Editorial: Grammy win highlights importance of arts funding


Professor Kenneth Fuchs poses on the Grammies Red Carpet (@UConn/Twitter)

On Sunday night, the biggest names in music came together to honor each other’s skills. One of the lesser known names was a familiar face to some at UConn: professor Kenneth Fuchs, who teaches music composition. Professor Fuchs took home the Grammy in the category of Best Classical Compendium for his album “Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’/Poems of Life/Glacier/Rush.” His work was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and Fuchs’ longtime collaborator JoAnn Falletta was the conductor on the album. This was Professor Fuchs’ fourth Grammy nomination and first win. 

The success of Professor Fuchs reminds us of what musicians and artists can achieve, given the proper resources. Obviously, not every composer has contacts with famous symphony groups. Many don’t even have the time to focus on their passion. This difficulty makes it all the more important that UConn and other institutions maintain what resources they have available to students and professors interested in the arts. Furthermore, colleges should take care not to neglect the arts in favor of other areas.  

A lot of the recent initiatives at UConn have focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), from Next Generation Connecticut to the tax credit the state is now offering to STEM grads. While STEM is certainly useful, it is imperative that the state and university don’t lose sight of the importance of music and the arts. While these fields may not carry the direct measurable benefits that science and engineering do, that makes them no less important. The arts not only allow people to express themselves in unique ways but also bring new and wonderful creations to the rest of society. Everyone who has viewed, heard or even tasted a masterpiece knows the joy that the arts can yield. 

Music and the arts are a critical component of any great society. As a former president once said, “The arts are what makes life worth living. You’ve got food, you’ve got shelter, yeah. But the things that make you laugh, make you cry, make you connect – make you love are communicated through the arts. They aren’t extras.” So let us salute Professor Fuchs, and all the composers, musicians, and artists who dedicate their lives to brining a little more joy and beauty into the world. They often do not get the thanks, or certainly the compensation, they deserve for their work. Nevertheless, they are the cornerstone of one of the greatest aspects of humanity: our ability to create.

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