Punch Brothers mandolinist and vocalist Chris
Thile is one of the 23 newest recipients named to receive “genius grants” from the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T.
According to the foundation’s website, “Through his adventurous, multifaceted artistry as both
a composer and performer with various ensembles, Thile is creating a distinctly American canon for the mandolin and a new
musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.”
In addition to his current band, he is known for his solo work
and as a former member of Nickel Creek. A California native, he attended
college in Kentucky and now resides in the New York City area.
Thile, 31, told the New York Daily News he thought
he had received a prank phone call Monday (Oct. 1) when he was told he will be receiving an annual grant of $100,000 for the
next five years. Others named as MacArthur Fellows for 2012 include an array of writers, photographers, graphic artists and
As for the financial windfall, Thile told the Daily News, “Most of it, I will boringly sock away.
But I do have a fun, indulgent thing I will do. A new old mandolin just came on the market, and I think I’m going to have
to pick it up.”
The instrument is a 1925 Gibson F-5, a model and vintage that routinely sell for as much as $150,000
to $200,000. “There were about 200 made,” he said. “They’re far rarer than a Stradivarius [violin].”