Fairport High School grad Vijay Iyer awarded genius grant

08:26 AM, Sep 25, 2013

Vijay Iyer has received a genius grant. (Jimmyy Katz)/


Fairport High School graduate and acclaimed jazz pianist Vijay Iyer has been named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.

With the designation comes the no-strings-attached genius grant, this year $625,000, up from $500,000. MacArthur Fellows are named because they are transforming their fields with new ideas and projects.

The son of Indian immigrants, Iyer was born in Albany and raised in Fairport. He played in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and took improvisation and music theory courses at Eastman School of Music while in high school. Iyer, 41, then studied math and physics at Yale and the University of California at Berkeley.

Iyer, who played at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival in 2004, was named artist of the year in 2012 by the most respected publication in jazz music, Down Beat magazine. The Vijay Iyer Trio’s Accelerando received the jazz album of the year, Iyer pianist of the year and the trio group of the year, the first time in the magazine’s 60-year history that one musician or group has won five of the awards.