Last modified: Wednesday, April 11, 2007
IU Jacobs School of Music strikes big at 2007 Avery Fisher Awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music has an illustrious history of educating winners of the annual Avery Fisher Artist Awards. This year, that history was further illuminated when IU alumnus Joshua Bell was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in an April 10 ceremony at Lincoln Center. The prize, a $75,000 accolade presented for lifetime achievement, firmly establishes his reputation as the most revered U.S. violinist of his generation.
The Avery Fisher Awards are an annual series of grants that recognize upcoming and established talent in the world of classical music. In addition to Bell's honor, three other musicians with IU ties were honored with the grants this year.
IU-educated soloists DaXun Zhang, who plays double-bass, and Yura Lee, a violinist, each accepted the prestigious $25,000 Avery Fisher Career Grant, an award that Bell won earlier in his career. An Avery Fisher Career Grant also went to the Borromeo String Quartet, which includes as a member Kristopher Tong, a violinist who also studied at IU.
"Being in attendance at this evening's event reveals the importance of Avery Fisher and his family to the cultural life of our nation, as well as the impact of performance, pedagogy and research at Indiana University," said IU Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards, following the event.
"It's thrilling to know that we have connections to all four awards. Such is the wonder of this artistic incubator, this nurturing community we call Bloomington," he said.
Prize-winner Bell, a former student of IU pedagogues Josef Gingold and Mimi Zweig, and now an international violin sensation, praised the Avery Fisher Program in his remarks.
"For many years, I've watched with admiration how the Avery Fisher Program supports artists' careers in the United States," Bell said. "With great care and understanding, the organization has fostered and assisted some of the best and brightest musicians in America. It is now both exciting and humbling to be the 2007 recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. As with my first experience of an Avery Fisher award, I am inspired and thankful to be worthy of such consideration."
"I never dreamed that someday I would be a recipient (of the Avery Fisher Career Grant). . . and I still cannot get over it," exclaimed Zhang, who studied with Lawrence Hurst at IU and was appointed to the double-bass faculty at Northwestern University, one of the most coveted such positions in the country.
"My years at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music were probably the most important in my life. Because of my teacher, Lawrence Hurst, I have never doubted what I am capable of...I believe that without him, I would not have accomplished what I have today," Zhang said.
Lee was a teenage prodigy when she studied with Miriam Fried and Paul Biss at Jacobs, prompting Biss to remark that she is possibly the best student he has ever heard. Her numerous 2006 awards include First Prize -- as well as the Mozart Prize, Mozart Medal, Jugendjury Prize and the Public Prize -- in the sixth International Leopold Mozart Violin Competition in May. She also placed fourth in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in September 2006, and second at the Premio Paganini Competition in Italy soon thereafter.
Second-violinist Tong performs with the Borromeo String Quartet, one of the most sought-after string quartets in the world. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University, where he studied with Franco Gulli, Yuval Yaron and Miriam Fried. Emerging as one the most intriguing musicians of his generation, he joined the quartet early last year.
Music benefactor Avery Fisher established Lincoln Center's elite Avery Fisher Artist Program in 1974 to nurture young performers. The program includes the Avery Fisher Prize ($75,000) and the Avery Fisher Career Grant ($25,000), which are designed to give exceptional instrumentalists and chamber groups financial assistance and recognition on which to help them continue to build their careers. Artists are considered for these awards by nomination only, and the awards are reserved for U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. Up to five Career Grants may be given each year, while the Avery Fisher Prize is more limited and not presented annually.
At the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, approximately 1,600 students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries benefit from the intensity and focus of a conservatory with 170 full-time faculty members who are among the best performers, researchers and educators in the world, combined with the broad academic offerings of a major university. As one of the world's premier music schools, Jacobs maintains a distinguished reputation for the quality of its music program and the professional preparation it affords graduates.