23 re­ceive ‘ge­nius grants’ from MacArthur Foun­da­tion

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - NEWS -

CHICAGO » A direc­tor who has taken opera from the con­cert hall to the streets of Los Angeles and an or­ga­nizer who helped put a hu­man face on the plight of young un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are among this year’s MacArthur fel­lows and re­cip­i­ents of the so-called “ge­nius” grants.

The Chicago-based John D. and Cather­ine T. MacArthur Foun­da­tion on Wednesday an­nounced the 23 fel­lows, who each re­ceive $625,000 over five years to spend any way they choose. The re­cip­i­ents work in a va­ri­ety of fields, from com­puter sci­ence to the­ater, im­munol­ogy and pho­tog­ra­phy.

The foun­da­tion has awarded the fel­low­ships an­nu­ally since 1981 to peo­ple who show “ex­cep­tional cre­ativ­ity in their work and the prospect for still more in the fu­ture.” Pre­vi­ous win­ners have in­cluded “Hamil­ton” play­wright Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, and au­thor-jour­nal­ist Ta-Ne­hisi Coates. There is no ap­pli­ca­tion process. In­stead, an anony­mous pool of nom­i­na­tors brings po­ten­tial fel­lows to the foun­da­tion’s at­ten­tion. Those se­lected learn they’ve been cho­sen shortly be­fore the awards are an­nounced.

For opera direc­tor and pro­ducer Yu­val Sharon the news that he had been se­lected was “an enor­mous shock and honor.” When the foun­da­tion called, he as­sumed they were seek­ing a re­fer­ral for some­one else who’d been nom­i­nated.

“I’m to­tally amazed,” said Sharon, 37, the founder and artis­tic direc­tor of The In­dus­try, a Los Angeles-based pro­duc­tion com­pany that pro­duces op­eras in non­tra­di­tional spa­ces and for­mats. A 2015 pro­duc­tion trans­ported au­di­ence mem­bers and per­form­ers to var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in Los Angeles via lim­ou­sines, with singers and mu­si­cians per­form­ing along the way and at each stop.

His next work, an adap­ta­tion of the ra­dio pro­gram “War of the Worlds” will uti­lize de­com­mis­sioned World War II sirens to broad­cast the per­for­mance oc­cur­ring inside the the­ater onto the streets. The sounds of per­form­ers sta­tioned out­doors — and likely the traf­fic and other street noise — will then be trans­mit­ted back into the con­cert hall.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.