Another Year, Another Genius

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Yesterday, while you were skipping class and sleeping in, the MacArthur Foundation announced this year’s 22 Genius Grant recipients, and┬áColumbia graduate Alisa Weilerstein is one of them. A member of the Class of 2004, Weilerstein started playing the cello when she was four years old and debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra at just 13.┬áThe Foundation describes her as ÔÇťa young cellist whose emotionally┬áresonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition.ÔÇŁ In other words, you are a complete failure in comparison to Alisa.

The MacArthur Genius Grants are awarded based upon anonymous nominations, and when Weilerstein heard the news, she was taken completely by surprise.

“I wrote kind of a rude email back because I really thought it was spam,” she says. Finally she contacted the MacArthur official, who had to explain to her exactly what the award was and told her that someone she knew “very well” has won the grant.

“Like a total idiot, I said, ‘who?’ And he said, ‘Well, you.’ I was in complete shock. I screamed and everything. I think they were highly amused.”


Along with the luxury of being called a genius, all Genius Grant recipients receive $500,000 in cold, hard cash.

Image from MacArthur Foundation

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  1. Anonymous  

    ugh. I bet she's really nice and has a well-adjusted outlook on life too.

  2. Sarcastic  

    Seriously. What a bitch.

  3. Anonymous  

    What is a cello prodigy going to do with $500,000?

  4. Anonymous

    she could pay for 1/8 of an Amati cello!

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