“It’s fantastic that Vijay is getting this award,” Spano remarked. “It’s great what he is doing. Vital things are going on today in music. Music speaks in a variety of languages and when these languages meet, all kinds of things are happening because of it.”
After performing a jazz piano piece for the Greenfield Prize guests, Iyer shared some thoughts about his music before accepting the Prize, “Improvisation is a way of life. It’s something we are born doing, something we are doing even before we are born. It is how we live and it teaches us how to be in the world.”
The Greenfield Prize was established in 2009 by longtime Sarasota residents Bob and Louise Greenfield through the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation. The prize is a means by which a groundbreaking, enduring work of art will be created by a commissioned artist within two years of receiving the award. According to Bob Greenfield, “the intention of the Greenfield Prize is to bring into the world works of art that will have a significant impact on the broad as well as the artistic culture of our society.” Winners are rotated within three disciplines: theater, music, and visual art. The Prize consists of a $30,000 commission for an original work of art, a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and a partnership with a professional arts organization to develop the work, along with assistance in moving the work forward into the American arts world. The next Greenfield Prize weekend will be April 18-21, 2013, when the prize will be presented to a significant American visual artist. As part of the weekend, Playwright John Guare, 2011 Greenfield Prize winner, will be premiering his commissioned play in a staged reading by actors associated with Asolo Rep.
“The Greenfield Prize is one of the most important arts award in the country. It presents a special opportunity by encouraging new art making through a commissioned project of an artist’s choice, support to create the work and help to promote it once it is completed,” explained Rodgers. “In four short years, we have transformed an awards dinner into an entire weekend of art events and discussions that include the presentation of new and exciting work, public conversations and symposia with some of the world’s leading arts producers and creators, and opportunities to meet these impressive experts at different events. The Hermitage Artist Retreat might be small in stature on its 8.5 gulf-front acres, but with the addition of the Greenfield Prize and the impressive roster of artists that accept our invitations to work in Englewood, FL, we know we are helping to expand the talents of American arts and artists. Results from the Greenfield Prize have already been staggering. We look forward to continuing to support great artists in their quest to create important work.” A distinguished seven-person panel consisting of some of the most highly respected authorities in American art select each Greenfield Prize recipient. Three voting members on each jury are joined by a producing partner representative, Joni Greenfield of the Greenfield Foundation, Hermitage Greenfield Prize Director Patricia Caswell and Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers who facilitates. The voting jury for the Vijay Iyer selection included Chair Linda Golding, Jennifer Koh, solo violinist and prolific recitalist, and Limor Tomer, general manager of concerts and lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In addition to Iyer, other prizewinners have been playwrights Craig Lucas (2009) and John Guare (2011), composer Eve Beglarian (2009) and interdisciplinary visual artist Sanford Biggers (2010).
For more information on the Greenfield Prize, visit the website at greenfieldprize.org.