All shall have prizes: That’s two times $625,000 for LA musicians

All shall have prizes: That’s two times $625,000 for LA musicians


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2018

The composer Matthew Aucoin, 28, and the LA Philharmonic violinist and social activist Vijay Gupta, 31, are among the winners of this year’s $625,000 MacArthur grant.


The money is doled out over five years.


  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    Gupta is an excellent, deserving choice. Hope he and his initiatives with LA’s homeless succeed.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Where’s my grant? What’s so genius about yet another pianist, yet another violinist? These grants have no meaning, never have. It’s practically random. At least two musicians will be able to buy an apartment.

    • HSY says:

      Since you are so, so talented and no doubt born with exceptional gifts, I’m sure some grant is soon coming your way if you get off the internet, stop incessant whining, and start practicing.

    • MacroV says:

      The prize is for people who do innovative, creative things – thus the “genius grant” moniker. Gupta has done a lot of good work with homeless people, which I assume is why he got the award, and how he’ll use the money.

    • Ruth Eisenbud says:

      do I detect sour grapes…

      Vijay Gupta is not just another violinist, but a generous soul, with the capacity to bring hope to the hopeless thorough music…

  • John Borstlap says:

    For Aucoin: well-deserved, a truly gifted composer:

    This not a very good performance but you can hear it is good music:

  • Macnothingburgers says:

    You have to be part of the MacArthur clique to get this. Predictable. Politically correct. Obvious.

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    There have been a number of “classical” musicians who have won “Big Mac” grants (the “genius” grants).

    You can find a complete list, with bios, here:

    Some of the instrumentalists are Jeremy Denk, Stephen Hough, Leila Josefowicz, Edgar Meyer, Alisa Weilerstein.

    There have been conductors (such as Marin Alsop) as well as composers (such as Milton Babbitt, Osvaldo Golijov, John Harbison, George Perle, Gunther Schuller, Ralph Shapey, John Zorn).

    There have been singers (Dawn Upshaw).

    There have even been a violin maker (Joseph Curtin) and a bow maker (Benoit Rolland).

    In the early days of these big Macs, the winners tended to established and well known in their fields, and even well known to a wider public. They were also older and often in academia.

    That has changed. The winners now are younger. Although some are in academia, more are community activists.