Faculty, alumna win United States Artists grants

Don Byron

Three current MIT faculty members and an MIT alumna have been named United States Artists (USA) Fellows. The USA grants program supports a diverse array of living American artists in visual, literary, performing, design, media, and crafts and traditional arts.

The USA Fellows are Don Byron, Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor, Maggie Orth (S.M. Visual Studies 1993, Ph.D. Media Arts and Sciences 2001), Nader Tehrani, associate professor of architecture, and Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music,.

Clarinetist and composer Byron is well known for his artful blends of Motown funk, experimental chamber music, klezmer, German lieder, and various forms of jazz, rock and hip-hop in his work and performance. The artistic director of jazz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 1996 to 1999, he has performed with and has been recorded by ensembles such as the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Kronos Quartet. He was named jazz artist of the year by Downbeat magazine in 1992 and received a Grammy Award nomination in 2004.

Orth creates smart textiles, a combination of textiles and computers. A pioneer of electronic textiles, interactive fashions, wearable computing and interface design, Orth designs two-dimensional fabric works that hang on the wall like paintings and change color when prompted by a viewer's touch.

Tehrani and Monica Ponce de Leon founded the Boston-based architecture firm Office dA in 1991. Office dA's work ranges in scale from furniture to urban design, with a focus on architecture, and the partners have designed and built projects around the world. Their rigorous approach to architecture employs both traditional and digital techniques of design and assembly, and their work is characterized by beautifully detailed building skins and powerful interior spaces.

Ziporyn combines Western traditions with Indonesian gamelan, resulting in a cross-cultural musical experience in his work. He also plays the clarinet, bass clarinet and soprano saxophone and is a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. In 1993 he founded Gamelan Galak Tika, a 30-member ensemble made up of MIT students, staff and community members who study and perform traditional and modern Balinese music.

Material from unitedstatesartists.org was used in this article.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 28, 2007 (download PDF).

Topics: Alumni/ae, Arts, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty

Back to the top