The 2013 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, who were announced Tuesday evening, feature a distinguished honor roll of 24 recipients in various fields of study. Among the recipients this year are several artists, including pianist Jeremy Denk, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and ballet choreographer Alexei Ratmansky.
Recipients of the award -- known informally as the MacArthur "genius" grant -- each will receive a stipend of $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years. The stipend represents an increase from last year's sum of $500,000 spread over five years.
The foundation underwent a program review earlier this year during which organizers approved the increase in the stipend amount.
This year's fellows range in age from 32 to 60.
Denk, whose piano career has taken him around the globe, said in a phone interview from New York that he learned that he'd won the fellowship three weeks ago. "They caught me at the gym on the stair master," he said.
The pianist said that he hopes the fellowship will give him more time to "learn more pieces without having to perform all the time." He said he also plans to devote more time to writing, including his personal blog.