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Announcement
October 4, 2022

Pamela Z awarded Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

[1] Photo: Valerie Oliveiro. [2] Photo: L. Barry Hetherington/MIT. [3] Photo: Mark Poucher.

Pamela Z awarded 2022 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. Interdisciplinary artist Pamela Z is the recipient of the 2022 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The 100K USD prize awarded at a gala in her honor also includes an artist residency at MIT in fall 2022, during which Pamela Z will present a concert on April 19, 2023 and lecture / demonstration on April 20, 2023.

Composer, performer, and interdisciplinary artist Pamela Z is known for her use of custom music technology, activated by physical gesture, in exploring deeply personal themes in abstract and evocative ways. Her work, which she has toured to major festivals and venues worldwide, incorporates voice, electronic processing, sampled sounds, and video.

Pamela Z’s remarks upon receiving the award:

"It’s a tremendous honor to receive the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. As an artist whose work crosses disciplines and relies on integrating new technologies, I’m delighted by this kind of recognition from such a prestigious and innovative institution. I’ve had the privilege of visiting MIT in the past and interacting with their Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), and I’m thrilled to be invited back to accept this distinguished Award."

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates individuals whose artistic trajectory reveals that they will achieve the highest distinction in their fields and continue to produce inspiring work for many years to come. The 100,000 USD prize represents an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement. The official announcement was made at the Council for the Arts at MIT’s 49th annual meeting at MIT on Sept 30, 2022 and Pamela Z will be presented with the award at a gala in her honor on April 20, 2023. Past recipients include Thomas Heatherwick, Audra McDonald, David Adjaye, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Lepage Gustavo Dudamel, Bill Viola, Suzan Lori Parks and Santiago Calatrava, among others.

From MIT Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History Philip S. Khoury: “We look forward to welcoming Pamela Z and presenting her with MIT’s highest award in the arts. More than 1,700 students participate in our music classes and ensembles each year. Her pioneering work will be an inspiration, especially for the large number of students interested in electronic music and digital instrument design. Their creativity is supported by the Voxel Lab for digital music and visual arts innovation and the new music building under construction.”

Campus residency and public programs
A distinctive feature of the Award is a short residency at MIT, which includes a public presentation of the artist’s work, substantial interaction with students and faculty, and a gala that convenes national and international leaders in the arts. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient with unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research at the Institute and to develop mutually enlightening relationships in the MIT community.

Pamela Z will present two public programs at MIT:
Concert: April 19, 2023 / Artist lecture/demonstration: April 20, 2023. Further information about the public programs will be posted here.

About the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts
The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT was established in 1974 by Margaret McDermott (1912–2018) in honor of her husband, Eugene McDermott (1899–1973), a co-founder of Texas Instruments and long-time friend and benefactor of MIT. The award is presented by the Council for the Arts at MIT.

The award is bestowed upon individuals whose artistic trajectory and body of work have achieved the highest distinction in their field and indicate they will remain leaders for years to come. The award recognizes innovative talents in any arts discipline and offers its recipient a 100,000 USD cash prize and a campus residency. The McDermott Award reflects MIT’s commitment to risk-taking, problem solving, and connecting creative minds across disciplines.

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