After campaigning for two years to raise funds, the Baryshnikov Arts Center has announced the first recipient of its new Cage Cunningham Fund: Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov. Lubimov is set to put his $50,000 toward supporting new work from composers he deems as being at the forefront of musical innovation.
Thanks to 80 generous donors, including Chris Flowers (J.C. Flowers & Co.) and Colleen Keegan (Creative Capital), the BAC has been able to put together this fund in honor of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, who ran an innovative dance studio in the 60s and 70s. The studio was known for being particularly innovative and adventurous.
In addition to the fund, the BAC has named its Studio 6A the John Cage and Merce Cunningham Studio.
Starting with Lubimov in 2016, the Cage Cunningham Fund will be awarded annually to an artist committed to collaboration, experimentation, and rigor. Lubimov definitely fits the bill: he’s known for his dedication to both 20th century work and Baroque music played on historically accurate instruments. And in the 1960s he was extremely influential in getting Western music and the arts performed in the Soviet Union despite the opposition of censors.
In fact, John Cage was one of the artists Lubimov brought to his homeland. They met in 1988 when both participated in the International Contemporary Music Festival in Leningrad.
“Alexei Lubimov is an ideal fit for the inaugural Cage Cunningham Fellow,” said BAC Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov. “Not only does he demonstrate extraordinary breadth of musical appreciation and expertise, but he is also a champion of risk-taking and an advocate for freedom of expression and creativity.”
Lubimov moves the BAC’s mission forward by supporting New York City-based artists as well as artists abroad, creating international cooperation and exchange of ideas