Vijay Iyer Named MacArthur Fellow, Awarded ‘Genius’ Grant
Posted 9/25/2013

On Sept. 25, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows. The recipients will receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 over five years.

Pianist-composer Vijay Iyer—who topped five categories in DownBeat’s 2012 Critics Poll, including Jazz Artist of the Year—was among the 24 men and women who were awarded the fellowship, sometimes called “Genius” grants.

Iyer, 41, released Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings) on Sept. 10. The album, a collaboration with hip-hop lyricist Mike Ladd, is the final installment of a trilogy that includes In What Language? (2003) and Still Life With Communication (2006).

Holding It Down, which also features vocalists Maurice Decaul and Lynn Hill, explores the experience of minority veterans through their dreams. The project was commissioned and co-produced by Harlem Stage’s WaterWorks program.

Iyer’s discography includes the trio albums Accelerando (ACT) and Historicity (ACT), as well as Raw Materials (Savoy Jazz), a collaboration with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa.

The MacArthur Foundation commended Iyer for “forging a new conception of jazz and American creative music through an eclectic oeuvre that includes compositions for his own and other ensembles, collaborations across multiple genres and disciplines, and scholarly research on the act of listening.”

Other 2013 fellows include classical pianist Jeremy Denk, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and choreographer Kyle Abraham.

More information about this year’s so-called “MacFellows” is posted at the foundation’s website.


Vijay Iyer (Photo: Jimmy Katz)


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