By Maria Rocha-Buschel
When Third Street Music School Settlement composition teacher Matthew Barnson got a response to his application to be a Guggenheim fellow, he wasn’t sure at first if he should be thrilled or crushed.
“They send you a very cryptic letter saying you haven’t won anything,” he said. “But then it asks, if you did win, what would your budget be?”
The 35-year-old musician said he asked for insight from a faculty member at Stony Brook University, where he also teaches, because she had received the fellowship a few years ago. She told him that it meant he had won.
Barnson is the first currently serving faculty member of the community music school to become a Guggenheim fellow, although he noted that there have been former faculty members from Third Street who later became fellows after leaving their post at the school.
The fellowship was awarded to 175 recipients chosen this year from a pool of more than 3,000 applicants and is given to scholars and artists to help them engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts.