For the fourth straight year, Joan DeVee Dixon, associate professor of music at Frostburg State University, has won an Individual Artist Award in Solo Instrumental Performance from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC).
"It is an incredible honor to be selected for this award four times in a row," she says. "As an artist, you spend countless hours practicing and working by yourself in order to maintain your skills and develop new programs. As an individual artist, it is wonderful to be recognized for the quality of your work."
This year Dixon submitted a CD of spirituals that she recorded on the piano in January of 2003 at FSU. In the past she submitted a live performance of works by George Rochberg, a recording of Psalms for organ and Volume 3 of her Diemer Psalms for organ. Applicants may submit a live recording or a previously released CD, as long as the work is not more than two years old and has not been submitted anywhere else. Out-of-state judges listen to the pieces and judge them on an anonymous basis. The grants are awarded solely on the basis of artistic merit.
The MSAC has several different grant programs. “Maryland is one of a few states that has an individual artist program,” Dixon says.
Dixon received a $1,000 award for her performance on the piano. Winners may use the money any way they want, but they must send a letter at the end of the year telling the MSAC how they spent it. Dixon says that on a field trip last year to the MSAC, the staff there told Dixon’s students that one artist used the money to pay for a plumber. “The money helps the artists do what they’re doing,” she says, which is why the Council does not place restrictions on the money’s use. In the past Dixon has used her grant money to fund CD projects and further her professional development.
Dixon has released 8 CDs, 3 on the piano and 5 on the organ. They are available on her Web site, www.joandeveedixon.com. She has performed all over the world, and is planning on a tour in England this August.