Noam Pikelny Wins Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass

Written by September 21st, 2010 at 12:41 pm

from the press release:

NASHVILLE, TN – Compass Records artist Noam Pikelny has been announced as the winner of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Pikelny, together with Steve Martin and Punch Brothers, is scheduled to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman on November 4th.

Pikelny was selected to win the award, which includes an unrestricted cash prize of fifty-thousand dollars, funded by the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation, by a board consisting of Earl Scruggs, Alison Brown, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Neil V. Rosenberg, Bela Fleck, and Steve Martin.

Noam Pikelny has soared as the premiere banjo player of his generation. The Chicago Tribune has hailed him as the “pros’ top banjo picker.” Board member Pete Wernick says, “I especially like that the first prize recipient was someone in his twenties with a great feel for both the traditional and the experimental. The board of the Prize had no trouble finding consensus on Noam as the first recipient.”

Pikelny was extremely honored to receive the award. “My hat is off to Steve Martin and the board of directors for their ingenuity and generosity. They have created an accolade without precedent in acoustic music. I expect that this prize will fuel creativity and inspiration amongst acoustic musicians for years to come. I extend my deepest gratitude Steve and the board for this recognition, as well as to everyone else who has been supportive of me and my music. And an incredibly special thank you to the members of Punch Brothers.”

Pikelny’s first solo album In the Maze was released on Compass Records in 2004 to critical acclaim. Since that time, he has toured with a wide array of artists in the acoustic world including Colorado-based Leftover Salmon and vocalist John Cowan of Newgrass Revival fame. In 2006, Noam was recruited by mandolinist, Chris Thile, for his How to Grow a Woman from the Ground album, eventually leading to the formation of Punch Brothers. Pikelny currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and his most recent work can be heard on the Punch Brothers’ Antifogmatic released this year on Nonesuch Records.

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