ALBANY, N.Y. (April 16, 2007) -- University at Albany professor and musician Don Byron has been named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2007. Byron is one of 189 artists, scholars and scientists selected from a pool of almost 2,800 applicants. The fellowships are awarded to professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by publishing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts.
"Don Byron's exceptional musical talent and myriad accomplishments are inspirations to the University at Albany, and we are delighted with the foundation's recognition of his contributions," said UAlbany Provost and Officer in Charge Susan Herbst.
Byron's project was to write a chamber opera with singers, accompanied by an augmented version of the Bang On A Can All-Stars, a new music group that Byron has worked with as composer and record producer. His areas of research are jazz, soul music, film music, modern classical composition, music theory, clarinet, and saxophone.
A multi-talented clarinetist, composer, arranger and social critic, Byron was named Jazz Artist of the Year by Down Beat magazine in 1992. His recent recording debut on tenor saxophone, Ivey-Divey (Blue Note, 2004) with pianist Jason Moran and drummer Jack DeJohnette, was nominated for a Grammy and was voted Album of the Year by Jazz Times magazine in 2004.
He has performed and recorded with an array of musicians, including the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Cassandra Wilson, Bang On A Can All-Stars and the Atlanta Symphony. Byron currently performs with several ensembles, including a trio with pianist Jason Moran and drummer Billy Hart.
Byron joined the University at Albany as a visiting associate professor in the Music Department in fall 2005 and teaches theory, saxophone, improvisation and composition. He previously served as artistic director of jazz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and as artist-in-residence at New York's Symphony Space.
Guggenheim Fellowships are distributed by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, founded in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, who died April 26, 1922.
Decisions on the Fellowship recipients are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors and are approved by the Foundation's Board of Trustees, which includes six members who are themselves past Fellows of the Foundation. The Guggenheim Fellowship program considers applications in 78 different fields, from the natural sciences to the creative arts. The new Fellows include writers, playwrights, painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities.