Composer Bobby Previte Wins Prestigious Greenfield Prize

Bobby Previte (photo Michael DiDonna)

Bobby Previte (photo Michael DiDonna)

(PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) – Composer Bobby Previte, a part-time resident of Hudson, N.Y., has been award the prestigious Greenfield Prize for 2015. The annual award includes a $30,000 cash prize as a commission for a new work of art to be realized within two years. In addition, the winner is given residency time at the invitation-only Hermitage Artist Retreat, a premiere performance by a professional arts organization on the two-year anniversary of the award and assistance in helping to have the new work programmed for future performances.

Previous winners of the prize are composers Vijay Iyer and Eve Beglarian. This year’s prize semi-finalists, who will receive a $1000 along with a Hermitage residency, are composers Don Byron, Tyshawn Sorey and Julia Wolfe, a cofounder of Bang on a Can.

Serving on the jury that selected Previte were Linda Golding, former president of Boosey & Hawkes Music publishers; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang; and president and CEO of Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center Anne Ewers. The prize will be presented at a celebration dinner on Saturday, April 18, at Michael’s on East, 1212 S. East Avenue, Sarasota, Fla.

“It is with great excitement that we make this announcement every year and are thrilled once again to be able to congratulate Bobby Previte on joining composers Eve Beglarian and Vijay Iyer as Greenfield Prize winners,” remarked Hermitage executive director Bruce E. Rodgers. “We look forward to having him with us at the Hermitage to work on the piece and help him in any way that we can to create this exciting new work.”

Bobby Previte (photo Michael DiDonna)

Bobby Previte (photo Michael DiDonna)

Bobby Previte is a composer, drummer and bandleader. Previte studied at the University of Buffalo, surrounded by some of the pioneers of new music: John Cage, Morton Feldman, Lucas Foss, and Jan Williams, with whom he majored in percussion. He moved to New York City in 1979 and became involved with the downtown music scene, which has come to be known as contemporary-classical.

A series of albums recorded in the late 1980s established him as one of the relatively few drummers who were also composers of significance. Leading a plethora of diverse ensembles, he has performed at festivals and clubs worldwide, and has collaborated with some of the leading lights in and beyond the world of music – from master composer John Adams to rock icon Tom Waits to legendary filmmaker Robert Altman.

Since moving to Columbia County, N.Y., Previte has been a constant presence on the region’s music scene, centered around Club Helsinki Hudson, where Previte has a monthly residency for his Voodoo North Orchestra project, devoted to exploring the nuances of Miles Davis’s seminal “Bitches Brew” jazz-funk work and which has coalesced a group of the area’s most innovative players and improvisers. Previte also premiered his recent “Terminals” project at Helsinki, with members of So Percussion, and brought his avant-jazz ensemble Omaha Diner to perform there in fall 2013.

Bobby Previte at Helsinki Hudson (photo Seth Rogovoy)

Bobby Previte at Helsinki Hudson (photo Seth Rogovoy)

Previte has worked in theater, film and television, and has enjoyed residencies at The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center on Lake Como, Civitella Ranieri, Montalvo Arts Center, and nine MacDowell Colony fellowships.

In addition to the Greenfield Prize, Previte has received awards and grants from the Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, The American Music Center, Mid Atlantic Arts, New York State Music Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Jerome Foundation.

“Winning a prize is always good,” remarked Previte. “Winning a prize to create music for great musicians is better. Winning a prize and writing that music on a beach will be…heaven!”

The Greenfield Prize is awarded in three rotating arts disciplines every spring. In addition to music, the award is also given in drama and visual art. What makes this award stand out from others is that it is a commission for future work of the artist’s choosing and assistance in having the work produced and experienced by the public. The mission of the commission is that the work brings into the world a work of art that will have a significant impact on the broader or artistic culture.

A small group of semi-finalists, selected by a prestigious jury, is asked to submit a proposal for their project based on this guideline. The winner receives the Prize at a weekend of festivities that includes the first public exposure to the Greenfield Prize commission of the previous two years, many free creative conversations with national arts leaders on subjects that feature the weekend’s arts disciplines and the award dinner for the new recipient.

About the Greenfield Prize: The Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat is a groundbreaking partnership between the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation and the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Pursuing the mission “to bring into the world works of art that will have a significant impact on the broader or artistic culture,” the prize seeks to identify individuals whose past work and future prospects position them to achieve this lofty and ambitious goal. The prize is awarded annually and includes a $30,000 commission for a new piece of work to be created within a two-year time frame. A residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key in Englewood, Fla., ensures time and space in which to do the work. The Greenfield Prize rotates each year among three artistic areas; drama, music, and theater.

About the Hermitage Artist Retreat: The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, Fla. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival.

About the Greenfield Foundation: The Greenfield Foundation is based in Philadelphia, Pa., but funds charitable initiatives across the country. Its president and most of its trustees are members of the family of Louise and Bob Greenfield of Sarasota, Florida. Its net income, which exceeds $500,000 a year, is devoted to improving quality of life through contributions to not-for-profit institutions in the arts, education, health care and other services. The foundation originates and participates in innovative projects, which have a ripple effect beyond the immediate impact of the expenditures.

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