Punch Brothers' Chris Thile Is a Genius
  • TUESDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2012

  • Posted by: Andrew Gruttadaro

I guess this means that what many suspected is true: Chris Thile, mandolinist and composer of the bluegrass band Punch Brothers, is a genius. Today it was announced that Thile is one of 23 recipients to be awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation genius grant. The nomination process is so shrouded in mystery that award-winners are not even notified of their nominations until they've actually won.

So when Thile kept receiving calls from a 312 area code, he had no reason to suspect it was half a million dollars on the other end. That is, until his tour manager looked into the number and discovered it belonged to the MacArthur Foundation.

"I think I must have turned white," Thile told Bloomberg Businessweek, "I've never felt so internally warm."

So on the week that Grizzly Bear makes the cover of New York Magazine with the headline, "Is Rock Stardom Any Way to Make a Living," a musician is awarded $500,000. Congratulations, Sir Genius Thile.

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