Posted at 9:56 AM on September 23, 2008
by Gillian Martin
If you've been waiting by the phone for the MacArthur Foundation to call, I'm sorry to break the news: If you'd been selected for one of their $500,000-over-5-years "genius" grants, you'd already know.
Of the 25 selected fellows, three are musical:
Violinist Leila Josefowicz, 30, was honored for "broadening the instrument's repertoire and captivating audiences through her juxtaposition of the avant-garde and eclectic with the more traditional." She'll be in the Twin Cities twice this season: with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on December 11, and with the Minnesota Orchestra April 23-25. Find her personal website here.
Music critic Alex Ross, 40, got the nod for "offering both highly specialized and casual readers new ways of thinking about the music of the past and its place in our future." MPR brought him to the Fitzgerald Theater last November to chat about his book The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century. He writes a column for The New Yorker, and he's got a great blog, too. Has this increased the value of the books he signed that night, I wonder?
The third musician is Walter Kitundu, 35, an instrument maker and composer honored for "inventing instruments inspired by experimental and traditional musical forms to produce electro-acoustic works that navigate the boundary between live and recorded performance." He, too, has Minnesota connections: he was a guest artist at the Science Museum of Minnesota in 2004, and in 2003 he created and performed a score for a show at Pillsbury House Theater in Minneapolis.
Walter has a lot closer Minnesota connection than you suggest. He lived in Minneapolis from 1981 - 1998 (essentially most of his young 35-year old life.)
Here he is on American Public Media's American Mavericks in 2003
Thanks, Preston! I googled his name and "Minnesota" but didn't come up with that information.