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Mary Halvorson Receives the MacArthur "Genius" Award
Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson, known for her solo work as well as collaborations with other musicians in ensembles, has been named a MacArthur Fellowship recipient, also known as the "genius" grant.
She is one of 26 individuals to receive the award, which celebrates and inspires "the creative potential of individuals through no-strings-attached fellowships." Fellows can be writers, artists, scientists, humanists or in other fields and are nominated and chosen by an independent selection committee. They receive $625,000, paid out in quarterly installments over five years.
The goal of the fellowship is to have recipients "pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." For Halvorson, this will mean continuing to explore where jazz and rock intersect with a sound that evolves and grows with each album she makes and group of musicians she collaborates with.
"I've always played the guitar with a strong attack," she says in her interview with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation about her connection to the guitar. "The beauty of the electric guitar is to be able to have effects pedals and distortion and amplification to get a kind of recklessness."
In an interview with the JazzTimes, Halvorson goes into her love of the instrument.
“The cool thing about the guitar is it’s not associated as much with a particular genre,” she said. “Whereas, if you think saxophone you’re most likely going to think jazz—even though there is saxophone in other genres. But with guitar, it could be classical, it could be rock and roll, it could be jazz, it could be folk.”
For more information on the MacArthur Fellowship, visit their website.