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American Banjo Museum Partners with Steve Martin

ABM Staff - Thursday, April 04, 2019

The American Banjo Museum is excited to be partnering with actor, comedian and banjo player, Steve Martin, for a very special upcoming event in New York City.
Since its first presentation in 2010 to Noam Pikelny of The Punch Brothers, the annual announcement of the winner of the Steve Martin Prize For Excellence In Banjo & Bluegrass has been a highly anticipated event in the banjo world. Not to be confused with American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame recognition, Martin personally conceived this award to bring recognition to an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music. Recipients receive an unrestricted cash prize of fifty-thousand dollars (funded personally by Martin) as well as a bronze sculpture created by noted artist Eric Fischl.

While early winners appeared with Martin on the Late Show with David Letterman where the award was presented, since that show went off the air in 2015 there has been no public presentation of the award. This will change in September when the ABM and Steve Martin partner to produce a live concert event surrounding the presentation of the 2019 Steve Martin Prize to a still undisclosed recipient. “The next stage of the Banjo Prize is underway!” Martin commented, adding “We are so excited to be joining with the American Banjo Museum for the next era of the Banjo Prize. We couldn’t be happier.”

Planned for Thursday, September 19th at the Town Hall Theater in New York City, the concert will be hosted by Steve Martin and will feature musical performances by award recipients – both past and present - as well as Martin himself. Also on hand will be members of Martin’s board of directors which is responsible for the annual selection of a person or group who brings to the public a fresh appreciation of the banjo either through artistry, composition, innovation or preservation. Prize recipients, typically active professional or semi-professional artists, are notable for their extraordinary musicianship as well as their contributions to bluegrass music worldwide.

“We’re thrilled to work with Steve Martin on this project,” said Johnny Baier, the American Banjo Museum executive director. “After being inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2015, Steve has been a champion for not only the banjo, but our museum as well. Although beloved as an actor and comedian, he is, without a doubt, one of the most influential banjo players of our generation.”

With details regarding specific performers still in the works, save the date – September 19th - when The American Banjo Museum presents the Steve Martin Award For Excellence In Banjo & Bluegrass will take place at the Town Hall Theater in New York City. Promoted by Live Nation, tickets will go on sale Memorial Day weekend.

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