Classical Music Legend, Yo-Yo Ma, Wins 2013 Vilcek Prize for Contemporary Music

Samuel Bazawule - Originally from Ghana, Bazawule is more than just a musician: He is a cultural emissary, as his stage name, Blitz the Ambassador, indicates. Blitz infuses an African sensibility into his music as an MC, producer, and composer. He is backed by a horn section, the Embassy Ensemble, and raps fluently in English and Twi, a dialect of Ghana. The 30 year-old has released two albums and one live EP, the most recent being the well-reviewed Native Sun. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists, such as Les Nubians, Chuck D, Shad, and Corneille. Blitz wrote and co-directed a short film as an accompaniment to his Native Sun album, of the same name, which was a selection of the Brooklyn ActNow Film Festival.

Tigran - The Armenian-born pianist, composer, and vocalist Tigran draws upon a wide range of influences for his music. Although trained as a classical and jazz musician, he is just as inspired by Armenian folk music, Indian classical music, beatboxing, funk, poetry, and more. Despite being only 25 years old, Tigran has cultivated an international presence, having won first place at the Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition, and second place at the Martial Solal International Jazz Competition, in 2006, and a French Grammy Award in 2011, among other honors. He has recorded five albums; his most widely known album, A Fable, was released in 2011, and is a solo collection of rhythmic and harmonic experimentation that is an original blend of Armenian folk music and jazz traditions.

The recipients were selected by independent juries composed of leading experts in the music profession, representing institutions such as Universal Music, NYU Clive Davis School of Recorded Music, XXL Magazine, and The Archive of Contemporary Music.

The prizes will be presented at an awards Ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City in April 2013. Bob Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, will present the music prizes. In addition to prizes in the arts, the Vilcek Foundation also awards prizes in the field of biomedical science. For more information on the Vilcek Prizes, please visit

The Vilcek Foundation
The Vilcek Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences.

SOURCE The Vilcek Foundation

Classical Music Legend, Yo-Yo Ma, Wins 2013 Vilcek Prize for Contemporary Music