Jazz guitarist Mary Halvorson awarded 2019 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

The acclaimed improviser will receive $625,000, disbursed over five years.

Guitarist, composer and improviser Mary Halvorson has been named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow, receiving the $625,000 award known informally as the ‘Genius’ Grant.

As one of the 26 chosen fellows, who run the gamut from lawyers to philosophers to geophysicists, the Boston-raised, New York-based artist will receive from the MacArthur Foundation a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 to be disbursed over a period of five years.

“I’ve always played guitar with a strong attack,” Halvorson says in a new video produced by the MacArthur Foundation, “and I’ve always valued the physicality of the instrument, and really being able to hear the wood and the resonance.”

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Learn about Halvorson’s creative process, her experience as a female guitarist in the jazz world and more in the video below:

Halvorson’s last releases were a joint album with Robbie Lee titled Seed Triangular, released September 2018, and a double album Code Girl in April 2018. Next month, she will release A Tangle Of Stars, a record made in collaboration with Deerhoof’s John Dieterich. She is also working on a second album with her Code Girl collaborators.

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