BMI is saddened by the loss of uniquely inventive pianist, composer and educator, Muhal Richard Abrams. Abrams, who in addition to being the first recipient of the prestigious Danish JAZZPAR Award proving his global success, was also celebrated many, many times in the U.S.: in 2010, by both the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, as well as by DownBeat in their prestigious Jazz Hall of Fame; and in 2008, with the honor of being selected as a Prudential Fellow by United States Artists.
Along with these prestigious accolades, which also included Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley issuing a proclamation declaring April 11, 1999, to be Muhal Richard Abrams Day, the highly-respected innovator was also dedicated to advancing the jazz genre in all of its eclectic grandeur. As a co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Abrams also founded the AACM School of Music, where he served as president of the New York Chapter. In addition, Abrams taught at Columbia University, Syracuse University, Stanford University, Mills College, University of California and the New England Conservatory, as well as in Finland, Canada, and Italy. Abrams also honored BMI by lending his extensive talents to the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, for which we will always be grateful.
We will miss Muhal Richard Abrams, both for his own mark on musical history and for his nurturing of others to make their contributions. Our sincere condolences go out to his family from his many friends at BMI.