Baltimore-based pedal-steel innovator Susan Alcorn and Poughkeepsie-based multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee are the first recipients of the Instant Award in Improvised Music, an unrestricted prize of $50,000 administered by the Chicago-based art gallery and record label Corbett vs. Dempsey for a new organization called the Horse With No Name, which was formed by the funder of the prize who wishes to remain anonymous.
As Peter Margasak reported in The Chicago Reader:
The honor … is the first of its kind celebrating improvised music. Major awards such as the MacArthur Fellowship or the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts have occasionally gone to musicians who work extensively in improvisation, … but never has such a lofty prize focused exclusively on the practice.
“The selection process is private, but involves an independent committee chosen by the patron,” says gallery co-owner John Corbett. “The aim of the prize is to award specific musicians and to support improvised music in general as an art form.”
Molly Sheridan spoke to Susan Alcorn for NewMusicBox in 2014: