Updated March 27 at 8:27pm

RIF makes MacColl Johnson choices


PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded three MacColl Johnson Fellowships to local musicians. Brian Knoth, Daniel Schleifer and Sidy Maiga will receive $25,000 each to help fund their “vision or voice.”

The Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund was established with the Rhode Island Foundation in 2003 to help emerging to mid-career artists further work that demonstrates “exceptional creativity, rigorous dedication through consistent artistic practice, and significant artistic merit.”

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $550,000 to 21 composers, writers and artists since the fund’s inception, with recipients each year coming in one discipline. The Fellowships to be awarded next year are slated for work in the literary arts.

“The Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowships are among the largest offered in the United States and provide significant financial support that enables artists to further their work,” Daniel Kertzner, RIF’s vice president for grant programs said in a prepared statement. “The Fellowships enable Rhode Island artists to focus more time and resources on the creative process and contribute to their professional development.”

The 2011 MacColl Johnson Fellows:

  • Brian Knoth is a Providence-based composer and multimedia artist who earned his Ph.D. from Brown University in computer music and multimedia composition. He plans to use his $25,000 fellowship to fund a variety of different projects, including work involving a dancer and interactive computer music and multimedia system.

    “First and foremost, the fellowship will allow me to focus more of my energy on actual artistic work,” said Knoth. “The impact that an intensive year of artistic work will have on my professional growth will be immeasurable.”

  • Daniel Schleifer, also of Providence, plans to use the fellowship award to expand his current body of compositions, recordings and performances. “I also plan to mentor and cultivate younger musicians and grow my professional reputation in three interrelated networks: Rhode Island’s arts scene; the global community of brass bands; and the independent music scene,” added Schleifer.

  • Sidy Maiga is a djembe dummer and teacher who lives in Pawtucket but is originally from Mali. He plans to use his funding to travel and work with a group of American and African musicians and produce a second CD.

    “My career is about drawing people together from many diverse backgrounds to create music that bridges the gaps that separate us,” said Sidy, who has performed since he was 16 years old.


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