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The SAVVY Musician in Action announces award winners

Returning chamber group, invoke, captures top award at the SAVVY Chamber Competition

The five-day SAVVY Musician in Action workshop, now in its fourth year, culminated in the Arts Venture Challenge, a competition and awards event on June 7. Nine teams, participants from around the globe, presented innovative business ventures to a panel of 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.

The workshop kicked off with team exercises and thought-provoking activities, then each of the 73 participants pitched arts-based business ideas and voted on their favorites. Teams were formed to develop the top nine ideas and participants embarked on a crash course in business. Teams attended classes focusing on innovation strategies, business models, finance, competitive research and marketing. During the week, teams completed a series of assignments aimed at facilitating the development of their business venture from concept to reality.

SAVVY Chamber Competition

An essential component of the workshop, the SAVVY Chamber Competition, focuses on championing chamber groups that embody both artistic excellence and innovative event design. Finalists from New York, Maryland and Hungary competed for the top prize and played at the Chamber Showcase, open to the public, at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street in Columbia, SC.

The grand prize went to Maryland-based string quartet, invoke, comprised of Nick Montopoli, violin/banjo; Karl Mitze, viola/mandolin; Zachariah Matteson, violin; and Geoff Manyin, cello. The bowed and fretted string quartet weaves together the traditions of bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz and minimalism to create unique contemporary repertoire, written by and for the group.

Among the top prizes were $3,000 cash, a management option, and a residency at the University of South Carolina School of Music.

Invisible Anatomy of New York placed second, and the Hungarian ensemble, Melodika Project, won the Audience Choice award.

SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge Winners

Top Arts Venture – InstantStudio: on-demand online service for a rent-by-the-hour rehearsal space
Runner Up – Make the Case: custom instrument cases using 3D-imaging and printing technology
Audience Choice – SURVIVART: arts therapy subscription box service
Best Exhibit – Music to Table: farm curatorship program bringing chamber music ensemble and communities together

Other arts-based businesses developed

R.A.E. – a festival and summer camp aimed at cultivating enthusiasm for repurposing waste through the arts
FEEdBACK Fox – sound solutions for acoustic musicians’ database
Rythmos – music, dance and language education school
OPN – music centric podcast database
Road to Dorian – interactive music education gaming app


More information:

SAVVY Musician in Action
SAVVY Chamber Competition