News Jazz bassist Christian McBride receives Wigmore Medal
20/07/2023 17:30 in Music

On Monday, July 17, 2023, Christian McBride, the acclaimed American jazz bassist, composer, educator, and bandleader, received the prestigious Wigmore Medal during a performance at London's iconic Wigmore Hall. As an associate artist at the venue, McBride was presented with the award by Matthew Palmer, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in London, and Wigmore Hall director John Gilhooly, in recognition of his exceptional musical talent and close relationship with Wigmore Hall.

Over his illustrious career spanning three decades, McBride has earned six Grammy Awards. Originally from Philadelphia, he ventured to New York in 1989 to pursue classical studies at the Juilliard School and was quickly enlisted by saxophonist Bobby Watson to perform on the road. Through numerous recording sessions and collaborations with a diverse array of musicians, McBride emerged as a respected educator and advocate, notably speaking on 'Racism in the Performing Arts' during former President Bill Clinton's town hall meeting in 1997.

Receiving the Wigmore Medal, McBride expressed his awe upon first setting foot in the hallowed Wigmore Hall in 2013 and how the subsequent decade fostered an unexpected and meaningful bond with the venue. The bassist's profound influence in jazz on a global scale was acknowledged by Palmer, highlighting his efforts to promote diversity in the arts and inspire musicians from all backgrounds, bringing the United Kingdom and the United States closer together through the unifying power of music.

Having debuted at Wigmore Hall alongside saxophonist Joshua Redman in 2013, McBride returned for performances with his Trio and The Christian McBride Jazz Series in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Designated a Wigmore Hall associate artist in 2021, he has collaborated with renowned musicians like jazz pianist Chick Corea, operatic soprano Renée Fleming, composer and double-bassist Edgar Meyer, and the folk duo Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi. Notably, McBride is scheduled to grace the Wigmore Hall stage again on Wednesday, July 17, 2024.

Established in 2007, the Wigmore Medal celebrates outstanding musicians of international acclaim with a close association to Wigmore Hall. Previous recipients include German baritone Matthias Goerne, cellist Steven Isserlis, and the Takács Quartet, among others. Piano virtuoso Mitsuko Uchida and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani were awarded the medal in 2021 and 2022, respectively, marking McBride as the latest luminary to join this esteemed list of exceptional artists.

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