The Guggenheim Foundation could best be described as an organization eager to support and represent some of the most passionate, inspiring, bold, and intrepid creative artists in the realm of American arts. Enabling exploration and discovery, they annually award renowned and talented artists the Guggenheim Fellowship. A committee of experts in various scholarly and artistic fields convene annually to evaluate the work of applicants within their respective areas and subsequently choose to award 200 individual fellowships. Some years there are none awarded if the committee decides that the applicants are not strong enough. This year Guggenheims were presented to one UC Berkeley faculty member and a recent alumnus, both from the Department of Music.
Myra Melford, pianist and composer, of the Jazz and Improvised Music Program and Associate Professor of contemporary improvised music has earned a fellowship for her work in music composition. For the past twenty years, she has evolved as an artist and cultivated a unique sound fusing blues piano of Chicago and Indian music. She has received global recognition for her original compositions and has made over thirty recordings. As the semester convenes, Melford will be traveling to Le Mans, Paris, and Amsterdam to perform her original compositions.
Aaron Einbond (Ph.D 2009, Composition) has also received a fellowship for music composition for his exemplary work in instrumental composition, sound installation, field recording, technology, and computer-interactive live performance. Einbond has studied at Harvard, the University of Cambridge, IRCAM in Paris, and UC Berkeley. Most recently a Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, and previously a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at Columbia University, he has received great praise from esteemed composers and has risen to prominence for working with technology and new music.
UC Berkeley alumni and faculty are no strangers to the Guggenheim Fellowship. Keeril Makan (Ph.D 2004, Composition) is one of last year’s 2012 recipients for composition. Makan is currently Associate Professor of Music in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. His fellowship was awarded to support the development of his composition Either/Or.