Peabody composer Oscar Bettison wins prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship

Video: Peabody Institute

Peabody composer Oscar Bettison has been named a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow. He was one of 173 fellows selected from an applicant pool of almost 3,000.

Oscar Bettison

Image caption: Oscar Bettison

Image credit: Heiko Geerts

Bettison has served in the Peabody Institute's composition department since 2009. His music has been featured and reviewed in the Los Angeles Times; The New York Times; and in the British, Dutch, and Italian press. His works have been played on radio throughout the U.S., Australia, Britain, The Netherlands, and Brazil.

Bettison works with what he calls "Cinderella instruments"—new percussion instruments he develops, such as his wrench xylophone, or other instruments he re-imagines, including his composition featuring tuning forks.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was founded in 1925 by U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife as a memorial to their son. Fellowships assist scholars and artists in pursuing research in any field of knowledge or arts, under what the foundation calls "the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed." Fellows are appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

"These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best," said Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation, in a statement accompanying the announcement of the 2017 fellows. "Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we're thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group."

Also recognized among the 2017 Guggenheim Fellows were Johns Hopkins alums Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, an associate professor of Late Modern European History at the University of California, Berkeley who received his MA at Johns Hopkins in 1993; and Deborah Rudacille, a writer who earned an MA in science writing from JHU's Writing Seminars in 1998.