Alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa has been honored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation as a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award recipient, one of only twenty indivduals to receive the award in the fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theatre. The purpose of the award is to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial and funding challenges. Each recipient receives an unrestricted, multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus as much as $25,000 more in targeted support for audience development and as much as $25,000 more for personal reserves or creative exploration during what are commonly retirement years for most Americans. Artists are able to access their awards over a three to five year period under a schedule set by each recipient.
"It's an immense honor to receive this award and to keep company with this highly esteemed cast of fellow awardees," says Mahanthappa. "The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards allows me to breathe a bit easier financially while pursuing my artistic goals with continued vim and vigor." To qualify for the grant, the artists must have won grants, prizes, or awards on a national level for at least three different projects over the last ten years, with at least one project receiving support from a DDCF-funded program. Mahanthappa qualified with his Guggenheim fellowship (2007) and has received multiple grants from Chamber Music America, as well as the MAP Fund.
Creative Capital, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's primary partner in the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, also offers their recipients the opportunity to get involved in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling, and grantee gatherings, all designed to help personalize and maximize the use of their grants. These annual awards are part of a larger $50 million, ten-year commitment above their existing performing arts funding and is available to artists and innovators who push and reinvent the boundaries of their fields, creators who create cross-cultural influences into their work, and masters who dive deep into the rich tradition of their forms, much like Mahanthappa has done on his latest release, Gamak.
Other Recent Nominations, Awards & Grants:
In recent months, Mahanthappa has received a number of prestigious nominations, awards, and grants. Mahanthappa won a 2013 Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) Jazz Award for "Alto Saxophonist of the Year", his fifth consecutive JJA win. He was also honored with a nomination for a 2013 ECHO Award in the "Live Act of the Year" category. Voting is still open to the public and a winner should be announced on May 23.
Mahanthappa recently earned a MAP Grant to complete his work with the Ragamala dance group in Minneapolis. The program, which will take place in May 2014 at the Walker Art Center, is a new dance work conceived by Aparna Ramaswamy and created in collaboration with Mahanthappa - the pair received the grant as a team. The program, titled "Song of the Jasmine," will demonstrate how two first-generation Indian-Americans have been influenced by their cultural identities in two different ways.
Additionally, Mahanthappa has been commissioned by PRISM, one of America's foremost chamber ensembles with six master saxophonists/composers, for Music for Saxophones: a project which employs the saxophone's dual heritages in classical music and jazz. Funded by the PEW Center for Arts & Heritage and the Presser Foundation, the project will feature a creation of work that fuses compositional and performance practices. Set for Spring 2014, Music for Saxophones enables the creative process by commissioning, presenting, and recording music that consciously blends both classical and jazz.