Mandolin player Chris Thile (above), flautist Claire Chase and bowmaker Benoît Rolland are among the 2012 MacArthur fellows.
Each of the 23 fellows is given a no-strings-attached award – nicknamed a ‘genius grant’ – of $100,000 (£80,300) a year over five years.
Mandolin player and composer, Chris Thile, works across an array of musical styles, including bluegrass, classical and jazz. As a composer he is perhaps best known for his mandolin concerto, Ad Astra per Alas Porci (‘To the stars on the wings of a pig’) and as a performer, for his interpretations of JS Bach’s works for solo violin, performed on the mandolin.
Claire Chase is a flautist and founder and artistic director of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom she has performed across the US. She also released a recording of solo flute works in 2009 called Aliento.
Bowmaker Benoît Rolland was the first person to make a graphite bow of concert quality. He trained at the Conservatoire de Paris and the bowmaking school in Mirecourt. In 2001 he established a studio in Boston.
The fellowships can’t be applied for and each award-winner is chosen, according to the MacArthur Foundation’s website, for ‘exceptional creativity, as demonstrated through a track record of significant achievement, and manifest promise for important future advances’.
Last year’s fellows included cellist Alisa Weilerstein.