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Four composers among 11, including Randy Weston

Congrats to jazz Guggenheim fellows

Apr 8th, 2011 | By

Jazz-related composers David Fiuczynski, Fred Ho, Earl M. Howard and Randy Weston have been named Fellows by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, in a program recognizing “impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishments,” according to information released by the Foundation on April 8. A complete list of 219 fellows is posted on the Foundation’s website, www.gf.org.

Pianist Weston, age 85, is having a banner year, having published African Rhythms, an autobiography “arranged” by JJA member Willard Jenkins. In the book he details growing up in a jazz-rich milieu in Brooklyn, and his discovery of deep bonds with his ancestral African roots. Guitarist Fiuczynski (47), baritone saxophonist Ho (54) and tenor saxophonist/synthesizer player and sound installation artist Howard (59) are all associated with creating original music out of jazz foundations.

Besides leading Screaming Headless Torsos and being a member of others ensembles such as Hasidic New Wave and Jack DeJohnette’s most recent quintet, Fiuczynski teaches at Berklee College of Music. Ho is a social activist as well as a musical power — he rejects the term “jazz” as signifying racial oppression of African Americans, and has been at the forefront of incorporating Asian elements into contemporary African American-derived forms. Howard is an avant-gardist creating music across boundaries, often incorporating large measures of improvisation in works for small ensembles or himself, alone.

The Guggenheim fellowships were established in 1925 by a former U.S. senator and his wife in memory of their deceased teenage son. They are among the most prestigious U.S.-based awards presented to artists, scholars and scientists, this year in categories labeled as Creative Arts, Humanities, Natural and Social Sciences. Fellowships include cash grants, recently averaging around $35,000. Application deadline for U.S. and Canadian citizens for 2012 Guggenheim fellowships  is September 17, 2011; deadline for the fellowships’ Latin American and Caribbean competition is December 1. Applications and further information are available from the foundation’s website, www.gf.org.

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