2022 MacArthur Fellows: Musician Tomeka Reid

Six women artists are among 25 people selected by the MacArthur Foundation to receive prestigious 2022 MacArthur fellowships (known as ‘genius grants’) in recognition of their extraordinary creativity and promise to advance the future of their fields.

These six women whose pioneering work brings insight and inspiration — a literary historian, a plant ecologist, three musicians, and an architect — will each receive $800,000, a no-strings-attached award as an investment in their potential.

“The 2022 MacArthur fellows are architects of new modes of activism, artistic practice, and citizen science,” says MacArthur Fellows Director, Marlies Carruth. “They are excavators uncovering what has been overlooked, undervalued, or poorly understood. They are archivists reminding us of what should survive.”

Congratulations, Tomeka Reid, Jazz Cellist and Composer!

“Forging a unique jazz sound that draws from a range of musical traditions…Reid is honoring jazz’s past while driving the field forward and expanding the expressive possibilities of the cello in improvised music,” wrote the MacArthur Foundation in announcing her award.

A major force in the world of improvised music for the past decade, Tomeka is known for incorporating musical elements from the African diaspora, attaching items like pencils or clips to the strings, and making use of the percussive qualities of the body of the cello to produce a rich and textured palette of sounds.

She has led her own groups and participated in several others as a member, including the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Artifacts trio with flutist Nicole Mitchell and percussionist Mike Reed. In 2013, Tomeka founded the Chicago Jazz String Summit, an annual event that celebrates stringed instruments’ unique contributions to the improvisational jazz sphere.

© Reanne Rodrigues (1/14/23) — Special for FF2 Media


To learn more about Tomeka Reid, please visit the MacArthur site here.


Featured photo courtesy of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Tags: Art Ensemble of Chicago, Artifacts trio, Cello, Chicago Jazz String Summit, composer, Jazz, MacArthur Genius Grants, Musician, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid

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Reanne is an arts and culture writer based in Manhattan, New York City. She loves telling impactful stories about artists and the value they bring to the world. Reach out to her if you’d like to collaborate on any projects or indulge in a lively discussion over chai at www.reannewrites.com.
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