, the Foundation is dedicated to building audiences and public support for contemporary music in the classical tradition through concerts, educational outreach, and encouraging and supporting young composers. Culturally diverse programming and performers along with extensive cross-disciplinary collaborations reflect the values our city celebrates. This richness of diversity drives our day-to-day philosophy and operations. In the leadership transition period of 2004-2008, FMM had three Artistic Directors: pianist Rodolfo Morales, soprano Tracy Rhodus, and pianist Adam Tendler; and launched the Robert Avalon Competition for Young Composers in memory of the late Avalon.
Our programming has since evolved to offer dynamic educational outreach including free-of-charge events for the public. This has gained extensive sponsorship/coverage from entities such as UNIVISION TV, KPRC Local 2, KUHA Classical 91.7, Great Day Houston, KTRK Channel 13, KRIV Fox 26, the Houston Chronicle, La Subasta Newspaper, La Voz de Houston, and others. The private sector has further demonstrated investment in our mission through support from United Airlines, Texas Children’s Hospital, Heineken, CITGO, Fiesta, Wood MacKenzie, the Houston Astros, and more.
Though FMM’s performances have expanded beyond Houston to reach as far as New York’s La MaMa Theatre and London’s prestigious Wigmore Hall, FMM also presents programs that draw international attention and talent to Houston, as exemplified by the Robert Avalon International Competition. Entries from multiple continents make this an international event unique to the region, positioning Houston as an important center for new composers on a par with cities such as New York, Chicago, and Paris. FMM also has engaged in numerous partnerships with other vibrant organizations such as 14 Pews, Blaffer Gallery, Greenbriar Consortium, MECA, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Piping Rock Singers, and Rothko Chapel; most recently creating a new chamber music series for Galveston called “Bridging the Bay” in collaboration with Moody Mansion and Greenbriar.
For outstanding community emphasis through the organization, our Executive Director Dr. Paul Boyd was recently presented with a Cultural Ambassador Award (2013) and Proclamation (2015) from the City of Houston, and our former Artistic Director (serving 2009-15) Raúl Orlando Edwards was honored during his leadership with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition and a Jefferson Award, the latter being one of the country’s highest honors for community involvement. We are gratified by these past and current accomplishments, excited by the phenomenal growth our program has experienced, and looking forward to the expansion of FMM’s mission while making Houston a better place where the arts continue to thrive and improve our communities.