Grammy nominee Harris wins prestigious arts award
ALBANY, N.Y. (June
28, 2018) – Grammy-nominated jazz artist
Stefon Harris (Albany
High School ’91) on Tuesday was named a recipient of a
2018 Doris Duke Artist Award – one of the most prestigious arts
grants in the country – for his continuing contributions to jazz.
Harris is one of seven performing artists
that will receive $250,000 in flexible funding, along with up to an
additional $25,000 to encourage contributions to retirement savings.
Other award-winners include Dee Dee
Bridgewater and Regina Carter for jazz, Michelle Dorrance and Okwui
Okpokwasili for contemporary dance, and Muriel Miguel and Rosalba
Rolón for theater.
“For us, it’s pretty simple: Like our programs
in medical research, child well-being and the environment, we recognize
that the arts also are critically important to our communities. And at
the heart of the arts is the individual artist. This award frees artists
to be artists by providing them with the financial security to take
risks and to make great work,” said Edward Henry, CEO of the Doris Duke
The Los Angeles Times
called Harris one of the most important artists in jazz. A vibraphone
virtuoso, he is a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln
Center, has earned four Grammy nominations and has been named best
mallet player eight times by the Jazz Journalist Association.
Following his graduation from Albany High – where he also
served as captain of the wrestling team – Harris earned bachelor’s and
master’s degrees from
the Manhattan School of Music
in New York City. While there, he secured his first professional gigs
with legendary artists Max Roach, Wynton Marsalis and Cassandra Wilson.
He has played with several jazz luminaries, including Kenny Barron,
Steve Turre, Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter.
Harris was inducted into the City School District of Albany Hall of Fame
The mission of
the City School District of Albany is
to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every
learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the
knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district
about 9,500 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In
addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet
schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities
for students, including four themed academies
at Albany High School.