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George Lewis Receives MacArthur Fellowship

Since 1981 the MacArthur Fellows Program has awarded its $500,000 stipend to 635 people from all walks of life. From scientists to artists, teachers to activists, the “no strings attached” MacArthur fellowships are given to “extraordinary people doing extraordinary things,” says Daniel Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.

Fellowships are given to individuals based upon past achievements, but are also awarded as “investment[s] in a person’s originality, insight and potential,” which, according to the MacArthur Foundation, translates in a broader sense to “the benefit of human society.” Says MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton, “[This program] serves as a reminder of the importance of the creative individual in American society. In all our programs, we are committed to nurturing those who are a source of new knowledge and ideas, have the courage to challenge inherited orthodoxies and to take intellectual, scientific, and cultural risks.”

The MacArthur Program is truly a “no strings attached” award. Not at any time during the five-year period in which the $500,000 is paid to each recipient is any recipient monitored or evaluated. It is an “award in support of people, not projects,” given to individuals on the belief of “important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment.”

This year, “mobility-minded” trombonist and long-time AACM member George Lewis (pictured) has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. The Yale graduate, NEA Fellow, former curator of music at New York’s The Kitchen Center, and professor of music in the University of California at San Diego’s critical studies/experimental practices program, joins the ranks of other jazz artists like Cecil Taylor, Max Roach, Anthony Braxton and Ornette Coleman who have won MacArthur fellowships in the past. Among the other 24 winners this year include seismologist Brian Tucker, molecular ecobiologist Bonnie Bassler, novelist Karen Hesse, roboticist Daniela Rus, paleoethnobotanist Lee Ann Newsom and historian Ann Blair.

For more information regarding the MacArthur Fellowship Program, visit, or email questions to [email protected]

Originally Published