Sonny Rollins Receives 2010 Edward MacDowell Medal

Medal ceremony includes concert by Fred Hersch Trio and an art show by local schoolchildren

The Fred Hersch Trio gives a free jazz concert under the Medal Day tent in honor of Sonny Rollins. Left to right: Colony Fellow Fred Hersch, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Eric McPherson
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Left to right: Medalist Sonny Rollins, presentation speaker Gary Giddins, and Donna MacNeil (wife of Robert MacNeil) enjoy a picnic lunch after the Medal Day award ceremony.
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MacDowell Colony Chairman Robert MacNeil and 2010 Edward MacDowell Medalist Sonny Rollins. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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Sonny Rollins signs an autograph for a fan after receiving the 2010 Edward MacDowell Medal at The MacDowell Colony. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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Fred Hersch
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Susan Davenport Austin delivers her first Medal Day speech as president of MacDowell’s board of directors.  Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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MacDowell Chairman Robert MacNeil after delivering his last Medal Day speech on behalf of the Colony.  Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey/Courtesy of The MacDowell Colony.
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On August 15, Sonny Rollins was presented with the 2010 Edward MacDowell Medal at a ceremony on the grounds of the MacDowell Artist Colony, in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Jazz writer Gary Giddins introduced Rollins at the ceremony and the outgoing Chairman of the Colony’s Board of Directors, Robert MacNeil, presented Rollins with the medal.

In addition, the ceremony included a performance by the Fred Hersch Trio, with John Hebert and Eric McPherson, as well as an art show of work from elementary school children inspired by jazz and Sonny Rollins.

“Sonny Rollins has been one of the most important influences on me as a jazz improviser,” said MacDowell Colony Fellow and jazz pianist Fred Hersch, in a press release received at JazzTimes. “In his mastery of structure, his extraordinary technique, his flawless sense of rhythm, his respect for melody, his humor, and his humanity, he may be the ultimate jazz artist.”

JazzTimes previewed Rollins’ award in an earlier piece on jazztimes.com.