Lloyd Richards, Chairman
He is the legendary Director who staged the original production of Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. His name will forever be associated with the Yale Repertory Theatre and the Yale School of Drama, where he was the Artistic Director and Dean from 1979-1991. He is also widely known for his support of the playwright, August Wilson, helping to nurture many of Wilson’s major works such as Fences, Two Trains Running, and The Piano Lesson. He won the Tony Award as the Director of Fences in 1987; he received the National Medal of Arts in 1993, and is the winner of numerous other awards and honors. These days he continues to teach and serves on many Boards and Advisory Committees.
She is a widely acclaimed choreographer, who for many years has pushed the limits of choreography, and in doing so, has changed modern dance forever. Founding her own dance company in 1970, she created dance for numerous alternative spaces. In collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson in the 1980s, she established the unique style that remains a hallmark of her work. Later, turning her attention to classical music, she was invited to choreograph the opera, Carmen. More recently, her production of Orfeo was critically praised as it toured throughout Europe and the U.S. Now, she is collaborating with others, including our prize winner tonight, on a new jazz work. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including a MacArthur fellowship, the Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and many others.
He is one of the foremost composers in the United States. He has composed more than 300 works for symphony orchestra, theater, television, opera, and film. In his early developmental years, he studied with Aaron Copeland and many other icons of the world of music. He has composed scores for Broadway, and concert music for a variety of commissions. His opera, Black Water, was commissioned by the American Music Theater Festival. He has served as music director, composer or conductor for Shakespeare Under the Stars, the Guthrie Theater, the Long Wharf Theatre, the Vivian Beaumont Theater, and for NBC and ABC television. As founder and president of Meet the Composer, he initiated countless programs to advance American music and the careers of American composers. He is currently composing an opera based on the life and times of Muhammad Ali.
He is the author of three novels and many plays staged throughout the United States and abroad. They include The Sorrows of Frederick, Holy Ghosts, Childe Byron, Heathen Valley and 2. For these works, he has won two Obie Awards, two National Critics Awards, Fellowships from the NEA, the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. His short story, The Widow, was chosen for the anthology, Best Short Stories from the South in 2000. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the ensemble Studio Theatre, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and chairman of the playwriting program at the Actors Studio Drama School of the New School University.
He began his museum career at The New Museum of Contemporary Art where he organized many notable cutting-edge exhibitions of challenging work by emerging artists. As a curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, he organized many acclaimed exhibitions, and then as Chief Curator at Hirshhorn Museum, many more important exhibitions, as well as a commissioning program for site-specific work. Then, as Director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, he led the museum through a period of unprecedented growth. He is currently Director of The Menil Collection in Houston and serves on numerous boards and panels, including the board of the American Association of Museums.