Randy Klein, a pianist, composer, performer and music producer based in New York City, has been awarded the Simons Public Humanities Fellowship at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas. The fellowship takes place during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Activities during the fellowship period include a performance of Klein’s work-in-progress, For My People-The Margaret Walker Song Cycle; performances of Two Duos, a project produced by his record label, Jazzheads, that includes recordings of duets with various artists, using form and improvisation; and clinics and master classes within the jazz department. Klein will also compose “Speak,” a song on contemporary subjects, to be performed by various University ensembles. A documentary about Klein and his residency will be recorded during his time at the Hall Center, to be made by students from the Film & Media Studies department under the direction of Associate Professor Madison Davis Lacy.
Klein and Lacy have worked together previously on projects for television and film, for which Klein composed original scores. Each was awarded Emmys on several of these collaborations, notably, ichard Wright (Black Boy) (PPS/BBC); Free to Dance (PBS Great Performances) and Beyond Tara-The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel (American Movie Classics).
Klein was also the recipient of the 2009 BMI Foundation Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre. Additionally, he has earned two gold records, recorded over 10 albums, produced more than a dozen other artists and is president of his own recording label, Jazzheads.
The Simons Fellowship gives individuals of experience and accomplishment from outside the university the time and freedom to re-engage with humanities-based learning. At the same time, the Hall Center and the University benefit from the presence of an accomplished leader from beyond the academy.