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Peter Ferry and Xuan

Savvy Musician in ACTION announces award winners

Peter Ferry and Xuan capture top award at Chamber Showcase

The Savvy Musician in ACTION workshop wrapped up its intensive week with the Arts Venture Challenge and announcement of the Chamber Showcase winners. Sixty participants from around the country pitched arts-based business ideas, voted on favorites, then formed teams and designed a venture from the ground up to compete for awards on the final day.

Attendees completed assignments that examined innovation strategies, business models, competitive research, finance, marketing, and social media, allowing them to develop transferrable skills directly applicable to their own careers and environments. Multiple art forms – music, dance, theatre, and visual art – were used throughout to teach lessons in success.

The teams had three days to develop their product or business and pitch it to three judges – Ken May, executive director of the SC Arts Commission, Juliana Iarossi, professor at the Darla Moore School of Business, and Philippe Herndon, founder of Caroline Guitar Company.

Workshop director and associate professor of entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina, David Cutler said, “Artists are invaluable to communities, and communities to artists. The Savvy Musician in ACTION workshop celebrates the vast resources of Columbia, S.C., demonstrating the power of partnerships and collaboration behind a shared vision.”

With that vision in mind, the workshop also serves to showcase the city’s wealth of resources and entrepreneurial spirit.

Chamber Ensemble Competition

Innovative event design and artistic excellence were the criteria for the Chamber Ensemble Competition. The four chamber competition finalists played during the SAVVY showcase at Tapp’s Arts Center during the city’s First Thursday event. The competition winners were announced at the workshop’s close.

Peter Ferry and Xuan took first place with Cre.Art Project winning second place and audience favorite. Among the prizes are professional management, a USC School of Music residency, and a performance on a Chamber Music America showcase concert in New York City.

Michael Harley, artistic director of Southern Exposure New Music Series and coordinator of the chamber competition said, “The duo of Peter Ferry and Xuan, who began working together as students at the Eastman School of Music, represents a new performance paradigm for musician-artist collaboration: one that stretches the definition of "chamber music – what they do might better be called chamber arts.”

Ferry is a percussionist who is also well versed in video and other multi-media platforms. Xuan is a video artist who, because of her training as a classical pianist, brings an unusual amount of musical insight to her video designs. Together, they create programs that unite music and video with extraordinary skill, humor and sophistication. Ferry is typically the main performer and Xuan the video designer. However, for a short portion of their prize-winning performance, which included site-specific video created in Columbia, they turned the tables: Xuan played piano, accompanied by a video designed by Ferry.

Arts Venture Challenge Winners

Top Arts Venture – Janet’s Band: a music hospice program
Runner Up and Audience Choice – impromptu: an app to sell discounted unsold event tickets
Best Exhibit – Music for Transformation: a music program for prisons
These arts-based businesses were also developed:
Musique Unique: live arts experiences for brick and mortar retail stores
ARTSploration: mentoring program where high school musicians are paired with professional musicians
Wigglebug Box: subscription box of developmental toys for ages 0-3 
Fire It Up!: stage production workshop for musicians
Sound Crawl: classical music bar crawl event
Musical Passages: a music program for refugee families in Utica, NY


Learn more about The Savvy Musician in ACTION.
Learn more about the Chamber Ensemble Competition.