New York’s WQXR Announces New Roster of Artist Propulsion Lab Members

By Chris Ruel

WQXR, New York’s renowned classical radio station, along with New Sounds, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space have announced the artists selected to take part in its Artist Propulsion Lab (APL).

The musicians named as 2022 program members are: Aizuri Quartet (Emma Frucht and Miho Saegusa, violins;  Ayane Kozasa, viola; Karen Ouzounian, cello); baritone Justin Austin; saxophonist Steven Banks; violinist and composer Layale Chaker, flutist Emi Ferguson, and cellist Andrew Yee.

Founded in 2021 to support early to mid-career artists who exemplified artistic excellence, but struggled with extremely limited opportunities to work during the pandemic, APL members receive a $15,000 grant and a budget up to $5,000 to engage collaborators and commissions. Opportunities such as performances in The Greene Space for digital and on-air distribution, on-air host and curation opportunities, community engagement, and public masterclasses are also provided.

“WQXR’s mission is not solely to bring listeners classical music, but also to support and connect the emerging artists who are forging its future,” said Ed Yim, Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer, WQXR, in a press statement. “The Artist Propulsion Lab gives artists the means and freedom to experiment and produce creative work that can be shared across our platforms—radio airwaves, online, and on stage at The Greene Space. The 2022 members are an impressive group, brimming with new ideas, diverse perspectives and a vision for the future of classical music. We’re excited to be an incubator for their creations, and to share their work with our audiences.”

This year’s vocalist member, Justin Austin, will make his Met Opera debut as Marcellus in Brett Dean’s “Hamlet,” and currently stars in Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Intimate Apparel” at Lincoln Center Theater. Earlier in the Met’s 2021-22 season, Austin covered the leading role of Charles Blow in the Met production of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” On his schedule are several Carnegie Hall appearances, one with the Oratorio Society of New York as the lead in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” and with the Cecilia Chorus as a baritone soloist in Margaret Bonds’ “Ballad of the Brown King” and Handel’s “Messiah.”