Musicologist Richard Taruskin awarded ‘Japanese Nobel’


(JTA) — Musicologist Richard Taruskin has been awarded a 2017 Kyoto Prize, the Japanese Nobel.

Taruskin, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of the six-volume “The Oxford History of Western Music” (2004). In a much-talked-about essay in 1989, he described composer Igor Stravinsky’s fascist and anti-Semitic tendencies in the 1930s, and later criticized John Adams’ opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” for idealizing terrorists.

The Inamori Foundation, which confers the prize, said in its announcement Friday that Taruskin “has pioneered a new dimension in Western music culture through musicology research that transcends conventional historiographical methodologies, issuing sharp critical analysis backed by exhaustive knowledge of many diverse fields.”

Taruskin is the first music laureate to be a researcher of musicology. Previous laureates in the field were either composers or performers.

The honor comes with a cash prize of 50 million yen, or about $450,000.

The Kyoto Prize is an international award that recognizes major contributors to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of mankind, according to its website. The prize is presented annually in three categories: advanced technology, basic sciences, and arts and philosophy.

The presentation ceremony will be held Nov. 10 in Kyoto, Japan.

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