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Regina Carter Wins Doris Duke Award

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Wednesday June 27, 2018

From NPR

Doris Duke Artist Awards Return, Breaking A Pledge To End After 5 Years
By: David R. Adler

After five years of vital funding, it looked like the end for the Doris Duke Artist Awards, one of the most prestigious — and sizable — grants in the United States available to artists working in jazz, contemporary dance and theater. A satellite initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, it reached that firm, five-year expiration date set in its inaugural year on June 30, 2017.

But the success of the program in sustaining artists and nourishing the creative ecology turned out to be a persuasive argument for its survival. And so the Artist Awards have been resurrected as a core component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s mission, with no expiration in sight this time. On Tuesday, the DDCF announced seven new Artist Award recipients for 2018, including singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, violinist Regina Carter and vibraphonist Stefon Harris.

Carter was all the more honored to be named one of the first recipients in the wake of the Awards’ renewal. “The fact that they could continue it,” she says, “and the importance of them recognizing [the Awards’ success] and finding a way to continue, not only for my sake but going forward — that news made it even more emotional.”

Past recipients in jazz include saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Oliver Lake and Steve Coleman; trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas and Ambrose Akinmusire; and pianists Randy Weston, Fred Hersch, Myra Melford and Jason Moran. All of these artists, among others, have created ambitious and wide-ranging work in recent years. “If they didn’t have the help of this award,” says Carter, “maybe a given piece wouldn’t have been heard, or they wouldn’t have been able to take it on the road and really develop it. Or maybe they can afford to take a gig that they couldn’t take before, a gig that’s important to do, or a big help to someone else. So the Artist Award doesn’t just help that particular artist. It helps many people.”

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