British jazz musicians Shabaka Hutchings and Pat Thomas have been announced as two of the three winners at year’s Paul Hamlyn Composer Awards.
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) is one of the leading grant-making organization in the UK, funding initiatives to support and reward innovators in Arts, Education, and Social Justice. In support of artists (of various kinds), the foundation hosts its annual Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists, which aims to find visual artists and musical composers at “a timely moment in their careers” and reward them with a £50,000 ($78,000) ‘no-strings-attached’ grant paid over three years.
Now in its 20th year, the awards are intended to “give artists the time and freedom to develop their creative ideas and to further their personal and professional growth.” The award is similar to the higher profile MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Genius’ Grants, which recently saw jazz saxophonist Steve Coleman awarded $625,000.
Saxophonist/clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings, 30, was born in England and raised in Barbados, where he started his musical journey playing with local calypso bands and classical groups. After moving back to England, he attended the prestigious Guildhall School of Music, where he majored in classical clarinet. Although he has led a distinguished career that has seen him share a stage with the likes of Courtney Pine, Abraham Wilson, and more recently the Sun Ra Arkestra; he is best known for his work as part of the jazz group Sons of Kemet. The band won a MOBO for Jazz Act of the Year in 2013, and their début album Burn received rave reviews.
Multi-instrumentalist Pat Thomas, 54, is one of the leading improvisational innovators on the British isles. Thomas studied classical piano from the age of 8, but turned to jazz at the age of 16 after seeing iconic pianist Oscar Peterson perform on television. He has since grown into a highly experimental musician, pushing the boundaries of improvisation, and integrating electronic music with classical, jazz, and world music in ways that other composers have never conceived.
Folk/EDM focused accordion and electronics multi-instrumentalist Martin Green, 37, is the third award winner.
Past winners of the Paul Hamlyn Composer Awards include Chris Batchelor, Iain Ballamy, and Jason Yarde.