Pianist Muhal Richard Abrams
Named BNY Mellon Jazz 2012 Living Legacy Awardee
Award to be Presented Friday, October 19, 2012
at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Baltimore - June 1, 2012 - Pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams will be honored with the BNY Mellon Jazz 2012 Living Legacy Award in a special ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, October 19, 2012. The BNY Mellon Jazz 2012 Living Legacy Award is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and is sponsored by BNY Mellon, the global leader in investment management and investment servicing. The Award honors living jazz masters from the mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education. The celebration will include a reception, the award ceremony, and a performance by the Anat Cohen Quartet in the Kennedy Center Jazz Club.
"World renowned pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams has been in the forefront of the contemporary music scene for well over forty years," said Jim McDonald, BNY Mellon's Head of Global Philanthropy and Employee Programs. "He's an exemplary choice for the BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award."
Mr. Abrams is a co-founder of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), founder of The AACM School of Music, and President of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, New York City Chapter.
Except for a brief period at Chicago Musical College and Governors State University in Chicago, Illinois where he studied electronic music, Mr. Abrams is predominately a self-taught musician who, as a result of many years of observation, analysis, and practice as a performing musician, has developed a highly respected command of a variety of musical styles both as a pianist and composer. The versatile Mr. Abrams and members of The AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) are responsible for some of the most original new music approaches of the last four decades.
Mr. Abrams' compositions include String Quartet #2 performed by The Kronos String Quartet at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City (1985); Piano Duet #1 performed by Ursula Oppens and Frederic Rzewski for Music at the Crossroads (1986); Saturation Blue performed by The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Ensemble (1986); Folk Tales 88 performed by The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra (1988); Transversion I OP. 6 performed by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1991), What A Man (dedicated to the Late Mayor of Chicago Harold Washington), performed by the Black Repertory Ensemble: Impressions 1 Performed by the SEM Ensemble (1997), 2000 Plus The Twelfth Step performed by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band (1999); Tomorrow's Song, As Yesterday Sings Today performed by the American Composers Orchestra (2000) and Mergertone performed by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, in Ostrava, Czech Republic (2009).
In addition to teaching privately, Mr. Abrams has taught composition and improvisation classes at the Banff Center in Canada, Columbia University in New York City, Syracuse University, the New England Conservatory in Boston, the BMI composers workshop in New York City, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.
A member of Downbeat magazines' Jazz Hall of Fame, Mr. Abrams is the recipient of many awards and accolades, including the inaugural grand international jazz award, "The JazzPar Prize" awarded by the Danish Jazz Center in 1990. Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago declared April 11, 1999 as Muhal Richard Abrams Day. Mr. Abrams was named a USA Prudential Fellow by United States Artists, and a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2010. In May 2012, Mr. Abrams received the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, from Columbia University in New York.
Previous BNY Mellon Living Legacy Award winners include Phil Woods, Roy Haynes, Dr. Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Randy Weston, Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Joe Kennedy, Jr., Shirley Scott, Reggie Workman, Dr. Donald Byrd, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Robert "Boysie" Lowery, and Clark Terry. A Millennium Award was conferred on Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000.
For more information on the BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award and the 2012 event, please go to http://www.midatlanticarts.org/funding/artists_programs/living_legacy/index.html
About BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon is a global financial services company focused on helping clients manage and service their financial assets, operating in 36 countries and serving more than 100 markets. BNY Mellon is a leading provider of financial services for institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals, offering superior investment management and investment services through a worldwide client-focused team. It has $26.6 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $1.3 trillion in assets under management, services $11.9 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.4 trillion per day. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. Additional information is available on www.bnymellon.com or follow us on Twitter@BNYMellon.
About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation fosters and supports arts programming for the benefit of arts organizations, artists and audiences and encourages exchanges that link the arts resources of the mid-Atlantic region to the rest of the nation and the world. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region's state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional perspective. The region includes nine states and jurisdictions: The District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S.Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.