Rhiannon Giddens. Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced its 2024 music award winners, including this year’s Virgil Thomson Award recipient, Rhiannon Giddens.

Rhiannon Giddens has made a singular, iconic career out of stretching her brand of folk music, with its miles-deep historical roots and contemporary sensibilities, into just about every field imaginable. A two-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer and instrumentalist, MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient, and composer of opera, ballet, and film, Giddens has centered her work around the mission of lifting up people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been overlooked or erased, and advocating for a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins through art.

As Pitchfork once said, “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration”—a journey that has led to NPR naming her one of its 25 Most Influential Women Musicians of the 21st Century and to American Songwriter calling her “one of the most important musical minds currently walking the planet.”

Endowed by the Virgil Thomson Foundation and administered by the Academy, the Virgil Thomson Award in Vocal Music recognizes an exceptional American composer of vocal works and has been awarded biennially since 2014. The award was established to honor Thomson, who was elected to the Academy in 1948 where he actively served on committees, as Treasurer, and delivered the 1960 Blashfield address.

The full list of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ 2024 music awards can be found at the link below. For more about Rhiannon Giddens, visit her website here.

American Academy of Arts and Letters 2024 Music Awards

Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

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