Music Department Chair Adrian Anantawan was named one of the Kennedy Center’s Next 50, a group of 50 artists, activists, and cultural influencers the Kennedy Center has honored as the next trailblazers in culture.
“Each individual included on the list exemplifies the Kennedy Center’s mission to help shape culture and society through the arts—with integrity, creativity, empathy, and artistic excellence,” the Kennedy Center said in a press release. “The Next 50 will not only recognize the cultural leadership of these 50 trailblazers and organizations but also create spaces and opportunities for these visionaries to use their talents to put art into action as they influence our communities and create new pathways for the coming generations.”
Anantawan, who joined Milton’s faculty in 2017, is a renowned violinist who trained with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter. He has played at the White House, the opening ceremonies of the Athens and Vancouver Olympic Games, and the United Nations; and for the late Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, and the Dalai Lama.
In addition to his work leading Milton’s Music Department, Anantawan is the founder of the Music Inclusion Program, a program that supports inclusion in music education “by removing individual and systemic barriers of access due to disability and socio-economic background.” Anantawan was born without a right hand and uses an adaptive bow to play; he is a passionate advocate for expanding access to adaptive instruments for student musicians. The program launched with a partnership between Milton and the Henderson School, an inclusive Boston Public School program where neuro- and physically typical students learn alongside students with intellectual and physical disabilities.
“We want to figure out ways to connect through music, because that language transcends so many cultural boundaries and socioeconomic differences and, in this case, builds a bridge between public and private institutions,” he told Milton Magazine in 2019.
The Next 50 also includes leaders such as chef Erik Bruner-Yang, comedian and actor Vir Das, the Black Futures Lab, composer and dancer Tony Duncan, Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, World Cup champion soccer player Megan Rapinoe, author Jason Reynolds, and actors Yara Shahidi and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez.
Honorees will participate in various events, programs, and residencies through the Kennedy Center as part of the Center’s 50th anniversary celebration.