American Philosophical Society
Member History

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501. Creative Artists[X]
1Name:  Dr. J. M. Coetzee
 Year Elected:  2006
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1940
   
 
J.M. Coetzee is one of the great novelists now writing in English. Impregnated with an austere moral vision, his novels have explored human dilemmas in settings ranging from imagined antiquity (Waiting for the Barbarians) to his native South Africa in the aftermath of apartheid. His novel The Master of Petersburg is a novelistic recreation of Dostoyevsky's sojourn in St. Petersburg when he went searching for traces of his stepson. His most recent book, Summertime (2009), continues his fictional autobiography from his earlier works, Boyhood and Youth. Dr. Coetzee is also a distinguished critic and essayist with an astonishing command of world literature, as evidenced in Stranger Shores, his collection of essays that appeared in 2002. Much of his critical work has also appeared in The New York Review of Books. Currently residing in Australia, Dr. Coetzee earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 1969; has taught at the State University of New York, Buffalo (1968-71) and the University of Cape Town (1972-2000); and was a member of the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought. His many honors include the Booker Prize (1983, 1999) and the Nobel Prize for Literature (2003). His latest works include the collection Inner Workings: Literary Essays 2000-2005 (2007), the novel Diary of a Bad Year (2007), Here and Now: Letters 2008-2011 (2013), The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy (with A. Kurtz, 2015), The Childhood of Jesus (2013), and The Schooldays of Jesus (2016).
 
2Name:  Ms. Nadine Gordimer
 Year Elected:  2008
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1923
 Death Date:  July 13, 2014
   
 
Author of fourteen novels and eighteen short story collections, Nadine Gordimer has won prodigious acclaim and respect as a writer and activist, both in her native South Africa and abroad. Her works deal with the moral and psychological issues endemic to her racially divided home country, the political tensions that inevitably result, and the ability of citizens to cope with, and overcome, these divisions. In her stories of ordinary South Africans, Gordimer reveals the layers of moral ambiguity and choice that underlie and shape daily life. From her active opposition to South Africa's apartheid government (her books were banned as a result) to her recent explorations of the AIDS crisis and the complexities of post-apartheid society, Gordimer has used her art as a mirror on, and vehicle for change within, South Africa. For these achievements she was recognized with the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, which noted that Gordimer "through her magnificent epic writing has been of very great benefit to humanity". Her most recent book is No Time Like the Present", published in 2012. Nadine Gordimer was elected an international member of the American Philosophical Society in 2008.
 
3Name:  Dr. Seamus Heaney
 Institution:  Harvard University
 Year Elected:  2000
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1939
 Death Date:  August 30, 2013
   
 
Born and educated in Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney is widely recognized as Ireland's greatest poet since William Butler Yeats. His carefully crafted work received international praise for its powerful imagery, meaningful content, musical phrasing and compelling rhythms. In 1996, Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Educated at St. Columb's College and Queen's University in Belfast, he worked as a teacher at college and university level in Belfast in the 1960s, moving with his family to the Irish Republic in 1972. After some years as an independent writer, he resumed work as a college lecturer. In 1982 he began his long association with Harvard University, coming and going for a term each year until 1996. At that time, he resigned the Boylston Professorship to begin a more flexible affiliation as Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence, a position he resigned in 2007. Between 1989 and 1994 he also served as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Since the publication of Death of a Naturalist in 1966, Mr. Heaney produced many works of poetry, criticism and translation. Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996 appeared in 1998 and Finders Keepers, his selected prose, in 2002. Other recent publications include Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (1998) and Electric Light (2001). His version of Sophocles' Antigone, entitled The Burial at Thebes, was produced as part of the Abbey Theatre's centenary celebrations. In 2007 he won the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for his latest collection, District and Circle and in 2009 he won the Royal Irish Academy's Cunningham Medal. Seamus Heaney was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society in 2000. He died on August 30, 2013, at the age of 74, in Dublin.
 
4Name:  Mr. William Kentridge
 Year Elected:  2012
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1955
   
 
William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955 into a Jewish family of political activists, lawyers who took on civil-rights cases against apartheid. He earned a B.A. in politics and African studies and a diploma in fine arts from Johannesburg Art Foundation. Between 1975 and 1991 he was acting and directing in Johannesburg’s Junction Avenue Theatre Company. His early work focused on narrative graphics, sometimes in series reminiscent of comic strips and more recently has developed into a radical fusion of the nature of drawing, print-making, and cinematography in which he photographs a graphic work, alters it, and films it again, creating animate images out of still ones. Traces of what had been erased remain visible, giving a sense of fading memory and the passing of time. His oeuvre addresses political and social themes from a personal viewpoint, often including self-portraits. In a series of nine short films, he introduces characters who reveal the emotional and political struggles affecting the lives of South Africans in the years before and after the abolition of Apartheid. He has directed films, plays and operas; his recent production of Mozart’s Magic Flute was warmly received in New York City. His filmic work, Five Themes, filling the four walls of five large galleries exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and New York was included in the annual Time 100 list of the top people and events of 2009, and was selected as the best museum exhibit of the year by the International Association of Art Critics. Kentridge has been given major exhibitions in the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume and the Albertina museums, and in nine other countries. In 2012 he was awarded with the Centennial Medal of the American Academy in Rome.
 
5Name:  Mr. Riccardo Muti
 Institution:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
 Year Elected:  1989
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1941
   
 
Born in Naples, Italy in 1941, conductor Riccardo Muti is the music director of both the Chicago Symphony and the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. He assumed both posts at the beginning of the 2010-11 season. Maestro Muti previously served as music director of both the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-92) and Milan's La Scala Opera House (1986-2005) during his distinguished career. As a young conductor, he won the Cantelli Prize in 1967 and went on to become principal director and music director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1968-80). Additionally, in 2011, he won the $1 million Birgit Nilsson Prize for his "extraordinary contributions" to the music world. He began regularly conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in London in 1972 and has also been a frequent guest of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics and at the Salzburg Festival, where he is held in high esteem for his performances of Mozart operas. He is also considered to be one of the greatest conductors of the operas of Guiseppe Verdi. Educated at the University of Naples and Verdi Milan Conservatory, Mr. Muti is the recipient of numerous international prizes for recordings and an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music. In 2011, he won the presigious OPERA NEWS Award presented by the Metropolitan Opera Guild as well as the Prince Asturias Prize for Arts and in 2012 he was awarded the McKim Medal by the American Academy in Rome. He was honored by the government of Japan with Order of the Rising Sun Gold and Silver Star in 2016.
 
6Name:  Mr. Orhan Pamuk
 Institution:  Columbia University
 Year Elected:  2018
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1952
   
 
Orhan Pamuk is one of the greatest of living writers. At the age of 23 he decided to devote himself to writing fiction, though in fact he has done very much more. A series of novels has won him worldwide recognition and countless awards, notably the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. He has also written for the stage and screen and his novel Snow was adapted for a staged reading. His international profile and advocacy for human rights and freedom of expression have created challenges for him in his home country. About the time of his Nobel Prize he was tried and acquitted for making "un-Turkish" pronouncements about the Armenian genocide. In addition to his writing, Pamuk has curated a book of photographs of Istanbul, and founded a museum there, the Museum of Innocence. This museum, which displays objects related to his novel of the same name, won the European Museum of the Year Award for 2014. Orhan Pamuk was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2018.
 
7Name:  Mr. Gerhard Richter
 Year Elected:  2012
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1932
   
 
A towering figure in the history of German art, Gerhard Richter is widely regarded as one of the greatest living painters. His retrospectives at MOMA, SFMOMA, and the Hirschhorn (2002) established him as a pivotal figure in modern art. Richter’s immense oeuvre, which includes the great stained glass window in Cologne Cathedral (2007), is characterized by a plurality of means, most notably both photorealist compositions that are blurred in a signature way, and abstract paintings that, in the layered application of their paint surfaces, create spaces different from but analogous to those evoked by his photorealist images. The dialogue between these modes and others (color chart paintings, glass and mirror works, portraits), and the fact of a painter not maintaining a cohesive style, has altered the approach of artists in fashioning an oeuvre. Richter engaged in pivotal reflections on the nature of history, especially German history. His work represented in the exhibition Baader-Meinhof was a milestone in Germany’s "coming to terms with its past." Richter has encouraged artists of several generations likewise to think of painting as a vital art form that not only reflects on the human condition but that can change history. Richter’s work is instantly recognizable: the haunting blurred landscapes, evocations of a latter-day Romanticism, are unique in the history of art, and yet, within the context of the artist’s oeuvre, and through the detachment that the blurring effects and that the photo source implies, these images transcend personal expression. Art historically, Richter represents a profound local (i.e., German or European) response to Abstract Expressionism. Rooted in his biography (WWII experience, formation in the former GDR, emigration to West Germany, engagement in late 1960s agitations, etc.), his works profoundly revise the central directions that painting has taken since the 1960s. Richter’s oeuvre motivates a set of pivotal narratives about the history of modern and contemporary art.
 
8Name:  Ms. Mitsuko Uchida
 Institution:  Marlboro Music Festival, Vermont
 Year Elected:  2003
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1948
   
 
Mitsuko Uchida is one of the world's most renowned pianists. Born to a family of Japanese diplomats, she spent most of her life in various European capitals. At the age of 15, she gave her first public recital in the Brahms Hall in Vienna. Her recordings of Mozart's complete piano sonatas and concertos in the 1980s rank among the most sensitive and profound interpretations of Mozart's keyboard music. She has since set similar milestones for the piano music of Schubert and Schoenberg. Ms. Uchida has been an inspired artistic director at the Marlboro Festival since 2000 and at the Ojai Festival in California in earlier years. She lectures frequently on music and performing arts. She is deeply interested in musical history and musicology, and that interest is integrated in her performances. In 2015 she was awarded the Praemium Imperiale, Japan's highest cultural honor. She has won two Grammy awards: one for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance in 2011 and one for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album in 2017.
 
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