The improvising pianist Cecil Taylor, a pioneering, influential and highly experimental musician and a longtime Brooklyn resident, is one of this year’s recipients of the Kyoto Prize, awarded each year by the Inamori Foundation in Japan, the foundation announced on Friday. Mr. Taylor, 84, is this year’s laureate in the category of arts and philosophy; different fields across technology, science, art and philosophy are considered on a rotating basis, and there has been a recipient in music every four years. (The last musician laureate in 2009 was the conductor and composer Pierre Boulez.) The prize comes with a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately $510,000), to be given at a ceremony in Kyoto in November. This year’s other laureates are the electronics engineer Dr. Robert H. Dennard and the evolutionary biologist Dr. Masatoshi Nei.
—Ben Ratliff, New York Times arts blog, 6/21/13
Cecil Taylor (1929-), piano
Live (with Rashid Bakr, drums; Thurman Barker, marimba, miscellaneous percussion), 1995
Live (solo), Italy (Perugia), 2009
Live (solo), Germany (Berlin), 1991 (The Tree of Life)
musical thoughts: following yesterday’s post
With live music, you’ve got to be ready when it is. Last night, after looking forward to an evening of Ethiopian dance, of saxophones and drums, at the Hideout, I just wasn’t in the mood. Instead I listened, in my living room, to something else—Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin, played by Nathan Milstein. On another night that would have seemed as foreign to me as this kinetic dance music did last night. But we can only hear with the ears we’ve got, which, like the rest of us, are ever changing, often in ways we neither anticipate nor understand.