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New Works 2024 commission winners announced

2/19/2024 12AM

Winners of the 2024 New Works commissions at the Center for the Performing Arts are, from left, Jared Thompson, Iris Rosa Santiago and Hippocrates Cheng. (CPA photo by Joshua Hasty)

Three top proposals will premiere onstage June 1 at the Tarkington


CARMEL, Ind. – Three Indiana artists have been selected to receive cash awards and professionally produced performance opportunities through the Center for the Performing Arts’ New Works commission project, now in its third season.


The 2024 New Works Premiere Performances will take place Saturday, June 1, at the Tarkington and will be livestreamed on the Center’s website and social media accounts. Free tickets are available now at and (317) 843-3800.


The New Works project is designed to promote and sustain the area’s working artists and artistic communities in an inclusive way by supporting the creation of new works across all performing arts disciplines. The proposed works are limited to 20 minutes each and must reflect the Center’s organizational core values of integrity, excellence, innovation, collaboration and inclusion. Each winning proposal receives a $2,500 cash award, technical support in adapting the piece for the stage, onstage rehearsal time prior to the performances, and access to the archived event video for promotional use.


The winning proposals selected by the judging panel are:


All of Us: An Anti-Asian-Hate Opera – Hippocrates Cheng

Cheng is a composer, music theorist and ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong. He completed his music composition doctorate and is pursuing a music theory doctorate at Indiana University in Bloomington. All of Us is an opera inspired by true stories from people of Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage, shedding light on issues of Asian hate and emphasizing unity and empathy in our diverse society. The music, incorporating Asian traditional and Western classical elements, will be performed by an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists. The presentation will include staging, lighting, and multimedia components.


Pathways/Caminos – Iris Rosa Santiago

Santiago is a Puerto Rican-born choreographer, professor emerita at Indiana University, and founder of Iris Rosa Dance Studio and Seda Negra/Black Silk Dance Company in Indianapolis. Pathways/Caminos is a work for 10-15 Seda Negra dancers, inspired by spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora in Caribbean and Latin American countries. The presentation will feature spoken word by Santiago and recorded music from the Indianapolis Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble directed by Andre Rosa-Artis, as well as costuming and visual projections designed by Filipino-American artist Kelvin Burzon.


Classical Scratch – Jared Thompson

Thompson is a saxophonist, composer, arranger and leader of the Indianapolis-based modern jazz quintet Premium Blend, which has been featured in two national award-winning documentaries and has released five studio albums. Classical Scratch is a three-part composition for tenor saxophone, piano (twin brother Joshua Thompson) and DJ (DJ Boogie Bang) that integrates classical, jazz and hip-hop music to celebrate the contributions of Black artists over the past 300-plus years. The presentation will include lighting effects and projected images of influential artists.


The three pieces will be performed publicly for the first time at the 8 p.m. June 1 event, and the artists will join in a talkback discussion to close the evening. Tickets are free to reserve at the Center’s Fifth Third Bank Box Office at the Palladium, online at and by phone at (317) 843-3800. The livestream and recorded video of the performance will be available free on the Center’s website and social media channels.


For this year’s round of New Works commissions, a visual arts category has been added. The winning entry will be announced in March, unveiled at the June 1 performance, and displayed on the Center’s campus for one year.


New Works is supported by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation.


About the Center for the Performing Arts

The mission of the nonprofit Center for the Performing Arts is to engage and inspire the Indiana community through enriching arts experiences. Its campus in Carmel, Indiana, includes the 1,500-seat Palladium concert hall, the 500-seat Tarkington proscenium theater and the black-box Studio Theater. The Center presents and hosts hundreds of events each year, including the Center Presents performance series, featuring the best in classical, jazz, pop, rock, country, comedy and other genres. Educational and experiential programming for all ages includes children’s concerts and camps, book clubs, lectures, and classes in music and dance. The Center is home to the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation and provides space and support services for six resident arts companies. More information is available at