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Vijay Iyer Awarded MacArthur Fellowship

Pianist and composer will receive $625,000 grant

Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, whose critically acclaimed works beginning in the 1990s have elevated him into jazz’s vanguard, was named a recipient of the annual MacArthur Fellowship today. Iyer is one of 13 men and 11 women who will receive a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 (up from the previous amount of $500,000). The award money is paid out over five years.

The most recent recording by the 41-year-old, New York State-born Iyer, the son of Indian immigrants, is Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project, a collaboration with the poet Mike Ladd. In response to the award, Iyer told the New York Times, “I want to use the money for the greater good of the community. A life in the arts is a life of service.”

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