Onetime Chicagoan Claire Chase awarded MacArthur fellowship | Bleader

Onetime Chicagoan Claire Chase awarded MacArthur fellowship

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Claire Chase
  • Claire Chase
Today the MacArthur Foundation announced this year's fellows, and as usual a number of musicians have earned the organization's generous, no-strings-attached grants, including mandolinist Chris Thile (Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers), a bluegrass virtuoso who's been hurdling stylistic boundaries for more than a decade. But to be honest, I'm most excited that onetime Chicagoan Claire Chase scored one of the grants. Chase, as regular readers probably know by now, founded the great International Contemporary Ensemble (who open their 2012 residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art this Saturday) in Chicago a decade ago.

Chase is a remarkable instrumentalist—a dazzling technician and apparently fearless experimenter—but she's also a font of energy and ideas, and helped turn an ensemble originally financed in part with tips she earned as a caterer into a multicity music organization with an annual budget of close to a million dollars. Chase is only 34, and it's especially nice to see MacArthur recognizing a musician who's more able to put the money ($100,000 yearly for five years) to use in building for the future, rather than honoring masters in their autumn of their careers (no offense to past winners such as Max Roach, Ornette Coleman, and Anthony Braxton).

Today's playlist:

Russ Johnson, Save Big (OmniTone)
Sun Ra, Disco 3000 (Art Yard)
Agali Ag Amoumine, Takamba (Mississippi/Change/Sahel Sounds)
Annea Lockwood, Early Works 1967-82 (Em)
Albert Ayler, Stockholm, Berlin 1966 (Hatology)

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