Taruskin accepts Kyoto Prize in Japan

UC Berkeley emeritus professor of music Richard Taruskin accepted a Kyoto Prize in arts and philosophy last week from the Inamori Foundation for his contributions to the study, performance and critical discourse of early music, modern Russian music and Western music history.

He noted that he was the first musicologist to receive an award that, when given to musicians in the past, has gone to composers and performers. Taruskin went on to say that an effective musicologist must be a trained musician as well as a trained scholar.

Professor Richard Taruskin receives the Kyoto Prize medal from Inamori Foundation Chairman Hiroo Imura. (Photo courtesy of the Inamori Foundation.)

Past Kyoto Prize recipients from the music field include composer John Cage and jazz musician Cecil Taylor, both of the United States. Computer theorist Richard Karp of UC Berkeley, also a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, won the prize in 2008 in its advanced technology category.

Taruskin expressed gratitude for the honor, which he said provides encouragement and an incentive to be worthy of the prize.

The Kyoto Prize is an international award to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of mankind. It is presented annually by the non-profit Inamori Foundation in the categories of advanced technology, basic sciences and arts and philosophy. The prize is accompanied by a cash prize and a a 20-karat gold medal.

The 2017 laureates were honored during the 33rd Kyoto Prize week, November 8-17, which featured an awards ceremony, commemorative lectures and workshops.