Audra McDonald to Receive 2018 McDermott Award from MIT

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Congratulations to Audra McDonald, who will receive the 2018 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT at a gala in her honor on April 14. The award, which includes a $100,000 cash prize and an artist residency, celebrates individuals who continue to achieve the highest distinction in their fields and who will produce inspiring work for many years to come.

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Congratulations to Audra McDonald, who has been named the recipient of the 2018 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The $100,000 cash prize will be awarded at a gala in her honor on April 14, 2018. As part of an artist residency included with the award, McDonald will present a public talk at MIT on April 14 about her performances in musical theater, film, and television.

"Art is not just something beautiful that we experience in a theater or a museum," McDonald said upon being named the award recipient. "Art can also be painful or make us feel vulnerable, but in that discomfort it has the power to be illuminating, transformative, and revelatory. As in life, art must relish the joys while also embracing the suffering and struggle—a paradox that epitomizes the human experience. My greatest hope is that art helps us as a society to find common ground, to create dialogue, and to understand each other in new and meaningful ways. I am therefore so humbled and honored to receive the McDermott Award in the Arts and look forward to exploring these topics during my residency at MIT, an institution that embodies innovation, creativity, and, above all, humanity."

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates individuals who continue to achieve the highest distinction in their fields and who will produce inspiring work for many years to come. The $100,000 cash prize represents an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement. Past recipients include David Adjaye, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Lepage, Gustavo Dudamel, Bill Viola, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Santiago Calatrava, among others.

"We are delighted to celebrate the phenomenal actress and singer Audra McDonald as we embark on a new era of the performing arts at MIT and soon will inaugurate our first dedicated performing arts space," says Philip S. Khoury, MIT Associate Provost with responsibility for the arts and Ford International Professor of History. "We look forward to having Ms. McDonald work with our faculty and students during her residency. Her incomparable range across multiple genres of performance will enrich our performing arts community."

A distinctive feature of the award is a short residency at MIT, which includes a public presentation of the artist’s work, substantial interaction with students and faculty, and a gala that convenes national and international leaders in the arts. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient with unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research at the Institute and to develop mutually enlightening relationships with MIT students and faculty. In addition to the residency, McDonald will perform at Boston Symphony Hall, presented by the Celebrity Series, on April 13, as part of her extensive 2017–18 concert season. For concert tickets, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

For more information on the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, visit arts.mit.edu/mcdermott.

Audra McDonald has released five solo albums on Nonesuch Records: Go Back Home (2013), Build a Bridge (2006), Happy Songs (2002), How Glory Goes (2000), and Way Back to Paradise (1998).

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Audra McDonald 2013 marquee by Autumn de Wilde w
  • Friday, October 27, 2017
    Audra McDonald to Receive 2018 McDermott Award from MIT
    Autumn de Wilde

    Congratulations to Audra McDonald, who has been named the recipient of the 2018 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The $100,000 cash prize will be awarded at a gala in her honor on April 14, 2018. As part of an artist residency included with the award, McDonald will present a public talk at MIT on April 14 about her performances in musical theater, film, and television.

    "Art is not just something beautiful that we experience in a theater or a museum," McDonald said upon being named the award recipient. "Art can also be painful or make us feel vulnerable, but in that discomfort it has the power to be illuminating, transformative, and revelatory. As in life, art must relish the joys while also embracing the suffering and struggle—a paradox that epitomizes the human experience. My greatest hope is that art helps us as a society to find common ground, to create dialogue, and to understand each other in new and meaningful ways. I am therefore so humbled and honored to receive the McDermott Award in the Arts and look forward to exploring these topics during my residency at MIT, an institution that embodies innovation, creativity, and, above all, humanity."

    The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates individuals who continue to achieve the highest distinction in their fields and who will produce inspiring work for many years to come. The $100,000 cash prize represents an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement. Past recipients include David Adjaye, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Lepage, Gustavo Dudamel, Bill Viola, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Santiago Calatrava, among others.

    "We are delighted to celebrate the phenomenal actress and singer Audra McDonald as we embark on a new era of the performing arts at MIT and soon will inaugurate our first dedicated performing arts space," says Philip S. Khoury, MIT Associate Provost with responsibility for the arts and Ford International Professor of History. "We look forward to having Ms. McDonald work with our faculty and students during her residency. Her incomparable range across multiple genres of performance will enrich our performing arts community."

    A distinctive feature of the award is a short residency at MIT, which includes a public presentation of the artist’s work, substantial interaction with students and faculty, and a gala that convenes national and international leaders in the arts. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient with unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research at the Institute and to develop mutually enlightening relationships with MIT students and faculty. In addition to the residency, McDonald will perform at Boston Symphony Hall, presented by the Celebrity Series, on April 13, as part of her extensive 2017–18 concert season. For concert tickets, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    For more information on the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, visit arts.mit.edu/mcdermott.

    Audra McDonald has released five solo albums on Nonesuch Records: Go Back Home (2013), Build a Bridge (2006), Happy Songs (2002), How Glory Goes (2000), and Way Back to Paradise (1998).

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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