Pittsburgh Composer Benjamin Barson Receives the ASCAP Foundation 2017 Fred Ho Award

June 28, 2017

NEW YORK, June 28, 2017: The ASCAP Foundation is pleased to announce Benjamin Barson as the recipient of this year’s Fred Ho Award. Barson is being recognized as an innovative composer whose work defies boundaries and genres. His selection honors the spirit of visionary composer, saxophonist, writer and activist Fred Ho.

Benjamin Barson is a composer, baritone saxophonist, historian, and political activist. He was mentored by Mr. Ho in baritone saxophone technique and composition and partnered with him to produce several mixed media musical projects just shortly before Ho’s passing in April 2014.

A resident of Pittsburgh, Barson and his wife Gizelxanath Rodriguez run the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, an ensemble combining Ho's Afro-Asian political and musical influences, and the music of the Yaqui of northern Mexico. Barson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh's Jazz Studies program, where he carries out investigative research supporting Fred Ho's theory that the music of the African diaspora has been a social force for the liberation of oppressed peoples across the world. More info on Barson can be found at http://benbarsonmusic.com.

The ASCAP Foundation Fred Ho Award was established as a gift from Flora, Florence, and (Mrs.) Frances Houn, Melanie West and Ann T. Greene in honor of Fred Ho. The award supports and encourages the innovative musical work of emerging artists with limited financial resources. It is meant to help pay for travel to a performance of recipient’s work, hiring of musicians or other career-related expenses connected to the award recipient’s own original work. More info is available at: https://www.ascapfoundation.org/ascapfoundation/programs/awards/fred-ho-award.

Fred Ho (1957-2014) was well-known for his work in African American music and was part of the Asian American and avant-garde jazz movements. During his nearly three-decade career, he helped innovate a new American multicultural music. His works have been featured at Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival among many other distinguished presenters and venues. He received awards, fellowships and honors from the National Endowment for the Arts for Opera-Musical Theater and Jazz Composition, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, the Harvard Arts Medal, the American Music Center (which is now New Music USA), Chamber Music America, New York Foundation for the Arts and the Duke Ellington Distinguished Artists Lifetime Achievement Award.

About The ASCAP Foundation

Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org


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Press Contact:

ASCAP – Cathy Nevins