Joe Curtin / Aaron Dworkin honored by MacArthur Foundation

September 22, 2005 at 04:45 AM · In case you missed it, two individuals in the violin world were recently honored with $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Awards. Below is the press release we issued on this.

MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award" presented to Amati Foundation Historical Collection participant Joseph Curtin

September 21, 2005, Austin, TX -- The Amati Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and expansion of the stringed arts, is pleased to congratulation violin maker Joseph Curtin for his selection as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. Curtin, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a participant in The Amati Foundation Historical Collection, a 20 year initiative to recreate history's most important violins, violas, celli, and basses for loan to orchestras and schools. The Historical Foundation's primary goal is to bring more than 250,000 children and teenagers to orchestral events across America and to highlight the accomplishments of today's best violin makers.

"Joseph Curtin was one of the first makers selected for invitation to participate in the Amati Foundation Historical Collection," said William Townsend, Chairman of The Amati Foundation. "Joseph's cutting edge research in acoustics and new materials manufacture and design has contributed significantly to the wealth of knowledge available to contemporary makers."

Curtin will recreate the famous Kochanski violin made by Guiseppe Guarneri del Gesu. Originally crafted by the famous Italian master in 1741, the violin has been the concert instrument of violinist Aaron Rosand for nearly 40 years. The Kochanski got its name from the violinist Paul Kochansky who originally acquired it in 1924 and performed on it throughout his career. “The violin is regarded as many as one of the best sounding del Gesu violins in existence and Joseph's acoustical knowledge perfectly fits the recreation of this instrument,” said Townsend.

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation also announced Tuesday genius grants to Aaron Dworkin of the Sphinx Organization, which has dramatically increased the numbers of minorities who have access to careers in classical music.

"I am personally thrilled that the MacArthur Foundation is recognizing individuals who contribute to the expansion of the stringed arts," added Townsend. "Since 1960, strings programs have decreased from 81% of US schools to 18.5%, a drastic reduction that has resulted in an entire generation missing out on the benefits of music. Hopefully, these grants signal the beginning of a renewed emphasis on arts education."

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, The Amati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. More information is available at www.AmatiFoundation.org.

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