I'm on vacation for a couple of weeks, back on Monday, October 6. In the meantime, my colleagues Brian Newhouse and John Birge will be hosting the PT broadcast. And PT Associate Producer Rob Hubbard will be updating "Fredlines" with classical music news and events of note. Take it away, Rob!
Wouldn't it be nice to get a phone call telling you not only that you're a genius, but that you're being given half a million dollars to do with as you wish?
Well, 25 people have had that experience within the past week. They're the latest recipients of the MacArthur Fellowships, which are given out to creative people in the arts and sciences. And three of them make their livings in the field of classical music.
Violinist Leila Josefowicz was hailed for championing the works of contemporary composers. The MacArthur Foundation said on its Web site: "Josefowicz's genuine commitment to the music of today, coupled with her keen musical intelligence and virtuosity, is inspiring new compositions for the violin and significantly broadening the instrument's repertoire." Brian Newhouse talks with Josefowicz on Wednesday's "Performance Today."
Also receiving one of these $500,000, no-strings-attached grants is Alex Ross, the classical music critic for the New Yorker magazine. His look at 20th-century music, "The Rest is Noise," was hailed as one of the best books of 2007 by several publications. And you can listen to him reading excerpts from it on our Features Page. He talks about his newfound "genius" status on Thursday's show.
But the most adventurous among those MacArthur Fellows making their living in the field of music is Walter Kitundu. He's a San Francisco-based composer and inventor of instruments who is best known for creating phonoharps. They're hybrids of phonographs and stringed instruments that not only create music, but act as a form of sculpture.