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Ryan Piurek

Maria Talbert
IU School of Music

Last modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2002

MacArthur Fellowship awarded to IU graduate Edgar Meyer

Edgar Meyer, renowned bass virtuoso and Indiana University School of Music graduate, has been named one of 24 new MacArthur Fellows by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. As one of this year's recipients, Meyer (B.M. 1984) will receive $500,000 in support over the next five years with no strings attached.

The MacArthur Fellowship is a five-year grant to individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Since 1981, the program has honored 635 people ranging in age from 18 to 82 and with a broad variety of expertise. In addition to Meyer, for example, this year's honorees include a seismologist, a trombonist, a journalist, a molecular ecobiologist, a roboticist and an intellectual historian.

"The 24 new fellows are men and women of many ages, working in many different areas, each of whom is highly focused and tenacious and distinctively fresh and original in approach," said Daniel J. Socolow, director of the MacArthur Fellows Program. "They are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things."

Meyer, a bassist and composer, has been hailed by The New Yorker as "the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument." Fusing classical and bluegrass styles to create a unique musical sound, Meyer has won numerous competitions and honors, including Grammy awards for best classical crossover album in 2000 for Appalachian Journey and in 2001 for Perpetual Motion. In 1994, Meyer became the only bassist to win the Avery Fisher Career Grant; in 2000, he became the only bassist to receive the Avery Fisher Prize, which recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence in music.

Meyer has collaborated with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Bela Fleck, Mark O'Connor, James Taylor, Garth Brooks, Sam Bush, Mike Marshall and fellow IU School of Music alumnus Joshua Bell. He is currently visiting professor of double bass at the Royal Academy of Music in London and adjunct associate professor of double bass at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music.

Note to editors: Full biographies and photos of this year's MacArthur Fellows, as well as background information about the program, can be found on a password-protected Web site, To obtain the user name and password, contact Ryan Piurek at 812-855-5393 or

A list of previous fellows from 1981 to 2001 can be found on the MacArthur Foundation's Web site at