American Jazz Bassist Christian McBride Awarded Wigmore Medal

Tue 18 Jul 2023

Christian McBride, the American jazz bassist, composer, educator and bandleader, was awarded the Wigmore Medal last night (Monday 17 July) during a performance at Wigmore Hall.

McBride, an Associate Artist at the venue, was presented with the award by Matthew Palmer, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in London, and Wigmore Hall Director John Gilhooly. The award honours exceptional musicians of international standing who have developed a close relationship with Wigmore Hall.

Matthew Palmer, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in London, said:

Christian McBride is an extraordinary practitioner of, and representative for, the art of jazz on a global stage. This uniquely American form of music has always defied labels, pushed boundaries, and reflected the incredible diversity of the American people. What makes Christian such a worthy recipient of the Wigmore Medal, beyond his obvious and precocious talent, is how he has worked to promote diversity in the arts and to teach and inspire musicians from all backgrounds. His popularity in the United Kingdom and particularly at Wigmore Hall is a reminder of the power of music to transcend national borders and bring our two countries closer together.

Christian McBride, said:

Walking into the hallowed space that is Wigmore Hall for the first time in 2013 was a wonder to behold. I was not expecting to eventually develop and maintain a relationship with Wigmore over the next decade. To be officially indoctrinated into a hall that has featured such legendary artists is humbling.

John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall, said:

One of the most outstanding musicians working today in any field, Christian McBride has been a vital figure for the jazz community for decades, but his boundless musicality touches music across genres, from R&B to rock & pop, hip hop and classical music. His dynamic, virtuoso performances have captivated audiences worldwide, not least at Wigmore Hall where he has brought in new audiences through his own innovative series of concerts and collaborations with artists from across the musical spectrum. The Wigmore Medal celebrates the great musicians who have become part of the Hall’s story, and our award to Christian couldn’t be more richly deserved.

A jazz-world luminary, and one of today’s most celebrated and versatile musicians, McBride has won eight GRAMMYS® and worked with jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall and Wynton Marsalis as well as pop, hip-hop, soul and classical musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Isaac Hayes, Queen Latifah, Kathleen Battle, and James Brown. McBride also works extensively in jazz education and advocacy and has campaigned against racism in the arts.

McBride’s first appearance at Wigmore Hall was with saxophonist Joshua Redman in 2013, returning two years later with his Trio and in 2016 for The Christian McBride Jazz Series. He became a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist in 2021 and has collaborated at Wigmore Hall with leading musicians including jazz pianist Chick Corea, operatic soprano Renée Fleming, the composer and double-bassist Edgar Meyer and the folk duo Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi. His next appearance at Wigmore Hall is on Wednesday 17 July, 2024.

McBride joins an illustrious list of Wigmore Medal recipients since the award was inaugurated in 2007, including pianists Angela Hewitt, Brad Mehldau and Mitsuko Uchida, bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff and the Takács String Quartet.

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