Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash has been announced as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal. Presented by the MacDowell Colony, the award recognises creative individuals for their outstanding contribution to American culture.
Each year since 1960, the awards committee picks one recipient and one presentation speaker who is familiar with the winner’s work. Individuals are chosen from one of several rotating artistic disciplines, including music, theatre, writing, architecture, visual arts and film. Cash joins a hallowed group of musical artists, including jazz icon Sonny Rollins (2010), Leonard Bernstein (1987) and Stephen Sondheim (2013). Other recipients include author Toni Morrison, director David Lynch and playwright Edward Albee.
The eldest daughter of foundational musician Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash is a best-selling artist and writer in her own right, having released 14 studio albums, including her 1981 No.1 country album, Seven Year Ache.
The four-time Grammy Award winner has found crossover success throughout her career, with releases that span pop, folk, Americana and country. Cash’s most recent release, She Remembers Everything, was released in 2018 on the hallowed Blue Note Records.
In an official statement, the artist shared that she was “Profoundly humbled” to be among the past honourees. She added that “I do not place myself in any way equal, but I accept this honour with deepest gratitude, as an encouragement to do my best work, and in the service of future inspiration. My heart is full with this precious recognition”.
Music critic and author Greil Marcus, who chaired the committee which awarded Cash this year’s medal, said, “From the shockingly intimate timbre of Seven Year Ache in 1981 to the reflective darkness of She Remembers Everything 37 years later, as a composer, singer, and someone who can, in a sense, summon ambience, Rosanne Cash has distinguished herself from her contemporaries as she has escaped the weight of her celebrated forebears”.
Cash will be formally honoured in an August 2021 ceremony.