Results of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation's seventy-ninth annual United States and Canadian competition have been announced, and Chicago-based jazz singer/pianist/songwriter Patricia Barber is among the 2003 Fellowship winners. This year's 184 winners include artists, scholars, and scientists selected from over 3200 applicants for awards totaling $6,750,000. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.
An extremely prestigious award, previous Guggenheim winners have included Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. Barber joins the ranks of such notables as Ansel Adams, Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Isamu Noguchi, Linus Pauling, Paul Samuelson, Martha Graham, Philip Roth, Derek Walcott, James Watson, and Eudora Welty.
Barber receives the award in the category of Music Composition, a rare achievement for a composer that works mainly in the realm of popular songwriting. Barber's most recent recording, Verse (Blue Note/Premonition Records), showcases her award-winning songwriting talents. Her first collection consisting entirely of original material, it was hailed by The Los Angeles Times as a stunning musical accomplishment." Times writer Don Heckman went on to exclaim there is so much to hear in this brilliant collection of songs, that it offers revelatory experiences with each repeated hearing... an exquisite, not-to-be-missed creative adventure."
Barber plans to use the Fellowship award to delve deeper into her trade of songwriting in the jazz tradition. Her next project will be a song cycle that draws inspiration from Greek mythology. Barber has also recently re-signed an exclusive recording deal with veteran jazz label Blue Note Records.