Mandolin player, flautist and bowmaker among 2012 MacArthur Fellows

Musicians among 23 creatives awarded 'genius grants'

Chris Thile
Published: October 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm

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.

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