American pianist Cecil Taylor who is celebrating his 84th birthday this year is this year’s Kyoto prize winner, an honor awarded by the Inamori Foundation.
“One of the most original pianists in the history of free jazz, Mr. Cecil Taylor has developed his innovative improvisation departing from conventional idioms through distinctive musical constructions and percussive renditions, thereby opening new possibilities in jazz. His unsurpassed virtuosity and strong will inject an intense, vital force into his music, which has exerted a profound influence on a broad range of musical genres” says the official release by the foundation regarding the announcement of this year’s laureates.
The Kyoto Prize is similar to the European Nobel Prize. It is being given to individuals for their outstanding contribution to scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of mankind. The prize is being awarded every November in Kyoto where the laureates receive a 20 K gold medal and a prize money of 50 million Yen, approx 515.000 $.
Former recipients of this prize are musicians and composers like Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, György Ligeti, Pierre Boulez, Witold Lutoslawski and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.