I am pleased to announce the winner of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, the incredible Noam Pikelny. Noam is the extraordinary banjoist for the Punch Brothers, playing not only traditional bluegrass, but classical, rock and jazz oriented music. He is a player of unlimited range and astonishing precision. We congratulate him on this honor.
This award has been created to bring recognition to an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music. It is hoped that by highlighting the extraordinary musicianship of these artists, that bluegrass, and bluegrass-related music will enjoy an increased appreciation world-wide.
The recipients should be a person or group who has given us a fresh appreciation of this music, either through artistry, composition, innovation or preservation. They should be professional or semi-professional, should be currently active in their careers and deserving of a wider audience.
The honoree will receive an unrestricted cash prize of fifty-thousand dollars, as well as a bronze sculpture created expressly for the prize by noted artist Eric Fischl.
The award is determined through a private process by a board consisting of Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Alison Brown, Neil V. Rosenberg, Bela Fleck and Steve Martin. The award is funded personally by the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation.